Written by Ryan Campese
When I was a teenager, I went to big house parties and pit parties. Pit parties were held in unused gravel pits where we could light huge fires at night without getting caught.
Amid all the chaos of these parties, there were several occasions where an overwhelming feeling came over my body that I had to leave. I would grab a friend and get out of there, certain something was going to happen.
When I got that feeling, something usually did go wrong: someone would get hurt, the cops would come, or people would get charged or fined. I know now it was the Holy Spirit protecting me.
Years went by. My life took a dark road, without anything life-giving. I made a lot of bad choices. I was a drug dealer, a scammer, and a player. I even had guns pulled on me by someone wanting me out of the way.
Then, I met this amazing Christian girl in high school. She prayed for me all the time and introduced me to her family who prayed for me also. We ended up getting married. Nine years later—through the prayers of my wife, her family, and their church—I accepted Christ into my heart. I asked the Holy Spirit what this new life in Christ and being reborn was all about.
One night, I was on my knees in my wood workshop. I was in despair because I wanted to get baptized but I was covered in all these dark tattoos, even ones depicting the devil. Then BANG Jesus was standing in front of me. He said very firmly, “Are you coming with me, or not?” I was floored and started to cry. “Yes, I am coming. I owe you my life, Lord.”
I remember His robe was like a light. It was so bright that all you could see was the Holy Spirit shining, gleaming like how snow sparkles when it changes colour. His beard glistening (with olive oil?). He had a smile of hope and a twinkle in his eye because He knew the fear of His Father.
God can save lives, especially the ones who call out to Him. Sometimes it takes devastation, fear, anger, and loss of life.
This story is about the power of prayer and the power and strength of the Holy Spirit. It is a small clip of my life in prayer and listening to the call Jesus put on my life.
I am now in youth ministry, prison ministry, and mission work. I pray constantly to the Holy Spirit for everything. God is there wherever we go. Prayer is our conversation time with God, and it is best spent alone. Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” I pray each of you reading this will call on God.