Prayer Changed My Life
By Rev. Oliver W. Price
Discover how one 17 year old came in out of the cold and found the Almighty Father's warm embrace.
Prayer began changing me when I came in out of the cold and found God ready to embrace me as my loving heavenly Father.
I was in the last semester of my senior year in high school. Along with the rest of my family I had drifted out of church when I was in the 7th grade. I was literally wrapped up in my music. I headed for Central High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee every morning with a Sousaphone wrapped around me, my books were stuffed in the bell of the horn and I carried a bass fiddle under my right arm. I walked two blocks to the corner where I squeezed into a trolley car with 80 students on board. I sang in the high school glee club. Music was my life.
I was enrolled in an elective Bible course, but I paid little attention to it. In fact, I lied about doing my homework in all my classes. The Bible class was no exception. When the teacher called the roll, I lied and said "prepared." Since I didn't read the assignments I was failing. I intercepted the letters the teacher sent home to notify my mother.
Lying about reading the Bible eventually troubled my conscience. I could lie about doing algebra without the slightest concern, but lying about reading the Holy Bible led me to wonder what God thinks about my handling His sacred Scriptures that way? I began to wonder if I was in serious trouble with God and what I could do about it?
About that time my world began falling apart. One day the Bible teacher just happened to meet my mom downtown. "How is Oliver doing in your class?" mother asked. "He's failing. Haven't you been getting the letters I've sent you?" Mother confronted me that evening and I had to confess I had flushed the letters down the commode.
For the first time I realized I might not graduate!
Even more disturbing was what happened at the big band concert. I was scheduled to play a solo, but I was so upset I ended up with a poor performance.
My hope of a professional career in music was in jeopardy. Music was my life. If I failed in music what would I have left to make life worth living?
My conscience kept reminding me that I was in serious trouble with God. What on earth was I to do? I figured I was out in the cold with God. How could a sinner like me find His mercy? I was too proud and ashamed to ask anyone for advice.
One afternoon while I was alone at home I decided I better try to talk to God. I knew I didn't deserve any favors. I saw myself as a beggar out in the cold badly needing help from the God I had offended.
Nevertheless, I knelt down beside my bed speechless. What could I say? Then I remembered an old hymn I had sung in church as a young child. So I began:
Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come."
Then I continued with another hymn:
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of
Jesus. O, precious is the flow That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
That afternoon I called God "Father" and I felt just like a toddler must feel the first time he looks in the eyes of his father and says, "Da Da."
I had come in out of the cold like a beggar desperately needing a favor and I had experienced my heavenly Father embracing me in warm tender love. He gave me more than a favor. He gave me Himself.
My new friendship with such an almighty loving Father started the greatest change I have ever experienced and He has been changing me ever since. I read the Bible and pray and go to church not to do my religious duty, but to enjoy the dearest unfailing friendship that mortal man can experience on earth. Some day I shall see Christ and I shall be like Him forever (First Epistle of John chapter 3, verse 2).
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