This story was submitted by one of my readers – it happened in 1989. Here it is in his own words:
It was a Sunday night sometime prior to 7:00 p.m. It was late fall or winter and it was dark outside. I was on my way to a small Assembly of God church located outside of Phoenix, off Interstate 10. At this location the Interstate had four westbound lanes – three for normal traffic flow and one for carpooling.
This particular section of the Interstate (the area between 75th & 79th Avenues) was very unusual for two reasons: first, there was an on-ramp located only a very short distance from an off-ramp – a very small distance between locations where you could enter or exit the Interstate. Second, the off-ramp was located in the median, which required exiting vehicles to use the carpooling lane as the access point for the off-ramp. The net result of this design was that the actual entry point for the on-ramp was extremely close to the exit point for the off-ramp (the distance between 75th and 79th Avenues is only 1/2 mile).
[KW: Based on the photo I found on the internet (below), it looks like the distance on the interstate is even shorter – 1/4 mile, about 1300 feet]
On this particular occasion I was proceeding westerly in the extreme left lane. The carpooling lane was to my left. I had just passed a vehicle in the extreme right westbound lane. Immediately after driving under the 75th Avenue overpass which produced the on-ramp to the Interstate, I noticed that a large semi truck was barreling down the on-ramp. I wasn’t concerned, however, because I was in the far left lane.
The semi came to the Interstate entry point ahead of me. Then for whatever unknown reason, the semi immediately began moving across all of the westbound lanes. When I saw him begin to drift toward me, I didn’t realize that he wasn’t just moving into my lane, he was actually attempting to exit off the 79th Avenue exit ramp in the median area. In a matter of a couple of seconds the semi had blocked the center lane, far left lane and the carpooling lane in something of a diagonal line. I was no more than fifty yards away from the semi, traveling at an Interstate speed – it was directly in front of me, blocking all paths of escape.
When I realized I had nowhere to go, I jammed on the brakes. Too late. I saw the front of my car impacting just behind the front wheel of the semi’s trailer. I was going to slam into that trailer.
Then my field of vision was obscured by what seemed to be a lightweight, almost transparent curtain of grey. All I could see was a sheet of grey; the semi was no longer visible. The next sensation I had was like taking my hands off the steering wheel. In a matter of less than two seconds, it seemed as if my hands returned to the steering wheel. I could once again see what was in front of me – I was still in the left lane. I was just coming out from under the 79th Avenue overpass associated with the median off-ramp and I was calmly driving down the Interstate. I could still see the semi stretched across the Interstate in my rear-view mirror. In a matter of moments, the car which had been in the right lane came alongside me and maintained that position for several seconds, perhaps wondering if I really was the same car that should have smashed into the semi’s trailer. I kept driving and arrived at the church.
I knew God was real a very long time before this event occurred. I do not believe in God because of this experience. But I will say this: If you and your vehicle are ever physically “translated” (a Biblical term used to describe what happened), teleported or “beamed up” (to use a Star Trek expression), you are not going to doubt the existence of God. Believe me. Only God can do what I experienced that night. And I have absolutely no idea why this event occurred in my life. – C.T.
Wow – What a story! I have read of this happening to other people so I believe this is a true story. Imagine if he had hit that semi, it would have looked like this:
C.T. says he doesn’t know why it happened to him. Well I think I have an idea – he was meant to live. Sometimes God intervenes and saves us from physical harm for His own purposes. We don’t understand why it happens exactly but we know there is a reason.
Do you have a story of the supernatural to share? If so, post it below as a comment or send it to me via email as a future guest post. I love to get submissions from my readers! 🙂
When I first met Andrea*, my spirit jumped and I was excited to help her. I couldn’t explain it by anything I could see with my eyes, but my spirit “knew” she was ready for a great breakthrough. During our first session together, she mentioned that she had spirit guides and that she received messages from them. I listened compassionately, then gently said to her, “I want to warn you. It can be very dangerous to communicate with spirit guides. I have heard some really terrible stories of people who were harmed by them. They seem to be friendly and helpful at first, but later they become pushy, wanting more and more control, especially if you’ve invited them in.”
