A small story of grace

Al Ngullie 

I still remember that night vividly more than a decade ago. I woke at around midnight/wee hours and found myself standing on the bed, shivering from an indescribable hollow feeling of terror felt to the deepest corners of my very being. Clutched tightly in both fists were clumps of torn wallpapers and grasps of blankets. Surrounding me were bits and shreds of wallpaper, strewn pillows and displaced bed sheet. Then, as a state of complete consciousness gathered in my head to comprehend what was happening, faint but frantic calls from my mother in the room adjacent to mine filtered into my ears. 

It was yet another one. One of the many nightmares I regularly used to have in my growing years till the onset of my 20s. It would continue for many years more. But as much they were there, so was my mother. With her prayers.  

Mom came over into my room that night and holding me, prayed to God, like she always did for me. I really don’t know where I would be today if not for her prayers. Through all those turbulent times characterized by dark phases of morbidity, terror and hollow emptiness and depression, I found immense comfort even in knowing that she was there ready to pray for me, quiet in all her inner strength and shy nature. One thing she used as a weapon, to reassert hope into my inner self, was prayer. 

When I went through another severe phase of depression a year back, she made sure that I was prayed for every night before sleep and hold me, like a small child and prayed for my recovery. Doctors diagnosed my depression as anxiety disorder (GAD) and prescribed me cerebral-retentive medications, but I know it was prayer that carried me through those severe periods of anger, haplessness, loneliness, questions and pain. Mom insisted and injected into my heart the presence of redemption, hope and grace ready for taking from praying. I still have relapses every now and then but I know prayer would always be my first and final resort and the healing therein.

Mom has been my only companion in my 25 years of life; I grew up without a father and all my elder siblings, including my step-family were too matured to have me by their side so I practically grew up with only mom as my only companion. That she was responsible for teaching me what quiet inner strength was, patience and respect for others and of the love for God, the LORD goes without saying.  But the greatest lesson I ever learnt from my mother was the power of prayer – the supreme testimony symbolizing our humanly weakness, fallibility, and haplessness for help but above all, the representation of petition to God that He is the only one on whom we can depend. And clichéd as this statement had become, it really works. More than we’ll ever know. 

I’m not good enough a Christian to be pointing out any scripture to justify this point but I do know the Bible makes it amply clear the truth that is inside the power of prayer; understood as there. We don’t need telling that the history of the world, as in the Bible and myriad stories of all the faithful within, hinged on, still hinges and will ever hinge on prayer. Even pagans and idolaters pray so can’t we, as Christians, pray? If made into a habit I assure you, it’ll release you from the dregs of everyday life and you’ll find that missing a prayer will have you restless not because it’s a habit but because when you forget to pray you’ll feel the absence of assurance whether it be for protection, healing, grace or just gratitude inside your heart ‘Be anxious for nothing but in everything let your supplications, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard you hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’ says Philippians 4:6-7 . I make it a point to pray for and on anything to the LORD – from exams to clothes, to pain and heartache, from work to girlfriends to money, anything just about that concerns with life. And I know all of them have come true, directly or indirectly. No wonder John 14: 13 say ‘…I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the father. You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do’. 

I have met many people who have an unconstructive sense of humility thinking “since I am a sinner I’m not worthy to be asking for his blessing”. Well, the Bible says (I don’t know which passage but) that the LORD wants us to have in abundance all the goodness in life. And it is imperative that we ask from Him first so that way he knows we are showing our haplessness and imperfectness. Why? So that he gets the opportunity to demonstrate in us all he can bless us with in our praying/asking him, that’s what!  

Not asking is an unconstructive, negative form of humility. Let’s say you haven’t asked/prayed for anything in life. But to whom would you credit for what you have now and would have later (even if not prayed for)? God, of course! So please reach out to him and he’ll show what he can do! I challenge you, give it a sincere try! 

There are a lot of things about prayer as the only source of eternal liberation, strength, healing, grace and every true goodness that men can ask to be blessed with and be blessed with but for now, as I am still a child to be delving in the ways of the LORD and his Angels, I’ll emphasis only on one thing: Praying for those we hate or have hurt us. In the context of those who have hurt us, praying for them in all sense means forgiving them. 

It took me more than seven years to pray for one of my brothers. Although living in the same house we didn’t really talk for more than a decade for reasons which I’ll only say is too long a story to be set in this article. But yes, just two years ago I decided to pray for him (please note that I wasn’t intend on forgiving him then) as I asked for happiness and healing for him I felt all hatred melt away slowly. After decades of slow burn and gnawing decay the inside of me, I was free at last!  Then I realized that asking blessings upon someone you hate and vice versa, actually translates into forgiving them. In other words, why would you pray for goodness and blessing for your bitterest enemy? That’s the power of prayer.