College was where my faith in God became an actual relationship. When I think about what led to this transformation, one of the things that stands out the most is that I learned what it meant to pray. I heard prayer described as a dialogue and two-way conversation, rather than a monologue that looks more like a to-do list. I realized quickly that I wanted to hear and experience God in the same way the people around me did.
One of the most radical changes in my prayer life came as a result of a suggestion from my mentor at the time. She suggested that I try journaling my prayers word for word. This single suggestion completely changed the way that I prayed and heard from God. Not only did it give me a new way to think through the things God was teaching me, it also gave me a record of my spiritual growth over a long period of time and a written testimony of God’s faithfulness in answering.
Through this kind of prayer journaling, my perspective on God and whatever situation I was in at the time began changing dramatically. There would be certain things that I told myself that would only make sense until I wrote them down. I also had thoughts run through my head that were too smart and made too much sense for me to have come up with them on my own. Through these kinds of prayers, God began to show me so much about Himself and His heart for the world. He also showed me a ton about my own heart in comparison with His.
My junior year of college I co-led a small group where halfway through the year our weekly meetings solely consisted of prayer for each other. Each member was struggling or wrestling with something big, so every week we would go around the circle and pray for each person individually and offer encouragement. So many chains were broken over those few months, and I am so excited to see where God has brought each of these amazing women of God since then.
When I think about everything I’ve learned over the past year, prayer has again been one of the most significant things God has stretched me in.
I believe that prayer changes things. Above all else, it changes us.
It forces our eyes off ourselves and onto God because it means that we are not in control and we don't have to be. Prayer gives us God’s perspective, which is so much bigger than ours ever will be. I think true prayer is surrendering our trust to God, having faith that He knows what He is doing. With this surrender, He challenges us to be used by Him and transform the world around us.