She looked a little alarmed and said, “Well, I’ve never invited them in.” I simply nodded. I didn’t say more because I knew it wasn’t time yet. I asked about her spiritual background. She told me she had been raised in a Christian family that was very strict about church attendance. She didn’t like the way she was taught to fear God with a sense of judgment and condemnation. When she left home, she decided to leave the church and explore other forms of spirituality. This led her to the New Age belief system and developing a connection with her spirit guides.
Fear of Supernatural Evil
As we worked together over several months, she often had experiences related to fear and anxiety, especially fear of supernatural evil. I told her that my primary protection against fear of supernatural evil was to connect with God. I explained that my concept of God was not fearful and condemning, but rather loving and just. I told her God was someone I could trust to take care of me and was much more powerful than any form of evil. I could tell she was interested, but still cautious.
We worked through many of her fears and other issues using the exercises in this book. Little by little I saw a transformation in her. Her anxiety reduced, she started to love and accept who she was and had less stress. I encouraged her to open her heart to God and ask for His help. I encouraged her that He loved her and cared about everything that concerned her. She was still hesitant, but open to the idea.
A few weeks later, I saw a HUGE change in her. She told me, “I don’t know why I waited so long to do this. This week I opened my heart to God completely. I feel so much peace and I don’t feel alone anymore!” She was beaming as she spoke. I was thrilled.
From that point on, her path became clearer and clearer. Every time we met, she had stories of how God was helping her deal with one thing after another. Her peace and confidence were increasing. I suggested that she read Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. She did and then she read the book that the author recommends after that one called, Steps to Freedom in Christ. This book includes very specific prayers to pray to be released from spiritual darkness. She prayed through every single one! By now the taste of freedom she had experienced made her long for more. She was eager for every drop she could get!
She realized that she needed to ask Jesus to forgive her for rejecting her Christian faith. She decided that she could disagree with the way she was taught, but still trust Him to guide her. She opened her heart to Jesus and began a relationship with Him. The next time we met, she told me she had experienced so many breakthroughs!
The supernatural realm was no longer as scary as it used to be
Here are some of them:
– the supernatural realm was no longer as scary as it used to be
– she stopped hearing from her spirit guides as much and their thoughts were less intrusive when she did hear them
– she felt validated for her spiritual discernment, that she’s “normal” and not weird
– her fear and anxiety substantially reduced in all areas of life
– she noticed her discernment was much more clear, instead of just feeling “something”, she had specific insight into what she was sensing
– her daughter was no longer scared at night (as she had been for years)
– she felt less needy and felt instead that she had something to offer others
– she found herself acting less self-centered
– people started spontaneously coming up to her and telling her their problems; she felt she was able to help them simply by listening with compassion
– her husband started showing an interest in spiritual things and wanted to go to church with her
– her relationship with her husband improved as she showed him respect
– she was sleeping better and had much fewer nightmares
– she had a strong sense of well-being and experienced so much peace that it was literally a physical sensation
Wow! So much change! It’s amazing what having a healthy, loving connection with God can do! Andrea’s life was changed completely. From then on, every time we met she had such peace. I remember when I first met her and how much anxiety she had. She is a completely different woman now! Even her children have thanked her for being their “rock” during a difficult time in their family.
It is such a pleasure to witness the spiritual transformation of another human being. I love to partner with God to help His children reconnect with His love.
A note for those who have spirit guides: One of the things Andrea discovered was that she didn’t need a different source of supernatural information other than God. As she drew closer to God and opened her heart to Him, she no longer needed her spirit guides. God provided direction, support and comfort to her – the things she used to get from her spirit guides. She noticed that sometimes her spirit guides said things to her that were disturbing or caused her a LOT of fear. This was not true with God – the things she heard from Him were always encouraging and reduced her fear or anxiety.
Do you have any examples of how your life changed as a result of developing a relationship with God or Jesus? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
*name changed to protect individual’s privacy
Rating: Educational, inspirational, pleasant
Lately it seems that the topic of Spiritual Soaking has been coming up a lot. Do you know what that is?
