Dan’s Story – Part 2
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Since my first letter, so much more has happened in my life and in the lives of many others that I can’t wait to tell you about. I know I won’t remember every detail but I will do my best to share the testimony of how God has written a story on my heart that only He could write. I will also share how God has begun writing a new story in many others lives here in Texas beginning in our church. I was so encouraged at the response with my first report that I wanted to share more for your encouragement and will be praying that the Lord will use this testimony for His glory and to set others free to love and serve the LORD wholeheartedly. I am just a man and there is nothing special about Dan Williams except that Christ has done a radical work in me the past 4 weeks. I believe that God’s transforming power that is at work in me is available to every single person reading this letter. I learned to pray and that has made all the difference.
I wrote in the first letter that I was completely humbled in the presence of God but wow was I wrong. There is no doubt that I sure felt completely humbled at the time but God had much more work to do in His perfect time. The complete humbling of me was yet to come and it was painful but also wonderfully beautiful and freeing. It was probably the most difficult thing I’d ever experienced in my life. I’ll get to that story a little later on. Since God began His overhaul of me at the week of prayer (the first week of May 2017), I began journaling many of the stories of what I was seeing Him do. As time has passed, I have improved my recording of those stories with dates and times. Honestly, I’ve despised journaling until now but that is changing quickly. God is filling my journal whose pages sat empty for years with stories of answered prayer, changed lives, God’s provision, and so much more.
So let me update you on some of the things I mentioned in the first letter and then tell you what God has done since that letter. I will try and break this down into smaller chapters of a larger story and forward them along for your encouragement as they are completed.
I mentioned before of my conviction to lead my wife and family in prayer. Tomorrow marks the beginning of week 4 of us praying together every morning. We are also praying throughout the day and at night before bed. This is not a legalistic burden we’ve placed on ourselves but rather a glorious joyful exercise. We are also praying with our kids now every day. As a result of these changes, God has been working in major ways in my wife’s heart too. She has been convicted of sins and has confessed those sins and is growing like never before. Attitudes of anger, bitterness, pride, judging and discouragement that often clung to her are gone from her entirely and joy, peace, and affection for the LORD and His people have replaced those negative attitudes. She is beginning to love praying longer and longer and her prayers are being heard and answered by our Great God. God is rapidly growing her boldness to share her faith with complete strangers as the LORD brings them to her. This change is evident to everyone who knows her and walls that have been up for years between her and especially other women have crumbled to the ground and she is growing in meaningful relationships with people from our church we have known for years but have never been very close to. She also told me last week that for the first time in almost 14 years of marriage and ministry together she feels like she’s a real partner in the work God has given us to do. I love the change I see in her. She’s more precious to me today than she’s ever been and we spend hours every day talking now rather than just sitting in the same room while the TV drove a wedge between us. Praise God for this change.
My daughter who is 5 years old and has been observing this change is praying more and more and asking if we can pray and if she can pray. A couple of weeks ago I was lying with her before bed and I suggested that we should pray. She said yes and so I began to pray. Immediately she got up and began climbing off the bed. I thought at first that this girl has no attention span but then I realized what she was actually doing. She was kneeling by her bed. I sat up and then kneeled next to her and she looked over and said, “Daddy, I want to pray like you pray.” O, Glory to God for the change He brought in me that this was possible. Last night she prayed before bed with our whole family and her prayers were deep and she prays with a faith many long time believers fail to pray with. The past few mornings, she has begun getting up at about 6:30 to just sit with my wife and I and listen and pray with us. It is incredibly encouraging for this proud papa. It makes me love the Lord even more.
So as I shared, the TV had become a major stronghold in my life that was stealing me away from my family and more importantly from my LORD. I mentioned in the last letter how I was asking the LORD to help me cut ties with the TV. I’m happy to report that in addition to cutting the cable, we also got rid of the TV that had become an idol for me. I now have so much time to pray. I now have motivation to go to bed early and wake early for prayer. Since pulling the plug, I haven’t missed a single TV show, playoff game, or anything else that I feared I couldn’t live without. God set me free from even the appeal to those former things which once held a hold on me and I’ve replaced that counterfeit enjoyment with the authentic enjoyment of being in the presence of the LORD.
