Recently, Pastor Tanya Edwards-Evans asked for responses to the question, “What has been your greatest experience with prayer?” Here are two of the replies she received:

“For most of my life I have been a casual pray-er.  I have always believed in prayer, but  honestly, I only went to prayer after I had tried everything else I knew to do to solve the problem. My awakening to dependency on prayer in my life has been gradual and slow.  God has placed all kinds of amazing teachers in my life at just the right time for my spirit to be receptive to their teachings. What has evolved is that, in the last ten years or so, I have come to realize that prayer is the first thing I need to do, not the last place I go. I came to understand from Oswald Chambers that prayer is not about asking for things, but about getting to know God.  I have come to understand that seeking God’s will for my life makes it simpler, and in some ways, easier.  I have come to love my quiet times with God; and when I  neglect them, I feel a huge absence in my life.  I am more gentle and loving after I have spent time with my Father. I am comforted knowing that the Holy Spirit speaks for me when I have no words. I have learned that prayer not only changes things, but also me, as He uses our time together to hone and prune me.  I am convicted that if we don’t make prayer the number one focus of our lives, nothing will ever change in ourselves, our church, and our world.  2 Chronicles 7:14 states it clearly:

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (NIV) 

- Sandy Carver

“There have been several people in my life that, for whatever reason, rubbed me the wrong way. In some instances it was a personality clash, and others just were annoying people!  I asked God to please change me because I couldn’t love these people on my own. Only He could do it. I earnestly prayed for this to happen. I’m not really sure how much I believed He’d answer. I only knew He was the only One who could make it happen. For one of the people, He acted right away. I loved this person as soon as I saw them again. I began to only see the good in them.  And, it hasn’t wavered.  For the others, I changed more slowly but steadily, and came to love those people in a few weeks to months. But in all instances, He started acting right away. I started appreciating and understanding them better. This has changed my life and my faith. He does answer prayer. He has transformed my thinking and my heart. I don’t ask Him to change my attitude enough. How much more loving would I be if I asked to be enlightened and/or changed several times a day? I need to remember that change begins with me. Maybe others would benefit from the revelation God gave me about this.”

- name withheld by request