I think on some level prayer has always been sort of a lifeline for me. During so much of my life I felt like no person cared or had time for the things that hurt me most, and it was primarily through music that I learned God did. I understand now that one song in particular had a very profound effect on me musically when I was 11 years old, and I think that started to open something in me. Later, I had my encounter with God. I didn't really understand much about Christ, only that I knew I needed to accept that he was my Savior before I could reach God. It was not too long after that when I went to a Sandi Patti concert and had a meltdown over her singing "We Shall Behold Him". God was telling me that I was His child, promising me that I would someday see Him face to face and He would hold me in His arms. From then on, I took comfort in that, and I prayed about everything.
But at the same time, I still struggled with all the same stuff, and there came a time when I started trying to reach out for help around me. I've actually been struggling with finding a balance with this lately. I can run wildly around asking tons of other people's advice, and quite often I do. I do it because I don't trust what I know in my heart, and I sometimes struggle to remember that God talks to me. It was this running around that got me into some real confusing situations with school, and the result is I'm not doing what makes me happy. I'm working on that, trying to become sensitive to God again and to hear what He has in mind--and know that He will guide my steps to get there.
There are many times when it's good and necessary to seek help and advice from other people. In fact, it's Biblical. But I also am realizing that there are ways of finding the people who will give me the kind of feedback that is best, and God will lead me to those people. I once made a list of the people I knew who were "safe" for me to get advice from, people who might be at all different levels spiritually but who were sensitive to God's Spirit and me as a person. They were the people I went to for help and when I needed someone to pray with me.
I understand now the importance of praying together. Of course, God always hears us when we talk to Him. But something incredible happens when we *agree* in prayer together. I've heard that term used so often that it's almost awful to me to hear it. People say, "Let's agree in prayer," and what they mean is you bow your head and I'll pray while you're quiet, and then we'll be free to eat ... or I can say I've prayed for your need with you. But I can point to a handful of times in my life when someone has really agreed in prayer with me, and it's always powerful. There's actually something to this. Some people are truly gifted with the ability to be sensitive to others and to pray powerfully for them (intercession). That gift comes from God's own heart, and as He draws the gifted person nearer to Him the gift becomes stronger.