During my second year as an undergraduate, I had begun to drift into unbelief, I then used to refer to myself as a freethinker. I had so many unanswered questions, so I resorted to unbelief and all that came with it. I sought to indulge in the most dastardly acts conceivable until God found me. I am so glad he found me, for he found me at a very dark place. But this article is not about the expression of God’s saving grace in my direction, although I will really love to write a book about that someday.
In August of 2012, God had worked on my heart and totally transformed me. I was beginning to break free gradually from all the things I struggled with. It was definitely a journey in the right direction, I realized early enough that one reason I constantly struggled was my association. So I began to surround myself with the right types of friends, I was growing and healing, I needed accountability.
On this fateful day, I was invited for a prayer meeting by one of my new friends. I was eager to go, but he gave a heads up, we will be praying for four hours. I was surprised when he said four hours but fought the desire to show it in my expressions.
One of the things you learn when you start associating with Christians is a way of speaking that some call ‘Christenese’. So instead of telling my friend I didn’t feel up to a four-hour prayer meeting and fall my ‘spiritual’ hand, I simply said ‘we will pray through or something like that’, then went along with him.
We were to have this prayer meeting at a place that was popularly referred to as the HOD ground, it was the large parking lot of the school’s chapel. As a result of my history in spiritual rebellion, I had never been to such a prayer meeting before, so this was going to be a first and I was definitely not sure what to expect. I got to the HOD ground and it was bustling with life, filled with people who were ready to pray all the way.
Someone came up, gave a brief charge on the need to pray through and we were all hyped up, ready to pray the heavens down. So after the charge the prayers started, I started with the same tenacity I had observed everyone around me approached the prayers with. But thirty minutes into the prayer, something began to happen, my head began to hurt, my legs felt heavy, my vision became blurred and hazy, it felt like I was beginning to have an out of body experience. At that point, I was sure my body was telling me to stop or I will die praying. But I looked around and everyone still continued with the same level of fervour, as when we started. So in other to save face, especially since there were some pretty sisters on that HOD ground that day, I ignored all the signs my body was giving and then I continued praying. At that point it was obvious that I was simply trying to make an impression, as my mind had long been switched off, I just barely mumbled words.
Then I started hearing voices, but I think the conversation would have gone like this:
Voice in the Head: Yo bro
Voice in the Head: Stop now, you are about to die
Me: IKR (I know right)
I guess the conversation went like that because the last thing I can remember was hearing voices. By the time the prayer session was over, my friend who had invited me came and tapped me. As I stood from the floor, where I had laid for virtually the whole prayer meeting, I honestly expected to see the great angels Michael and Gabriel. But it was my friend, I had not died, I had just slept off or passed out or whatever. I was left on the floor because in that kind of gathering it wasn’t outside the norm for someone to fall under the anointing, but I knew what happened to me and it had nothing to do with the anointing. I had not built the stamina required for that length of prayer.
But fast forward to now, I am sure I can go through a four-hour prayer session and even more without passing out. So I would like to just talk briefly on how to build endurance in prayer:
1. Go Small Small
You will notice that I repeated the small, that is not a mistake, yeah I am Nigerian and that is how we say things when we want to emphasize them. The truth is that you must always have the ultimate goal of prayer before you, every time you pray. You don’t pray to prove a point to others, you pray to grow and like the physical, spiritual growth is taken one step at a time.You don’t pray to prove a point to others, you pray to grow and like the physical, spiritual growth is taken one step at a time. Click To Tweet
So I will advise you start with your current ability and consistently plan to grow from there. So if it is 30 minutes you can do now, keep doing it, gain mastery at that level and have a desire to grow from there. Growth most times is a gradual process and the growth processes of several individuals when observed are rarely identical. Just like in the physical you don’t give birth to a baby and start to feed it Pounded Yam, vegetable soup and Goat meat (If you have never had this dish, all I can say to you is sorry, what have you been eating though?).
Be honest and be true to who you are and where you are in your growth process, but always with a desire to do more.
2. Accountability and Fellowship
When it comes to building endurance in the place of prayer, accountability and fellowship cannot be pushed to the sidelines. The book of Hebrews the tenth chapter and the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth verses explain this point perfectly. The twenty-fourth verse tells us that we spur each other to love and good deeds.
As a Christian, you grow with and by other Christians. Although I was not prepared for it at the time, I am grateful to God that I had a friend that could invite me for a four-hour prayer meeting, it made me realize how much growing I had to do and yes glory be to God I have grown and I am still growing. So if you really want to learn how to endure in the place of prayer, get yourself praying friends, who will constantly spur you to good works and challenge you to do more spiritually.If you really want to learn how to endure in the place of prayer, get yourself praying friends, who will constantly spur and challenge you to do more spiritually. Click To Tweet
3. Exercise and Rest
Yes, I said it, exercise and rest. Never get too spiritual that you forget that you are human. There is a type of endurance that physical exercise builds in you that is beneficial even in your prayer life. I am not advising you to go straight up to start lifting 1000kg barbells, if you can and already do, I salute you sir/ma, me, I can’t fit. So for people in my category, regular sessions of push-ups, some squats, jogging, long speed walks or anything that gets your heart pumping will suffice.There is a type of endurance that physical exercise builds in you that is beneficial even in your prayer life. Click To Tweet
Exercise and rest are important for keeping fit, healthy and alert for the activities of the day which include prayer. So you might realize that the reason you have been unable to endure in the place of prayer is inadequate exercise or rest.Never get too spiritual that you forget that you are human. Click To Tweet
I hope this article was beneficial, I will love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.