During the movement called the Toronto Blessing (back in the 1990’s), the Lord showed John and Carol Arnott that they needed to learn how to simple sit in God’s presence and “soak”. Imagine taking a warm bath – you fill the tub with warm water, add some essential oils or bubble bath to make it smell nice and then you slowly get in. You don’t jump in, immerse yourself in the water and then jump out. The point of taking a bath is to relax, soak in the warm water, let your muscles rest and your soul unwind. You breathe in the scent of the fragrant oils and just BE. There’s no rushing – the point is to soak until you feel relaxed and at peace.
The Lord taught many people how to soak and it changed their lives. The movement started in Toronto and it spread around the world.
Here’s how I do it – I often do this alone, but I have also invited people over to my house for “soaking sessions”.
First I prepare the environment where I will be soaking. I pick a quiet room in the house. I remove all distractions (i.e. turn off cell phones, televisions, etc. and notify family that I don’t want to be disturbed for a while). I close the blinds or turn down the lights so that there are no bright lights in my eyes. I put on something comfortable – sweats and a t-shirt or shorts.
Next I choose some “soaking music”. There are many musicians that specialize in soaking music. Some of my favorite are
Julie True – Spirit to Spirit is my favorite right now
Alberto and Kimberly Rivera – they have many soaking albums, most are “live” albums
Laura Rhinehart – her music is “deep” water
Then I sit in a comfortable chair or lay down. I close my eyes and let myself relax. It usually takes a while to get my mind to settle down. I take several deep breaths slowly and try to quiet my thoughts. Then I just let myself BE. I just sit there. I don’t specifically pray or worship. I am just waiting in the presence of God – I open my heart to Him. Often I will begin to feel the presence of God around me. The soaking music is uniquely crafted to help you “tune in” to God. I focus on God’s Presence. Just like being with another person – I focus on HIM and not me. 🙂 I often ask Him to increase my awareness of His presence and He does.
It is very relaxing and it restores my soul when I soak. I highly recommend it.
It’s okay if you fall asleep – it’s the intention that matters. 🙂
Learn to be still.
In our society of rushing here and there, constant mental stimulation from the media and multitudes of distractions, it can be very hard to simply learn to be still. This is an important aspect of prayer that many do not mention. It’s not fast, fun or easy. It doesn’t appeal to our desire for self-gratification. Learning to be still is very important because it teaches you to wait on the Lord and quiet your mind.
Invite God to speak to you.
We not only talk to God when we pray, but it is also a time for us to listen to God. Tell Him you want to hear from Him. Open your heart and be willing to receive whatever He says (even if you don’t like it). He knows whether you will listen and obey Him or not so be sincere in your request. Lay down your natural willfulness and be open to what He has to say.
This is part of waiting on the Lord. Just like in a conversation – you speak and then you wait for the other person to respond. Sometimes the Lord is quick to reply, but often He waits to see if you really want to hear from Him. It may try your patience. Just sit quietly and wait – sometimes He answers right away and other times He answers later, sometimes days later.
Obey – do whatever He tells you to do.
Obviously, if God tells you to do something, you should do it. Henry Blackaby says that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not like our thoughts. They are so different that sometimes what He tells you to do may seem wrong or crazy. However, if you notice the pattern in the stories in the Bible, every person who was asked to do something by God knew it was God. It wasn’t like “well, this could be me or maybe this is God”. They KNEW. If you’re not sure, then wait for Him to confirm it. Usually you can tell because it stirs your heart and you just KNOW you better do what He said. And often it is not easy – not something you would have come up with on your own.
He really, really likes it when we trust Him. It’s a big deal. We like it when someone trusts US and we get offended if someone does something that demonstrates they don’t trust us, right? Why is that? Because we want people to trust our character and the intentions of our heart – that we will do what we say we will do. God is like that too – He likes it when we trust His character and His intentions, when we demonstrate that we believe He will do what He says He will do.
