What is addiction? Did you know that not every person who identifies with an addiction does not automatically classify himself or herself as someone/something bad (i.e. drug addiction)? According to medicalnewstoday.com, "People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using...addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. gambling addiction)." Those who suffer from addictions cannot cope unless they satisfy their addiction. Today, I happily am addicted to prayer!!! I guess I never really thought in depth about the power of prayer until I had to fall on my face before God because I needed a prayer to be answered; rather a miracle to be answered! And for me, my addiction to prayer is bigger than the high I get when my prayers are answered…I thoroughly enjoy the relationship that I have with Christ that continues to blossom every time I go before him in prayer. I just love him!
Characteristics of Addiction:
1. The Person Becomes Obsessed (Constantly Thinks of) the Activity, Object, or Substance.
Although the Bible warns against obsessions, I personally believe that there is never too much prayer just as there is never too much communication with God. As my struggles increase, my blessings grow, and my vision expands, so does my prayer life. Prayer for me is essential to my relationship with Christ because it is truly bigger than religion. Prayer is the bridge between my worries and peace. There are so many things that I have prayed for that God has answered that the thought of it becomes overwhelming. Even when I am so unfaithful to God, he is ALWAYS faithful to me. That kind of loyalty is extinct in human flesh. So yes, I am obsessed with prayer. When I'm happy I pray because I'm thankful. When I'm sad I pray because I just need to lay my burdens down at the feet of God. In his hopeless world I have so many midnight hours when I need to feel that comfort from my Heavenly Father. Only he can ease most fears that I harbor in my heart. Whenever something comes up my first thought is to "pray about it." I'm obsessed with prayer because when I do bow my head, that instant peace that I receive is indescrible.
“Pray without ceasing.” 1Thessalonians 5:17
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.” Esphesians 6:18
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2
2. The Person Will Compulsively Engage in the Activity (Do it Over and Over Again).
Talk about compulsion! Prayer is a part of my daily life. I hate to categorize it as routine, but actually pouring my heart out to God becomes second nature to me (not babbling, but sincere prayers before God). I say this because even when I am too selfish to see God's mercy in my life, I can see his grace working with others. I can take every single blogger for example and just highlight minimal portions of their testimonies just to broadcast the power of prayer!
-Steven: he has the job of his dream and although he faced rejection and moments where he felt like it was s setback, God was preparing him for a mighty comeback! I'm so proud of him! Not only that, but ever since he was young he never was ashamed of his love for Christ which is something that I have always admired.
-Jael: she graduated and immediately started working at her "dream job" (although that may have changed now) that pays her loans!! First, not only is this rare, but she is making a difference in the world. And just as God has answered other prayers in her life he'll answer new ones. It's amazing to watch her growth in God's presence.
-Brittney: she is a married woman!!! Feels weird saying, but it's true. I've known her forever and I've admired her growth as well. In conversations when I've felt helpless she has always reminded me of the power of prayer even if she doesn't realize it. You can literally pray about any and everything. She has constantly reminded me to pray about my future husband because God does honor that. Now, she's married to the man that she prayed about and luckily for him...I approve! It's amazing to watch love and marriage blossom just as Christ intended.
-Ron: what can I say? This is a man of many talents who never hesitates to give God the glory (except when we're playing games because he's extremely competitive). But other than that, I admire his humility that he still exhibits even in the face of adversity. I have watched him come to Christ and basically allow God to use all of his talents. He's a leader and he's a married man...both of which I feel can be attributed to the power of prayer.
-Christian: there's so much to say about Bishop Spriggs! I have watched him develop in his gift. There was a time where Christian NEVER spoke, he sat in the back of church, never really got involved in anything, and today he is the complete opposite. Not only has he embraced his gift with spiritual maturity, but he has allowed himself to be used wholly by God. Not only that, but he is a prayer warrior! There was a time where he was out of school and without a car and now he is an "A" student with a brand new car. And lastly, he is the young adult leader at our church who talks to everyone now and sits on the front row. None of this would have occurred without prayer in the midst.
-Hannah: she is the ultimate go-getter! She always has words of encouragement and makes herself readily available to pray for others. She went to school and is working somewhere she absolutely loves! One thing I truly admire is that prior to landing her dream job, she wouldn't settle for anything less than what she wanted. So although the road that lied ahead seemed cloudy, her faith didn't waiver in my eyes. And even after some hiccups with her current job, she continues to remain at "peace not in pieces" about any situation that comes her way.
So even when I'm too self-absorbed and negative to see how instrumental prayer has been in my life, I am forever encouraged because I can see the power of prayer performing miracles in the lives of those I surround myself with. And as with any addiction, I consider these aforementioned individuals a part of my prayer circle/team, kind of like my support group. I know that I can go to them to pray for my behalf and vice versa. There's something so comforting in knowing that I can talk about my problems, answered prayers, and unanswered prayers with individuals who understand my walk with Christ.
“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.” Ephesians 6:18
“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:15-16
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20
3. Upon Cessation of the Activity, Withdrawal Symptoms Often Occur.
I didn’t realize how important prayer was in my life until I tried to go without praying. Have you ever tried to take life into your own hands? I really don’t know how people live life without knowing Christ. Like what kind of life is that? But then again, I can’t really have an opinion as to that kind of lifestyle because their (those who go without knowing Christ) life is the same as mine when I go without praying. Life is so rough when we don’t pray. We subject ourselves to worry, stress, and other destructive characteristics. If you know me then you know I’m almost always stressing over school and my future. It’s pretty annoying because how many times does God have to prove himself to me before I trust him wholeheartedly? I remember specifically I was having a hard time in school after my father passed and it was really getting to me. My cousin texted me saying that she missed me and hadn’t seen me in awhile and blatantly asked me what was wrong. I didn’t know how she even knew, but because I felt so defeated my pride escaped me and I told her about my difficulties. She replied and told me that God has it covered like always. I’m not sure why but when she told me all of this I was beginning to feel whole again. It was in that moment that I realized that I was too busy worry that I had forgot to pray. That happens to all of us. How many times do we stress over the dumbest (and yes they’re dumb because they’re minimal problems) things and forget to pray to God? That’s like stressing over taking an exam yet we forget to bring a utensil. It defeats the purpose of taking the exam if you cannot even write down the answers. Not doing so is an automatic failure. Life without prayer is an automatic failure as well.
