Paul, 27, British Columbia, Canada
I remember the first time I ever praised God. I’d been following Jesus for years; I’d even overcome addictions by His name. But I’d never truly praised Him — until Iast May.
It began with the search for a new car. I’d searched everywhere in my area with no luck, so I started looking in other parts of Canada. I eventually found the perfect one in Alberta and called the owner. The connection between us was instant. I decided to fly to Alberta and drive my new car back home. I was excited, but as the reality of the risk dawned on me, I grew nervous. The night before my flight, I prayed: “God, no matter what happens, I just want to be with you, I don’t want to be alone during this trip.”
When I landed, God made His presence known. There was pure joy and laughter between myself and the vehicle’s owner. Then, on my way back home, I stayed with a friend whom I hadn’t seen since high school. He provided perfect hospitality and showed me around downtown; we had the best time. At some point, it hit me how blessed I was. I thanked God and invited Him into the wonderful experiences I was having.
Days later, I found myself driving through Jasper Provincial National Park, an area in the Canadian Rockies that’s home to glaciers, lakes, and mountainous peaks. Driving along, the sun high in the sky, I praised God for the very first time. I was driving the sports car of my dreams on one of the most beautiful roads in the world; but instead of feeling boastful or prideful, the moment was all about Him.
Immediately, I felt the Holy Spirit come down upon me. A tingling sensation appeared on the top of my head and traveled down my body. Feeling this and certain of Who it was, I proclaimed, out loud: “Lord, take this car, I don’t care! I just want a relationship with you! Let your light, life and love shine through me!” The joy and astonishment I felt was so overwhelming, I burst into tears and had to pull over. I eventually made it home later that night.
The next morning, I woke up with the sunrise. The change in me was obvious; I’d never before felt so close to the Lord. I got out of bed and got down on my knees — head down, hands out. I prayed the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), followed by these words: “I surrender my mind, body, and spirit to the one true God.”
I was then overcome by His strong, loving presence. I wasn’t completely sure what was going on, but it was so overwhelming that I wept for hours. Oddly enough, two days later, a professor of mine randomly shared his testimony with me and, for the first time in my life, I began to understand what it means to be born again.
Today, I’m in a close, life-giving relationship with Christ our Lord. And I will praise His name!
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” -Acts 1:8