If you’d like some practical ways to get closer to God, I recommend the course: Developing a Close Relationship with God: A Simple Method. The course teaches you how to focus so you can pay attention to God without distractions. You will also learn to recognize God’s voice and become familiar with the different ways that He communicates. It provides simple activities you can do to interact with God. It’s short – just 15 minutes a week for 4 weeks. It’s online so it’s available whenever you are. You can listen to it while you drive or when you exercise. It can make God more “real” for you – and that’s priceless! 🙂
If you want to go deeper into having a relationship with God, I also recommend the book Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. The workbook version gives you exercises where you can practice talking to God and hearing from Him. It’s a lot of fun and it will also s-t-r-e-t-c-h you spiritually. I’ve read the book, done the workbook and taken a class on it. I’ve also taught the workbook with a small group once or twice. It is really life changing – you’ll never be the same after you learn how to recognize the voice of God in your every day life. 🙂
“You will not obey Him, if you do not believe Him and trust Him. You cannot believe Him if you do not love Him. You cannot love Him unless you know Him.”
-Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God
Rating: Educational, inspirational
Recently one of my clients told me he wanted to draw closer to God, but didn’t know how. Faith was new to him. He was raised in a home where no one went to church or prayed or anything so he didn’t really know where to start. He asked me for some direction. Here are some thoughts I shared with him.
Developing a spiritual practice that helps you draw closer to God is really important. But you want to make sure it doesn’t become an empty ritual. It needs to be authentic and based on your desire for God. I discovered early on in my spiritual journey that there is one prayer that God answers every time – asking Him to give you the desire to seek Him. When I first started out, I was excited to talk to God. It was new and different. But then over time, I felt my spiritual fervor waning. At first, I was kind of embarrassed. How do you get the desire for God back?
The answer I discovered is this: Admit you lack the desire and ask Him to give it to you. It seems counter-intuitive, but it works. When I ask God to give me the desire to spend time with Him, usually within a day or two it comes. It is not immediate, but it always comes. I’ve done this many times over the years.
So – that’s the first “exercise” I shared with him – ask God for desire. Because without the desire, any spiritual exercise can become an empty ritual.
Then I wrote up a “spiritual exercise” for him. I reached back into my past and tried to remember the first things I was taught that helped me become more closely connected with God. At first, I did these every day as a discipline – whether I felt like it or not. I wanted to teach myself to have a spiritual practice. Then after awhile they became second nature to me. I do them now without even realizing it – they have become part of who I am.
These are in a certain order – do them this way for 30 days. After the practice becomes familiar, you can improvise. 🙂
1. Acknowledge God – Honor who God is and that you need Him, humble yourself.
2. Confess your self-centered ways – Admit to God and yourself the thoughts and decisions you’ve made in the last 24 hours that were self-centered and apart from Him.
3. Ask the Spirit of God to lead you – Ask Him to show you His ways and the right decisions to make.
4. Open the Bible – Ask for inspiration and then read a passage from the Bible.
5. Turn something from what you read into a prayer – Make it personal to your life.
6. Give thanks – Tell God what you are thankful for.
7. Ask for what you need and finish by thanking God in advance for providing what is needed. He loves it when you thank Him ahead of time because it demonstrates your confidence that He is good and trustworthy. (It also gives you hope.)
8. Sing a song to Him – Learn some worship songs or make up one of your own. Rejoice in the goodness of God and His care for you.
This is not a rigid ritual, but more of a practice to teach your heart to turn to the Lord and depend on Him. You will be so glad that you did!
You are dearly loved by God and He is looking forward to talking to you and spending time with you. Did you know that?
So, how about you? Do you have a spiritual practice that you do on a regular basis that helps you to connect with the Lord? Please share it with us!
Rating: Educational, creepy, strange
A friend of mine, Lee, moved into a new apartment. She loved the view of the lake from her bedroom window upstairs. It was a peaceful, relaxing place to live.
One day she told me that she had been unable to sleep well ever since she had moved to the new apartment. I asked her why.
She mentioned getting a new bed – she thought perhaps that was the problem. It was a relatively inexpensive bed so the quality of the mattress was not very good. I asked if she still had her old bed. She said her daughter was using it in her room.
