Growing up I did not have much fellowship with other believers, but I did see the power of God in action from an early age. My Dad kept a little notebook of the miracles God wrought in our lives, which included everything from putting food on the table when we barely had money to pay the bills, to miraculous healing. One of the greatest effects on my life was hearing my Dad pray. He would pray the kind of prayer that would leave someone listening in no doubt that there was a very real God.
I feel like God was calling me from an early age. I remember one day on the playground in the third grade I had a very profound feeling that someone, somewhere, was watching me to see what choices I would make.
When I got older I began to rebel, talk back to my parents, and misbehave. But God still kept me clean. I can say by the grace of God that I never smoked, drank, or fooled around with women. I was very interested in girls in general, but worldly girls always scared me, even when I wasn't serving the Lord.
One day after I graduated High School I was taking a walk with my Dad, and he started talking about the millennium and the city that John saw. The Presence of the Lord came down while we walked, and everything clicked together. A great desire came on me to read and listen to everything I could, and as soon as we got home I read everything I could get my hands on. This was amazing! Why had I not done this before! I would hang over the side of my bed and read and read.
About this time the devil began to attack me with the most horrible mental torture. The most horrible thoughts, blasphemies and images filled my head every waking moment. A constant barrage of hateful thoughts towards God and accusations that I had crossed the line and salvation was lost. There was no escape. But I knew it was the devil, and I felt certain that God would not hold me accountable for some blasphemous thought the devil dropped on my head.
I began to seek the Holy Ghost, and at the same time pray for deliverance from Satan's torment. I went through the Bible and found every promise of God: that He promised He wouldn't give us a stone if we asked for bread, that it was for as many as the Lord would call. Every night I would pray like my life depended on it. I asked God to examine my faith and prove me whether I believed Him or not. At the time, my parents were paying for me to go to a local community college; if I hadn't had classes each day I would have stayed there until there were nothing but bones, and that's what I told the Lord. I also told Him that even so, I would be back every evening until He filled me or the day I died, whichever came first. Each night when I prayed, I wouldn't stop until I felt the anointing, but that's not what I came for. I wanted to be filled and delivered.
One night while in prayer I began flipping through the pages of the Bible, pointing out to God all of His promises. I would stop at each one and read it to Him, reminding Him that He would have to keep His Word sooner or later. The power of God came in like a train, and flattened me back on my bed. I laid there praising God until I thought I might die. But I didn't care.
For about the next month I thought I was in heaven. I felt like I had come forth from a womb into a new life. I could feel the Presence of the Lord so strong with me that I would turn around when I was walking to class to see if someone was behind me. And Satan's incessant "water torture" of thoughts had left.
Hundreds of years before Jesus walked the shores of Galilee the prophet Isaiah foretold the evidence of the Holy Ghost when he said, "And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children." If you desire it, you can have it too, for "the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call".
Ever since I first wrestled with Jacob's angel, when I'm presented with a new trial, I like to tell Him "Thank you God for another chance to prove I believe your Word".