Additionally, I remember I was at a conference and I was so overwhelmed with worry that I couldn’t even understand why I was crying so much! That night my aunt texted me asking about the conference and after our conversation she reminded me that we find rest in God. So many times we focus on our problems so hard that we miss the simple answers. Have you ever gotten an easy question on an exam wrong? Like when you go over it you’ll a little upset because the answer was basically given to you? Once again that’s how life is without prayer. It’s not rocket science! God is the answer! You need answers? Talk to him. Do you need to connect to him? Kneel before him in prayer! When we refuse to pay attention to the signs before us, life becomes far more difficult than it has to be and before you know it you’re sitting back living a life full of regret. Life is far too short to live with regrets and God is far too accessible to skip over prayer and try to live a life without him. To further understand what happens when we do not pray or “inquire of God,” I suggest that you read Joshua 9:1-15.
”Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14
“But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” Psalm 9:18
“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5
4. The Person Does Not Appear To Have Control As To When, How Long, Or How Much He Or She Will Continue The Behavior (Loss of Control).
You ever enjoy something so much that you fail to realize how much time has passed? I’m always like that with Law & Order: SVU marathons or the ID channel (Investigation Discovery). I get so into it and before I know it half of my day has been wasted. I am also like that with prayer sometimes. There was literally times when I don’t even realize how long I am praying because I am so connected to God. It becomes a daily conversation for me. And although I don’t really like talking on the phone, that doesn’t stop me for being on the phone for hours. On the train in the mornings I’m usually praying the entire way. When I wake I’m praying to myself until I’m on my way out the door. Days when I fast while at work I’ll pray the entire day just to get the strength to continue to fast because my flesh can be so weak.
Other than praying during the day, there was times when I’m in desperate need and I’ll pray over the course of months if not years. We never even realize how much we’ve prayed until someone brings it to our attention. I remember in my junior year in high school I was preparing for college and I was so overwhelmed. I had everything that made me a competitive prospect for college: I had the grades, I had the extracurricular activities, I had the letters of recommendation, and so forth. I just didn’t have the financial means to attend, but I knew that from the time I was a child. And anyone who knew Jamera knew how much she wanted to go to Princeton! That was my dream school! I even got an interview for Princeton and when I received my rejection letter I was so heartbroken because my interviewer eventually reached out to me and told me how much he loved me as a student, but recognized that Princeton would not be a good fit for me because I would have to compromise my extracurricular activities for my studies. To him I seemed so passionate about other things that I did outside of school and basically a lot of that would have to be put on the backburner in order to excel. Either way, I thought he was insane and I just didn’t understand because I worked so hard for those grades so that I could attend Princeton only to get rejected. Not long after my rejection letter from Princeton, I remember I received a letter in the mail from the State of New Jersey stating that I would be eligible to attend a community college for 2 years and then transfer to a New Jersey university free of charge. My mom was soooo excited that she was like yes you’ll do that! No offense to anyone who attends community college but I told her I wasn’t doing that because the whole purpose of me working so hard was so that I didn’t have to attend community college. I was slightly annoyed by everyone who suggested that I should do that. Well not long after I received that letter I received multiple acceptance letters from universities that I had applied to. I cried even harder after I got those letters because it reminded me of Princeton. All of them were offering me scholarships to attend, but Rutgers was offering the most money (basically a free-ride). My family was so excited and once again I grew more annoyed because that wasn’t my plan that was my backup.
About a week later I went to church and because I was so “depressed” because I didn’t get into Princeton, I went to the altar and cried my heart out to God. I was literally on the floor sobbing to God because I felt like my prayers went unanswered. I remember Sis. Cindy (this amazing soul in our church who now resides with the Lord) came and got me off of the floor and started to pray with me. She rocked me, she prayed over me, she consoled me, and she mended my broken-heart with a message from God. She told me: “God already took care of it, it’s done.” I never once told her what I was praying about but she allowed God to use her. That week I remember coming home and checking the mail and there was this big envelope addressed to me from this scholarship that I had applied to about 8 or 9 months prior. I had completely forgotten about it! When I opened it, it basically said that I was going to go to my school of choice (schools that had accepted me) for free!!! All covered by Bill Gates! I remember falling to my knees and thanking God and crying of course! In that instant everything came back to me and everything made sense. From the time I was a junior, to now, being a senior in high school standing in my driveway, God had answered my prayer! My prayer was never for me to get accepted into Princeton like I thought it was. For about a year and some months, I had been praying that God would make a way for me to go to school for free and he did just that! Sis. Cindy was right—he had it covered! Talk about being elated! I was just so overwhelmed because I didn’t even realize that God was listening, but more importantly, I didn’t even realize how long I had been praying. I doubt there was ever a day I skipped a prayer because I was so desperate and God was just guiding me along the way the entire time.
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” Joshua 15:16
"Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:19
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." John 14:13-14
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." 1 John 5:14-15
Continue to pray...God is ALWAYS listening. If you need prayer, please write it in the "Prayer Request" tab.
The Walls Group - Great Is Your Love