Is it the bed or is it a curse?
I suggested she sleep in her daughter’s bed to see if she slept better. She did that and she did sleep better, so she moved the bed into her room.
The next morning she was surprised to wake up feeling horrible. She hurt all over. Bruises appeared on her arms and legs – she had no idea where they came from. And she awoke exhausted.
I told her that waking up with multiple, unexplained bruises could be a sign of witchcraft. I have heard of that before. Also waking up exhausted after a full night’s sleep could be an indication that she had been in spiritual warfare all night. She said it felt like her body had been beat up all over.
She spoke to a couple of other friends and they both suggested the same thing – pray over the room and the rest of the apartment. I had mentioned this when she first told me she wasn’t sleeping well. It has been my experience that constant unexplained sleep disturbances are often related to the spiritual realm.
She took some anointing oil and anointed her room, her children’s rooms and the rest of the apartment. She prayed over the windows and the doors and anything else she felt led to pray over. She recently saw the movie, War Room, and followed the woman’s example in the movie – after praying, she opened the front door and commanded every evil thing to leave. Then she anointed the door and closed it.
She called me the next day – she sounded very excited. She had finally slept well! And she was surprised that all the pain had left her body. I asked her if the Lord showed her what had been keeping her from sleeping.
It was a curse!
As she prayed, asking the Holy Spirit to guide her, the words He kept giving her to say were, “I break this curse, in the name of Jesus. I plead the blood of Jesus over this place.” and other similar phrases.
My guess is that the previous tenants were practicing witchcraft – probably in that bedroom. People often conduct rituals in secret where others cannot see them. By conducting witchcraft in that room, a door was opened in the unseen realm. This door allowed evil spirits to come in and disturb her sleep. Once they saw her trying to fix the problem, perhaps they increased their attack to intimidate her.
When she used her God-given spiritual authority to break the curse and command all the evil spirits to leave, that closed the door in the spirit world and she was finally able to sleep.
Thank God for Jesus and the sacrifice of His blood – it breaks every curse! 🙂
I am very proud of Lee for taking authority over the demonic influence in her home – she had never done anything like that before. Her sleep being immediately restored spoke volumes to her and her children about the reality of the unseen realm and the importance of guarding themselves in it.
If you think you are experiencing similar problems in your house, you might want to read these posts:
The Veil between the worlds is getting thinner – can you feel it? It has been steadily changing over time. I first noticed the shift about 2004. I couldn’t describe it very well, but I knew something was happening.
In 2015, I noticed more obvious changes, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was happening. Other people noticed it too and called me to ask what I thought was happening. I noticed an increase of the glory of the Lord, but I didn’t understand what effect that would have on earth.
Last week I was awakened about 5am and got a download of insight about The Veil and what is happening right now. I don’t claim to understand it all – I’ll just share what I received. Perhaps someone else has insight related to this that will bring more clarity.
Illusion of Control
The Veil between the worlds is the illusion of control. This shift we have been feeling is that illusion slowly being removed. That’s why people are no longer able to pretend to be something that they are not. They can no longer control their behavior to deceive others – what’s really inside of them is showing. Sometimes it is surprising because they have pretended to be something else for so long that they had us convinced it was real.
But now Jesus is bringing the true reality to light and there’s no stopping it. He is in control and no one else is. He IS the Lord!! 🙂
“We know that … the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” I John 5:19
His “sway” is the deception that he (and therefore we) can be in control, apart from God.
In fact, I think that the greatest deception is that we CAN be apart from God! Paul said to a group of people in Athens, Greece that “… in Him we live and move and have our being ….” How can we be apart from Him? Is this the illusion that Lucifer fell into – that he could be apart from God and rule independently? Then he sways us to believe the same illusion he believes. Wow! What a fool he’s been and what fools we’ve been in believing his deception!
Paul said we need to repent – to change our minds – to accept God’s assessment of the situation. We cannot be in control or live independently of Him. It just doesn’t work. We were not created to live as though we are separate from God. We are His children, bought with a price.
