CULTURE OF WORD & PRAYER
I grew up attending church every week, but about three and a half years ago I felt the Lord nudging me to go deeper. Until then, I had been attending services regularly out of a sense of obligation— not wanting to disappoint my family and not wanting to be a “bad Christian.” I believed that God was real, that He was the one responsible for the success I’d experienced in life thus far, and that He would be the one to provide for my future needs. However, while I knew and believed all that, I had never put effort into developing a relationship with Him. In my mind, God was a supreme being who had much bigger things to be concerned with than getting to know little 'ol me. I was moving through life, going through the motions, with the belief that it could all end at any moment if He decided to have a change of heart towards me.
Over time, I felt myself growing anxious, feeling like I had to strive to do my best in all areas of my life in order to be secure and happy. I had a great, but stressful career at one of the country’s largest financial institutions. My parents had both lost their jobs and I was living at home with them to help make ends meet. I found myself in a relationship where I was putting in most of the effort. Add into the mix trying to stay physically fit, volunteer in my community, attend church regularly, and make time for family and friends and you get one stressed out girl.
It was at this point that I really started to feel the Lord tug at my heart. A few months after following His lead to end the mostly one-sided relationship I was in, I discovered C3 NYC, which was like a breath of fresh air. All around me were people who seemed to have abundant, genuine joy and peace. I realized that they must be dealing with similar tensions in life; doing life in New York City can take a toll on even the best of us. I was curious to find out what everyone’s secret was—how could they be genuinely at peace as people trying to make it in NYC?
Luckily for me, the answer soon became clear as the church launched a series about identity. Coming to the realization that God designed me the way I am for a purpose, wants to have a relationship with me, and loves me unconditionally, regardless of what I do or don’t do, was life-changing. The idea that I didn’t have to serve on team or attend church, but that I get to do these things was revelatory. This message inspired me to embark on a journey of getting to know the Lord more personally through regular prayer and reading the Word.
Knowing that I can bring every situation to Him and release it into His hands instead of trying to figure it all out on my own is such a relief. Reading the Word helps me remember that He’s done the impossible before and is capable of overcoming any mountains I face in my life. I am able to recite the promises in His Word and combat fear and anxiety whenever I feel an attack from the enemy coming my way. I am learning to attune my mind’s ear to be sensitive to when He is speaking to me. Best of all, as I step into the freedom that comes with having a healthy relationship with the Father, I am able to confidently walk into the future He has in store for me and turn my attention outward so that I can love others and help remind them that they, too, are seen, known, and fully loved by Him.
— Farah Persuad