[The following is an excerpt from a Spiritual Life discussion.]
The prayers which stick out in my memory… were answered miraculously. The result: God is real, He is powerful, and He loves me more than anyone else.
From when I was very little, I was active in pursing God, both through the private reading of His Word and in prayer. This is not to say that sin wasn’t a problem in my life, but we know that God’s grace is greater than all our sins! His love for me was made known to me personally, and that not only through regular prayer and Scripture (although those were very important), but also through specific answered prayers. The prayers which stick out in my memory primarily are those prayers which were very personal pleas, and which were answered miraculously. The result: God is real, He is powerful, and He loves me more than anyone else. It is true that each one of us has a hole in our hearts that can only be filled with the love of Christ, and I fully attest to that.
As alluded to earlier, there are hindrances to this relationship. The main reasons why I ever fail to take a step of obedience (and therefore a step of maturity in my walk with God) include: pride, greed, laziness, or the low tolerance for pain. (Interestingly, I wonder if my low tolerance for physical pain is in any way associated with my great temptations to avoid spiritual pain i.e. rejection, sacrifices or suffering.) Thank God for His mercies! He uses even our failures and converts them to spiritual growth and second chances. During one such failure, the Lord led me to a passage which has stuck fast ever since:
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:10-14