Matthew 27:51 The veil in the temple was torn apart – symbolic of this illusion being torn apart. We are no longer separated from God – He paid the price for us to be sons and daughters again.
Revelation 6:14 “Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up ….” The removing of the veil of deception – the illusion of control. This is called the great and terrible Day of the Lord. Men can no longer pretend to be powerful and in control of their lives. They must admit and surrender to Jesus as Lord. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).
That’s why Satan hates followers of Christ. We blow his illusion of control every time we say, “Jesus is Lord.” He doesn’t want to remember or acknowledge that. 🙂
Relinquish the Illusion of Control
What I have learned is that the more I relinquish the illusion of control (aka surrender to the Lordship of Christ), the happier I am. The illusion of control makes me anxious and depressed – I’m either worrying about things over which I have no control or I am depressed that no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to control the things that worry me. Giving up the illusion gives me peace and joy – I trust in God’s goodness and His ability to take care of me. The kingdom of God is characterized by righteousness, peace and joy – to the degree that I relinquish control, I get to experience these every day! (Romans 14:17)
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” I John 3:8 As we surrender to Jesus, we destroy the devil’s deception that HE is in control. When we tell others, this drives him crazy because he can’t control it. We have given up his kingdom and become heirs of God’s kingdom. He can’t stop us, no matter how hard he tries – we just keep telling people about freedom in Jesus.
I love that thought – that we drive the devil crazy! We destroy his works simply by surrendering to Jesus and saying, “YOU are Lord, not me and not him.” 🙂
What do you think? Are you ready to give up the illusion? Try making a list of the things you think you are in control of – that really helps me. The list is very, very short.
♥ JESUS IS LORD ! ♥
Rating: Inspirational, Educational
War Room was the #1 movie in America last week. It is about the power of prayer and how it directly, significantly changes the lives of those who are prayed for as well as the one who is praying! I loved the movie and have seen it twice. It is very inspirational! I encourage you to see it. Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIl-XY9t_Lw
In War Room, an older Christian woman, Clara, explains to a young wife and mother, Elizabeth, that instead of fighting with her husband, she should do her fighting on her knees in prayer. She explains that we are all in a battle and that we need a War Room – a place we can get alone with God and connect with Him as well as plan strategies against the forces of darkness. Clara shows Elizabeth her War Room – a small walk in closet with prayers and scriptures posted on the walls. The movie shows Clara in her War Room, praying for Elizabeth and others.
Many people have become inspired to create their own War Room. I saw one video of a man with 5 children who said they didn’t have any space in their house. However, after the entire family saw the movie, the kids (who were older) decided to turn their old playhouse into the family War Room. They put Christmas lights up and added floor cushions so that they could sit in there and pray. He showed how the children had written out their prayer requests and taped them up in the playhouse. This father was grinning from ear to ear, so proud of his children and their desire to pray. Oh, may we all be so passionate and childlike in our trust in Father God! ♥
Do you have a special place where you pray each day? If so, please feel free to leave a comment and tell us about it. I have heard that if you pray in the same place every day, that place starts to change. It becomes “charged” with a spiritual atmosphere that others can feel. They showed that in the movie too. 🙂
By the way, if you need some inspiration and/or training in prayer, there’s a special book released as part of this movie. It’s called The Battle Plan for Prayer. It looks good! There are more resources on their site: http://warroommovieresources.com/
Update: You can now watch the movie for $6 on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1TFGseu
I was describing to a friend recently the experience of the presence of God. It is hard to describe in words of the natural realm. “Many people want to experience God’s presence,” she said, “but they don’t know how. You should share this.”
As I pondered how to teach someone the very first step toward becoming aware of the presence of God, this exercise came to me. I hope it helps you take your first step toward a deeper relationship with God.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath slowly. Imagine the Spirit of God filling you as you breathe in. Hold your breath and count to five mentally. Let the breath out as you say, “Thank you, Jesus.”
Set a timer on your cell phone for one minute. Do the breathing exercise. You can use different phrases like, “I love you, Jesus” or “You’re wonderful, Jesus” if you want to add variety.
