My road to serving the Lord full time was not one I ever expected to be on. Most men who are called into the ministry receive that call earlier in their life. For me, I received the call only after I had gone a long way down the road of pursuing my own plans and dreams. On my way to that divine appointment with Jesus, I discovered three prayers to which God always will answer "yes".
The first of these prayers is one that you can pray even before you know or believe in Jesus. That was my situation when I prayed it back in the 1980s. At the time I was living in the UK pursuing my business career. My wife Michele had just been saved, and my parents, one of my brothers and one of my sisters also had come to Christ. I, on the other hand, was a skeptic. I gathered together books critical of the Bible with the intent to discover all of the claimed inconsistencies and inaccuracies of God's Word. I could not, however, deny the power of Jesus Christ in the lives of my wife and family, and so instinctively I knew I was not dealing with an ordinary book. Without even knowing what God's Word says in 1 Corinthians 2 about needing the Spirit of God to discern spiritual things , I prayed "God, if You truly exist, please help me understand what the Bible says, I really want to know!" God answered that first prayer for me, because the more I looked for the weaknesses of Scripture, the more I was filled with its truth.
It was shortly after I began my quest to find fault with the Bible that I discovered the second prayer to which God always will answer "yes". That prayer is "Jesus, I am a sinner, and I desperately need You. Please come and dwell in my heart as my Lord and Savior."
Many years went by before I discovered the third prayer. Once I discovered it, I prayed it several times over the years. After being saved in 1988 I began to grow in my knowledge of the Word. At the same time, I was deeply committed to my career as an executive with various technology companies. In the midst of building my own empire, God started to speak to me about His. Specifically, Jesus revealed to me how my service to Him could draw me into a closer relationship with Him. I figured that access to God was what Jesus' sacrifice was all about, and so the closer I got to Him, the better.
I was now in position to discover the third guaranteed prayer: "Jesus, please fill me with Your Spirit to the point where I will have the power and the time to serve You in whatever way You direct." Before I knew it, I was serving Him as a Sunday school teacher and an elder, first at Calvary Chapel of Stone Mountain GA, and then at Calvary Chapel of Cary NC. It was after moving to North Carolina that I began to feel God stirring my heart in a different way from anything I had experienced before. My eyes were opened to the fact that I had only scratched the surface of knowing my Lord and Savior. He led me to teach the book of Hebrews to a home fellowship in 2002. Through the pages of that book, I truly came face to face with the person and the deity of Jesus.
I remembered that third prayer which had started me down the road to serving Him. I dusted it off, and I infused it with a sincere yearning to draw close and really know Jesus, whatever the cost. A heart that sincerely desires to be used by God is a heart that Jesus will fill with His Spirit every time, and the results can be truly amazing. In my case, He took me to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a city I knew only because it consistently produced basketball teams that prevented my beloved Syracuse Orangemen from winning more College Basketball titles. He traded in my 23 year career as an attorney and business executive for the pastorate of a church that He has designed and only reveals to me a day at a time. He refuses to coddle my need to plan and know every stage of my future, and instead He is teaching me that His grace is sufficient for me yesterday, today and tomorrow. He has replaced in my heart all of the ambitions of a life spent in worldly pursuits with one consuming passion - to know Him more.