Prayer: My Story (Part 1)

21 Days of Prayer — January 13 to February 3
This month we are featuring interviews with SunRidgers highlighting their understanding and perspectives on prayer…

Randy’s Story

Who introduced you to prayer?
In all honesty, I grew up with prayer. As a family, we said our mealtime and bedtime prayers every day. We went to Church and Sunday School every Sunday. I could probably count on one hand, the number of times we missed attending. Mine was a traditional, liturgical religious background and in retrospect, somewhat mechanical in nature. I remember my mom and grandmother especially, praying for me as I went through many surgeries, throughout my life as a result of the polio I contracted at age three. I was thankful I could do things that the medical professionals never thought I could, such as walk without aids. By the time I was eighteen, I had read through the complete Bible twice. However, my prayer life really didn't change until Pastor Rick, at our home church in Dawson Creek explained the Gospel message for the first time. I was thirty-two years old then, but I learned that Christ wanted a relationship and not just a want or need list. Although I had thanked Him often, I realized that the focus of my prayers, had been pretty much self-centered. It was then, that my prayer life changed.

If someone were to ask you why you pray, what would you say?
As new Christians, we are often told that Jesus has now become our best friend. It follows that, as a new best friend, I would want to spend a lot of time with Him. Best friends are open with one another and share the most intimate details of their lives with each other. I can say Jesus is my best friend because, He, more than anyone, understands me completely. My biggest difficulty is taking the focus off me and placing it in Him. At times, I struggle with listening to Him, even though I know He cares about me more than anyone. He wants what is best for me always, even while I am resisting. I pray because I know, though human relationships will fail me at times, He will never fail me or leave me. He always forgives, never holds a grudge and is patiently waiting, while I go through self-inflicted trials and finally realize that He had the answer all along. Why wouldn't I wholeheartedly want to communicate and spend more time with my best friend.

What are you learning about prayer?
I am learning that the most difficult for me is to listen and then patiently await His answer. Because I often want to barrel ahead (patience is not one of my virtues), I sometimes miss opportunities to do His will and add stress to my situation needlessly. Please pray, that I when I pray, I will quiet my heart, allow God to inform me and give Him a chance to respond. As noted earlier, God knows all my shortcomings, but continues to be faithful. Prayer also makes my day run better, as through it, I am preparing for what's ahead.

Why do you think it is important to gather and pray together as a community?
Probably the easiest answer here is that I have a support system in place. I am never alone, unless I choose to be. I receive encouragement, counsel and understanding from those that are close to me. I can identify with some of the struggles other brothers and sisters deal with and they often can identify with mine. Willing help is only a phone call away when necessary. We are family, anchored in Christ, so we do what family does. We love, support and encourage each other. Coming together and praying edifies and unites us. We pray communally to "our" Father as we share together in His blessings.