Notice how you feel after doing this exercise. I feel relaxed, at peace and I have mental clarity.
Start by doing this exercise once a day.
Once it feels comfortable doing this for one minute every day, set the timer for three minutes.
You’ll notice an even greater peace and clarity of mind. You may begin to become aware of God’s presence.
Don’t start with three minutes if you have never done this before. Start with one minute. I know some of you want to skip ahead, but trust me on this. Take baby steps – this is a lifetime practice, not a quick fix. Taking it slowly now will payoff very well later. I promise!
Keep doing it every day. You can do this more than once a day, if you wish. It can be particularly helpful to do this while sitting in traffic, to reduce your stress (but keep your eyes open please).
After awhile you will look forward to your special time with God each day. That’s when you can stop using the timer. Spend as much time as you want. The more you do this, the more likely you will become aware of God’s presence.
Don’t give up. Let your desire for God draw you to this time. If you lack desire, then when you breathe out say, “Draw me, Lord.”
What is God’s presence like? Some people sense a presence (or energy) of love or of peace. Others sense companionship – like someone is there with them and they are no longer alone. You’ll know when it happens to you – it’s personal and unique. ♥
Once you become aware of God’s presence, you can do the breathing exercise longer, if you wish. It can help you stay focused on Him. You can share your thoughts and feelings with God. Or you may enjoy practicing Listening Prayer, another exercise to help you connect with God. [I’ll post a description on this blog later, but for now you can Google “Listening Prayer” if you want to learn more.]
Let me know what you experience when you try this exercise. It’s so simple, yet it has profound effects.
Today is a very special day to me. On October 8, 1980, I started my relationship with God.
I had heard of God and his Son, Jesus. But I didn’t really know much about them personally. I had heard some stories from the Bible and I had even memorized a few Scriptures. I attended a private Christian school and memorizing Bible verses was sometimes required for homework. I did it because it was homework, not because I had any interest in religion.
My family was not religious. We attended my grandmother’s small country church once or twice a year as part of a family tradition – usually just for Christmas and Easter. Most of my classmates at school were from religious homes where they attended church every week and went to Bible camp during the summers. But not me. I was different.
October 8 was a normal Wednesday. I got ready for school as usual. I made it to home room on time and went to my first two classes. Then we went to chapel, a weekly “class” that everyone attended. Our entire junior and senior high went to the same service – about 150 kids. The younger children in elementary school had a separate service, geared to their age group. I had attended this school since first grade and had been to many, many chapel services.
I sat in chapel that day with all the other 8th grade girls. Boys had “cooties” so we didn’t sit with them. I recall that we were seated near the back of the chapel, far from the front where the action was.
We sang some songs, among them “Onward Christian Soldiers”. A guest minister got up to speak. I don’t recall a word he said. Toward the end of the service, he started the altar call. That’s when a minister asks the listeners to respond to his message. I don’t know what he said, but it was effective. The last girl on our row began to cry. Her two best girlfriends were sitting next to her and they tried to comfort her. She got up and went to the front to pray with the minister, to respond to his invitation. Her friends went with her along with the girl sitting closest to them. There were only 3 of us left sitting on the pew. I turned to the girl next to me, we shrugged our shoulders and decided to follow the others. It seemed like “the right thing to do”.
By the time we got to the front of the chapel, we saw that the place for prayer (the altar) was really crowded – many other kids had also responded to the minister’s call. One of the girls saw an empty space behind the pulpit on the left side, so we all walked up the stairs to the platform and gathered in a circle on the dark red carpeted floor. I was hoping we weren’t going to get in trouble as normally no one was allowed up there but the adults.
I joined my friends, not really sure what to do. I was there for moral support. I had never been to an altar before – what was expected?
Soon the minister came to us and said, “Girls, would you like to give your lives to God?” Several of the “church girls” immediately nodded. They had all been to a youth retreat a few weeks prior where they all got “saved” again. It seemed that perhaps they had backslidden and needed to “fix” things with God. I didn’t really know what the man was asking, but I didn’t want to stand out – so I didn’t ask any questions. I remember that I glanced at the ceiling and thought, “Do I believe in God?” My heart answered, “Yes.” So I decided that meant I could pray with the minister.
