Personal Prayer Time by Anna

Dear wonderful person who is reading this,   

I don't mean at all to be like the proud Pharisee in the Bible with his head high.  As a matter of fact, a lot of days my prayer time is simple, but I know that's all God asks of us really. 

This is the story of how my daily personal prayer time began.  Back in 2015, when we were in Intake at FMC, which is the time of formation before becoming missionaries, I was introduced to the idea of having personal prayer time each day.  Since we were completely focused on getting closer to God before going into the field, I thought I should give it a try, but I didn't really understand a lot of what I was reading in the Bible.  When we got to Peru things were crazy so I didn't spend much time praying by myself.  I always made excuses like "God understands" or "God wants me to be doing..."  When I think about it I know that was the time I probably needed God's help the most.  Isn't the devil good at what he does???!!! 

This is a photo of me (age 10) with some of my
friends in Peru back in 2016.  My family and I helped
put on a big youth retreat in our town. 
We were always SO busy!!
So, days would go by and I wouldn't even pray.  The whole day would pass with nothing for God - I mean I did good stuff but I was doing it because I knew it was right and it felt good to help people - not necessarily because of my relationship with Jesus. 

A long time passed, pretty much our whole time in Peru, and I didn't pray alone very much. 

Six months before we left Peru, when life was crazy beyond crazy, I finally came to my senses and realized that I couldn't do this missionary thing without God.  After that, I  stopped judging people who don't pray because it took quite a slap in the face to get me to realize that I needed to pray daily. 

This is a photo of my family and me (age 12) at a
poor family's house.  We visited different people's
houses almost every day to teach them about Jesus
and bring them food and medicine and stuff.
So I tried praying each day, but life was so busy and loud that I couldn't find time. 

The truth is - God knows I was trying and JUST THAT made the difference. 

Sooooo I would love to say it was all downhill from there, but nope!  It was like maybe twice a week that I would actually do my personal prayer.... but I know that was better than nothing!

At that time it was only me and my parents that did our prayer time and it was really hard because my siblings said they felt judged by me for not praying and they thought I was some perfect child or something.  That made it even more difficult to stick with it. 

This is a photo of my friends and me (age 12) right
before we left Peru at the end of 2018. 

When we left Peru it was really, really hard and I could only smile when I thought of the Lord.  I know now that the little bit I was praying is the only thing that was holding me together. 

We left Peru and went to Louisiana where we went to school.  Again, my prayer time didn't really work.  When I sat down to pray I would just end up falling asleep or rushing through it.  I had a book that I had been trying to read called "Come Be My Light" by Mother Teresa.  As I read that book I kept telling myself that if she was just a person, anything she did I can do.   In the book she talks about praying throughout the day, which I started doing in my school which seemed Godless.  I got a nice big print Bible as a Christmas gift which helped me a lot too.

After a few months of being in Louisiana, we left and went out to New Mexico for some time.  There I met a women (who I think God sent to change my prayer life forever).  She instilled in me a love for prayer with all her encouraging words and wholehearted prayers.  It's not about how much attention you give God but intention.  After that I started having meaningful prayer time, which I feel like gives me the strength I need each day to live for God. 

Now, my DAILY prayer time includes singing praise, reading my Bible (mostly the gospels and psalms) and devotional, and writing in my prayer journal.

I learned that everyone has to find that gift in their own time because in my excitement I tried encouraging my siblings.  I quickly learned no matter how many times you suggest or remind someone they're gonna do what they want to do.  So I realized that you can't make people pray but only do it yourself and be an example to them. 

All praise be to God, everyone in my family now does their prayer time - totally by their own choice....which, ladies and gentlemen, was a five year process for us.

Thanks for reading.
Love, Anna

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