Tuscaloosa, AL

A Story of Prayer

shared by AS - These are the stories of God, by the people of God, for the people of God.
When I got to campus my freshman year, I started visiting churches every week. One particular week, I watched Calvary’s livestream, and I really enjoyed it.  After a few more Sundays, I decided that Calvary was the church that I wanted to get plugged into. But, being away from home, I found it hard to consistently attend church when there was no one holding me accountable for going.

I would oversleep and say “oh well. I’ll go next week.” And when next week came around, the same thing would happen. This went on for most of the year, and I think there was about a three month span where I didn’t come to church at all. Late spring of this year, one of my roommates asked me about what I believe in. He, along with the rest of my roommates, are not believers. After I answered him, he responded, “Well, that makes sense, but I don’t really see you living like that. Like, you just don’t strike me as one of those real Christians, you know?” And in my head, I immediately tried to get defensive. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he doesn’t know me.”

But even in that moment, I was convicted, and I knew that I had no right to be defensive. The people closest to me couldn’t see Christ in me. I wasn’t living for Christ. And that was a real gut punch.. I knew then and there that I had to be different. I had to start walking with Christ again, both to grow in my personal relationship with God and so that I could be a light in the lives of those around me, specifically my roommates who are nonbelievers.

So that following Sunday, I went back to Calvary’s service. There were only two weeks left in the semester, but I went to both of those services. When this year rolled around, I got plugged in from day one. I went to Calvary the first Sunday of the semester and met some people who helped me get plugged into a life group. Everyone I had met kept telling me I needed to go to the Well too, but I kept making excuses and letting things come up. About a month into our semester, Jacob White came into our life group talking about how the prayer ministry would be praying for our guys and how they wanted as many of us as possible there before the Well on Wednesday.  I had been meaning to go to the Well anyway, so that was kind of the incentive and accountability I needed to actually get me there.

My first night at prayer was extremely uncomfortable. I had been expecting a few prayer requests to be read, praying over them as a group, and that was it. Maybe a little devotion or lesson type thing beforehand. But when I actually went, there was more to it than just that. We had a devotion about what meaningful prayer looks like and a time for prayer requests to be lifted up, but then we went into open prayer time. They basically just said, “This is a time for you to just talk to God and walk with Him. Whatever that looks like for you, if it’s praying by yourself, praying out loud, reading scripture, journaling, whatever.”

And I just kind of froze for a second. Sure enough, I looked around, and everyone just started praying. They had their Bibles open, some were writing things, but it was just a time for prayer. So I opened my Bible to a scripture that had been talked about, read it again, and prayed through it. And then I just kept praying. From that initial shock and discomfort, I was able to have a meaningful time with God, surrounded by believers. I had been told many times in my life about how to pray through and study scripture, but I had never really taken the time to actually do it. But that night, I mean, what else was I going to do? All I had was that time. So I did it, and it revolutionized what my Bible study looked like day-to-day. I had already been learning a ton in my life group about what breaking down a passage of scripture and understanding it looked like, and when I combined that with prayer, it changed my life. Not just in my morning quiet time, but throughout my day. It changed how I walk with God.

It is only because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, His resurrection, and the Holy Spirit entering our lives that we can even commune with God in this way. And that’s another thing that the prayer ministry has shown me. So often, when I prayed, it was flippant. I pray before I eat a meal or before a test or when something happens in my life. But I never really understood what I was doing. Serving with this ministry has taught me that not only was someone on the other end, but that that someone was literally God. It’s crazy to me. I can talk to the Creator of the Universe.

With everything that I’ve learned about prayer and Bible study this semester, my relationship with God has been revolutionized. Before, I didn’t have a daily walk with God. I didn’t read the Bible. I was nowhere close to studying it. I rarely prayed, and when I did, it wasn’t meaningful. The prayer ministry, the Well, and Calvary have revitalized my relationship with the Lord and equipped me to walk with him. Next month I leave to study abroad. I honestly don’t know what my relationship with God would have looked like in a foreign country with little to no direct support had I not learned all of this this semester about how to walk with Him. But by His grace, I did. And now I feel equipped to go out into the world and continue to grow closer to Him.

Thank you for listening to my story.