When I was in elementary school, my parents allowed me to walk home from school. It was about a 30 minute walk and along the way, I would pass by a Christian church. In those days, church doors were often left open and anyone could enter the sanctuary. For many weeks, I passed these open doors, wondering what went on inside. I thought to myself, perhaps someday, I would “get serious” about religion and attend a church.
Finally, one day, for no specific reason, I decided to enter the church. It was quiet and no one was around. I cautiously sat in a pew and surveyed the sanctuary. Everything seemed foreign and I had a sense of foreboding, that perhaps I should not be there. I opened a hymnal and found a Bible and read a few passages. And then, it occurred to me that I should pray. I had never prayed before, only observed others pray by attending the usual Easter and Christmas services. I closed my eyes. My prayer was perfunctory and stilted. “God, I don’t know anything about you but I will just pray and thank you.” I opened my eyes and looked around. Nothing had changed and I did not feel any different. “Maybe I have to do this more often?” I thought to myself.
For the next few days, I would make it a point to stop in that church and pray. This routine ended with the last day of school. The next year, the walks home ended due to other after school activities. The intervening years of high school led me down a selfish path where I embraced atheism and was actually quite hostile to Christianity and organized religion. I did not pray again until my freshman year in college when God began to, once again, change my heart to actively seek a relationship with Him.
I look back on that period in my childhood as a time that God first began to change my heart toward Him. The world intervened and I resisted His call but God’s grace and mercy prevailed and He led me to another Christian brother who would help me to understand who Jesus Christ is and how I desperately needed Him as my Lord and Savior.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:44 (ESV)
I am forever grateful that God did not stop placing me in the path of His grace. He continued to draw me toward Him, even when I so willingly resisted and rebelled.
I stopped to pray. But it was God leading me all along.
Praise God for His mercy and grace in my life!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.