My whole life has actually been an answer to prayer.
I was born into a family where only my mother was a believer. My father was an alcoholic and he wasn’t often home. Over many years, my mother prayed powerfully to God to save her family.
We lived on a small farm, and beside our house there was a barn. My mother would go out to the barn and pray there. She prayed so powerfully that we children could hear it from the house and when we played outside. She prayed that we would come to know God and His power and that we could avoid evil. We heard her prayers and that gave us a longing to also seek God.
After some years, my father also got converted. Then Mum and Dad would pray together in the house, in the kitchen. I heard their prayers every evening. My mother, especially, was a woman of prayer, and her prayers made a powerful impression on me.
Praying to be kept away from sin
When I was about 16 years old, I really wanted to live a life of overcoming sin, a life that I had heard about and seen in some believers who visited us.
I was part of a Pentecostal Church at the time, but began to notice a difference between these visitors and the preachers in my church. There was a spirit in these men that testified of the life they lived. I wanted to get that same life.
By nature, I was a very angry, impatient, and rude boy. When I got upset, I would scream at my parents. I really didn’t want to be like that so I went to a place where I could be alone and prayed that God could have mercy on me. I prayed that I could change.
Some years later I served in the army for two years. There was a lot of ungodliness and I had to fight to keep myself pure. I did not want to come in sin. I had my hidden place, a storage room, where I could go on my knees and pray to God and fill myself with His Word.
It was prayer that kept me away from sin. It wasn’t only answers to my own prayers, but many were also praying for me. Even today, I am certain that it is the steadfast prayers of others that helped me to overcome sin and to change.
The power of prayer for my own family
Through prayer, my life has been kept from becoming trapped in sin and destruction, just as my mother had prayed for all those years ago. Later, when I had my own family, I also experienced the power of prayer, particularly with my youngest son who has a sickness that stops his blood from clotting properly.
Once my son had to go for an operation. After the operation, he got pneumonia, with a high fever. My wife and I were at the hospital, but I got sick and had to leave. My wife stayed there with him. We also had children at home that needed our care. During the night, my wife phoned and said that our son would most likely have to be in the hospital for two more weeks.
That night, I phoned two faithful believers and asked if they could also pray for our boy. The first thing the next morning, I phoned and asked my wife how much longer our son had to be in the hospital. My wife said that our boy was completely healed. Around midnight, he had recovered completely. I just had to come and take them home.
Praying to God is a most important lifeline. It opens doors to help, strength, comfort, solutions, and miracles that man can’t do on his own. At one time I read in the papers that the government would stop paying for the medication needed for my son’s condition.
I started to feel worried. These treatments are very expensive but without them, patients have a lot of pain. The only thing I could do was pray to God. I asked God for help to not give in to this worry and fear. God gave me the verse in Hebrews 12:28 (NLT), “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” Then my worry and fear stopped. Later the government withdrew its plans and continued to pay for the treatments.
Praying for the others
When I see what I have been spared from and the fantastic life I can come to, it gives a great longing that others can also experience this.
I know that everything would have ended in disaster if I had just lived according to my old angry nature. I know for sure I couldn’t have overcome in my own power. When I talk to others believers in the church I attend now, I often hear that they are praying for me. Maybe some people don’t have a visible ministry, but now and then I hear that they are praying for me, and that makes me feel very safe.
That gives me a longing to also give myself to be along in God’s work, in helping others. I believe it is righteous that we don't live a selfish life, where we are only busy with ourselves and just let others do whatever they want or whatever they can manage. When it goes well for the people I pray for, then it is an extra joy for me that I could have been along in helping them.
Prayer is one of the main pillars in my life
It is written in James 5:16 (NLT) that “the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power”. If my prayers are to have great power, then I have to live a righteous life. God’s will for us is to be holy (1 Thessalonians 4:3). When we pray according to His will, then we know that He hears us (1 John 5:14). It doesn’t mean that He will hear us when we pray for a lot of money, a nice car or a nice house. But when I pray because I see my weakness, then He gives me power and help to overcome.
Prayer is one of the main pillars in my life. The fact that I can go to God and get help is the greatest privilege there is. God created me and knows all my weaknesses and He wants to help me. During the situations I am going through, He shows me the sin that’s in my nature; He gives me His Word and suddenly everything becomes clear, and I get help to overcome.
This makes me deeply thankful and I feel safe and secure because I know that He will never fail me!