He led us all in a prayer where we repeated some statements after him, as though we were talking to God. I had never prayed before – well, except that in elementary school we all recited a prayer before we went to the lunchroom each day. But that was different.
I don’t remember a word of what I said. I didn’t feel anything. No bright lights or a voice from heaven. I just “prayed the prayer” because someone asked me – and I didn’t want to be the only one who didn’t do it. When I looked around the room after the prayer, I noticed that the entire student body was on their knees praying – except for 2 boys in the senior class. They were surrounded by a few teachers who were talking to them – the boys kept shaking their heads “No”. I was amazed that they refused to open their hearts to God that day as everyone else in the place definitely was. I remember seeing even the “tough” boys in our class lined up at a nearby pew, on their knees, praying with the minister. That’s how real God was in that place.
Later that night, I spoke to God on my own. I had heard a few weeks earlier that you should talk to God every day. I remember thinking, “Then He should talk back to me then.” I was kind of cynical, even at that age.
The next day, as I was walking into the girl’s locker room, I said a swear word. Immediately, I heard a voice in my heart say, “You’re a Christian now. Christians don’t talk like that.”
I stopped walking. I knew that wasn’t my voice talking to me because I would not have thought of that. I remembered being told that after you decide to give your life to God and ask Jesus into your heart – He actually sends His Spirit to live inside of you. Hearing this voice and feeling the conviction that went with it, I realized, “This must be the Holy Spirit. I better obey.” And from that day on, I stopped swearing.
It’s funny how, when looking back, I see how “non-eventful” this experience appeared to be at the time. It was a normal Wednesday morning. I was in chapel, as I had been hundreds of times before. Yet on this day, something changed. Someone asked me to open my heart and life to God’s love. And I did. Not because I understood it. Peer pressure “saved” me. I didn’t want to be left out.
Since that time, I can honestly say that it was the BEST DECISION I have ever made in my entire life. From that first day, I started talking to God every night before bed and I have never stopped. He is the air I breathe. He is my hope, my peace, my joy and my strength. My life is SO MUCH BETTER because I decided to open my heart to Him.
Thank You, Jesus, for saving me as a young girl when I didn’t even know what I was doing. Thank You for being there through everything – my parent’s divorce, my boyfriends and my break-ups, my high school and college years, my first marriage and divorce, my time away from home and my time returning to my roots … and all the other times when I needed a friend, a confidante, a savior to get me out of myself and learn how to love others, really love others.
I love what You’ve done with my life. It is so exciting to see where we are going next. I never know what You have up Your sleeve – like the wonderful surprise of my new husband and what a pleasure it is to be married to him. I never saw that coming! And the life You’ve given me, allowing me to help others by sharing the pain and challenges I’ve overcome.
I am so incredibly thankful today. Thank you, dear readers, for celebrating this day with me.
I hope that if you are reading this and you have not yet opened your heart to God, that perhaps you will. Would you like to? It’s not hard. It’s just a choice – to choose to follow Jesus and learn how to love others, to respond to God’s love for you as His child. And guess what? He DOES talk back when you talk to Him! 🙂
If you’d like to do that, you can pray this prayer or something similar. You can use your own words, if you prefer.
“God, I am willing – I open my heart to Your Love. I give You my life. Jesus, please come and save me. I need Your help. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done wrong. Please teach me how to receive Your love so I can love others. Thank you.”
If you’ve never prayed that kind of prayer, please do. It will open up a world of goodness you cannot even imagine. There is so much peace and joy and love just waiting to come to you, if you open yourself up to it. Words fail me how much better my life is because of God’s love. It does not prevent bad things from happening to you – instead it gives you an inner resilience and a peace that passes understanding.
If you prayed this for the first time just now – then please let me know. Either post something below or send me an email: kingdomwalker2 (at) gmail (dot) com. I would love to celebrate with YOU and help you in your new relationship with God just as others helped me when I first started out.
God bless you today! ♥