I Prayed have prayed
God, help us to obey and surrender our plans and expectations, and to say yes, both through words spoken and actions taken.

What would the impact be if you decided to set aside your agenda to seek God’s presence (being determined not to leave until you’re satisfied)?

At the beginning of this semester, my friend Emma Martinez from church invited me to go with her to 132 House of Prayer (132 HOP), a nonprofit ministry in Lubbock, Texas, focused on hosting God’s presence through prayer and worship. I agreed to go.

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One day Emma told me 132 HOP was going to hold a 24-hour prayer set, and she was determined to stay the entire 24 hours. Her excitement about seeking God’s presence inspired me to do the same.

There was just one problem: I am a grad student in the middle of midterms. So, 24 hours?! This is one of the worst times to do anything that’s not studying or completing homework. Nonetheless, I felt peace from God, so I gave Him my yes. Beforehand, I asked some friends and family how I could be praying for them. I encouraged them to send me a list, and I combined the requests together in one document, printed it out, and took it with me to the 24 hours of prayer. It’s worth noting that most of these requests came from people in my hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee.

So how did I end up 16-plus hours away from home in Lubbock? Long story short, I’m currently pursuing my master’s in mass communication at Texas Tech University. I ended up in Texas because I gave God my yes when I felt like He was leading me into academia as a mission field. In Matthew 9:37, Jesus mentions that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. In a way, academics are an unreached people group, because academia is a place not everyone can get into, and it’s a place that some pastors never see. The sad reality is that for undergraduate and graduate students, it is seen as acceptable if they neglect their faith during this busy season of life. I’ve observed how this common lie is even being accepted in Christian circles. As a graduate student myself, I can say that no one would bat an eye if I didn’t go to church or have time to spend with God through prayer or reading His Word. However, any attempt to do what God has called me to do without depending on Him first is a mistake. There are moments we have to fight for our time with God, so I did.

The week leading up to the 24 hours of prayer, Sheila and Saul Caballero, the directors of 132 HOP, told us they felt God leading them to extend the prayer to be 48 hours and that they decided to obey and give God their yes. On March 1, 2024, at 6:38 p.m., I walked into 132 HOP with the intention of only staying for 24 hours.

Why did I decide to stay? First of all, because I was surrounded by encouraging friends, and we were determined to seek God first together (pro tip: find friends who will point you back to God!). Second of all, I realized that I had a unique opportunity in front of me. I’m a 23-year-old single Christian, I’m not working a full-time job (outside of being a student), I’m away from home, and I don’t have any family in Lubbock. It’s really just God and me. Of course, grad school is intense and busy, but I started to wonder when else in my life I’m going to have this level of flexibility to put things on hold to seek God first? Since I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, I gave God my yes to focus on seeking only Him that day.

On March 2, it was around lunch time and I realized I was not finished praying for everyone on my list — and there were about 6 hours remaining. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time, but I had given my friends and family my word that I would pray for all of their requests. Suddenly, I felt God gently prompting me that I would need to stay for the full 48 hours, because He wasn’t done yet. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. All I knew was that I felt peace, so I said yes.

I stayed for 48 hours. I prayed through all of the requests on my list and saw how God is so good and gracious that He uses moments like this to impact those not even present in the same room (or state!). In the end, my main concern for the upcoming week was that, in addition to my regular intense course load, I had a midterm due that week. I had no idea when I was going to find time to complete it. The reality is that I needed more time, but I felt like God wasn’t worried, and I didn’t know why.

At the end of the 48 hours, I shared my testimony of what God did. Afterwards, someone gave me a word about how they believed God was going to show how faithful He is because I was obedient. They believed that it was going to be as if I’d been studying for 48 hours. In spite of all I saw and experienced, I was skeptical of how God could do that. It didn’t make sense, until I went to my class that Tuesday. The professor asked the class if it would help if he moved the midterm deadline from Friday to Sunday. Everyone unanimously agreed, and I sat there in shock — I literally got an extra 48 hours to study and complete the midterm I was most concerned about!

This isn’t the whole story. This is just a glimpse. There are many more stories I could tell. The real question is: Why am I sharing this one with you? Well, it’s simple: Someone asked me to, I felt peace, so I said yes and wrote the article you’re reading now.

You get to choose what to say yes and no to. I hope this story will serve as a reminder to you that a yes is more powerful in God’s hands.

What is this article stirring in you? Share your reflections and revelations with other intercessors in the comments.

(Photo Credit: MART PRODUCTION/Pexels via Canva Pro)

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Karen Ruiz
April 2, 2024

Amazing and inspiring article! Thank you for sharing your love for God and for reminding us of what is truly important even in the seasons of chaos.

2
Lawana
March 31, 2024

So proud of you and the stand you have taken. Praying that many read this and are inspired to make time to pray everyday, no matter how busy they are!

4
Abdiel Medina
March 31, 2024

Thank you for sharing and stepping out in faith. You inspire and encourage countless lives from your trust, obedience, and love for God

5
Pam McFadden
March 31, 2024

Beautiful testimony to Gods faithfulness Ariana! Thank you for sharing, Yay God! And building the Kingdom of Our LORD.

5
Milly Pagán-Medina
March 31, 2024

What an inspiring article! Thank you for sharing your experience. May God continue to use you, and may he raise more people interceding in prayer for others. Amen!

8
Pamela Derrer
March 31, 2024

God bless you. Thank you for your testimony. ❤️

7
Barbara
March 31, 2024

Wow! What a,great testimony. Now we see how obedience is very powerful. The LORD has directed me to pray for anyone running for office that he would chose to give that office to. This seems like an overbearing task but with all of us praying together Satan can’t win. We are his Kingdom Government on this earth. Take your authority in the spirit and crush the enemy. That will be a great testimony!

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