As a teenager, I can remember the countless afternoons, right around 2:50 PM to be exact, that I would come home from high school and hear my mom in the small spare bedroom praying. I needed to pass by that room in order to get to my bedroom, so sometimes I would just stop, press my ear to the door, and listen.

She didn’t pray your typical “Bless me” or “Fix this” prayers, such as I was used to hearing, and even praying myself. Her prayers were different. They were impassioned and fervent, as though it wasn’t her mouth speaking the words, but it was her heart and soul crying out. There was a heaviness and a desperation found in her voice. She wanted to know God.

In those moments, I know remarkable and unspeakable things happened. I not only heard it, I could feel it. In her praying, she reached heights and depths in God that I had never known personally, never experienced intimately. She prayed as though God were real, as though He were really sitting there in the room and listening. And strangely enough, it even sounded sometimes as though He was actually talking back to her.

Thinking back on those days, it’s hard for me to even describe the impact my mom made on me – and still is making on me – by her uninhibited prayer life. All I can say is that, through those years of my upbringing, her passion for God undoubtedly has caused a hunger in me to know Him just the same – in a more intimate and unfamiliar way, to dig and to prod and peek into His mind, and explore.

I learned from my mother, simply by eavesdropping, that even in the middle of the afternoon, in a small spare bedroom, while life and chaos are intermingling on the outside, that God is still reachable on the inside. I learned as a young teenager that God can show up even when there is no Brooklyn Tab Choir playing in the CD player or a red-faced, sweaty preacher on TBN. He can show up in the quiet atmosphere of a bedroom when it’s just you and Him. It doesn’t matter the time, it doesn’t matter the place. When you need God to show up, all that matters is that you want Him, truly want Him.

Mom, thank you dearly for being an example to me. I am forever grateful.