As a child growing up in East Harlem, New York, during the mid-sixties, there was much to pray about—heroin addiction, domestic violence, racial tension, poverty and more. But, I didn’t know the Lord then. I grew up as a Catholic, occasionally visiting mass on Sundays and memorizing the Lord ’s Prayer. And so, that’s what I did. I religiously prayed the Lord ’s Prayer every night, for many, many years–believing that God was listening even though I never heard an audible voice.
One night, frightened by the day’s events of violence, I cried out to God in prayer for safety. That night, I dreamt I was in church and I told God, “I want to be where you are!” I was desperate to leave my current life. I began to rise toward the ceiling of the church believing that God was answering my prayer to take me. But, instead, I heard God say, “It is not time yet.” So, I slowly drifted back down to the floor of the church. At best, I woke up knowing that God had been listening.
Over the years, I viewed God as my silent partner. Never quite understanding why I couldn’t hear him or why he wasn’t answering. It wasn’t until years later that I realized I had to accept his finished work on the cross and receive His gift of salvation before my eyes and heart would be open enough to recognize and hear his voice. It’s been a long journey and I still lean in to hear him.
The video link at the end of this article, is of a ministry called Hearts Ablaze, where many women and sometimes men gather for a time of intense, intimate prayer to God. In doing so, many are being set free –emotionally, physically and spiritually.
My own experience with this ministry was when I was struggling with knowing whether or not I had forgiven someone from past hurts. The woman of God, Joy Payne, founder of Hearts Ablaze, led us to the altar to pray. She asked us to release any bitterness or forgiveness in our heart to God. I wanted my heart and my conscious clear, so, I went up to pray.
During the prayer time, I said, “God, I forgive the best way I know how. But, how can I know for sure I have forgiven in my heart?” After a few moments, I felt what I can only describe as Velcro being removed from my heart. Something lifted off of my heart. I heard “You are forgiven.” You see, in the Bible (Mathew 6:15), we are only forgiven, when we have truly forgiven someone else. So, God assured me of the position of my heart in this matter. I cried and felt nothing but pure joy! I was truly elated!
Enjoy the video and hear what others are saying about the power of prayer through this ministry and know that whatever situation you are facing – God is listening and responding to your prayers as you commune with Him.