In addition to praying with my wife daily, I am praying with two of my dear brothers in the Lord on a weekly basis and God is knitting our hearts together. We are entering into battle together on our knees and seeing God give the victory. My love for prayer and also love for God’s Word have multiplied day after day after day. I don’t know how I ever lived without it. It was honestly a stale and boring existence and everyone around me saw it but me. I was saved but I was sidelined and drifting farther and farther from the one who saved me. This morning my wife shared this verse with me and it has risen to the top of the list of my favorite verses and describes well this new love for God’s Word I have now. Jeremiah 15:16a, “Your words were found and I ate them, your words became a delight to me and the joy of my heart.”
I also shared about a friend who had been on my heart during the week of prayer. He came up to me after I shared of God’s work in me and said, “I so want to experience the Lord like you have but I’m afraid of what God might ask me to give up.” This testimony is amazing so hold on. The day after writing all of you (May 10th), he called me after I had made a few failed attempts to connect with him to pray. We talked and then I asked if he wanted to pray and he said, “maybe just you can pray”. So I prayed and he wept and God was working mightily in his heart. On Thursday May 11th, I once again followed up with him and he reported that he had prayed the night before and again in the morning saying it was more prayer than he’d had in the past month. He also said, “I don’t feel close to Him yet but it’s a start.” I was praising God at this report and continued to labor in prayer for him. I shared with him that I believed many who had read my first letter of testimony were also praying for him and he was very encouraged to hear that. On Saturday May 13th I checked in on him again asking how prayer was going and if he’d been able to find quiet times to just be with the LORD. His response this time was even more encouraging than the last report. He said that he’d discovered that the best time for him to pray was in the morning before the day really got going. He also said that he was also praying more throughout the day. Then he shared that he prayed briefly with his wife and that they were talking about how to do that more. I was witnessing him progress before my eyes and my heart was overflowing with the answers to prayer for him and the joy that was returning for my sweet friend. I asked how he was handling the stronghold that he’d shared with me which was video games. Just like the TV consumed my thoughts and time, video games consumed his. He texted me back saying he hadn’t played since Tuesday night. He confessed they were still a pull but that it no longer consumed his thoughts. I knew God was breaking the chains. On Sunday May 14th, my family and I went over to their house for a short time of fellowship and when I saw his face I could see that he was a changed man. Peace and Joy that I hadn’t seen on his face in a long time had returned and his affection for prayer and God’s Word had returned. On Friday May 19th, he reported that he’d had many more opportunities to pray with wife and also with his oldest daughter. He also said that he was feeling so much less stress and worries about life. God is so good! I get excited just playing the story back in my mind. He texted me later in the day asking for prayer as the enemy seemed to be attacking him physically which was very unusual for him. He said that normally these types of pains would cause him to complain and become depressed but he had a joyful spirit in spite of it. He asked me to pray that he would “travail and seek Him vigorously.” I did. He had a fear that now that things were better that he might just coast and then “stall out”. So I prayed all the harder for my dear friend and he was praying for me too. His prayers were changing, his attitude was changing, his leadership in the home was changing and I believe angels were rejoicing at the site of it. At the same time this was all going on, my family was experiencing some attacks from the enemy. We both encouraged each other to put on the full armor of God every day before leaving our homes and leading our family members to be prepared as well. On May 21st, he invited me to lunch. We met up on the 23rd and I just let him talk. He talked for about 30 minutes and testified to the LORD’s goodness and the changes that were taking place in his family. I was blown away to see the goodness of God on this dear friend’s life and family. God is still working and this isn’t the end of the story for my friend. He and I have begun praying for even more change in his family for the Glory of God. Please hold him up as you think of it. I believe God has big plans for this brother and his family.
My other friend (the one with the Oklahoma accent) who I also mentioned in the first letter is being transformed in many areas of his life and family from day to day. He continues to report almost daily how the LORD is convicting him of sin, softening his heart, and helping him lead in his family. He came up to me today after church and just hugged me and there was a noticeable change in his countenance also. I saw a kindness and tenderness so precious and so refreshing. I told him, “I can’t wait to pray with you again as soon as we are able.”
I mentioned a young couple who God raised up to serve with us in leadership at our teen summer camp. We had just begun praying with them when I wrote the last letter. We have since met a few more times as a couple and my wife met with the wife for sharing and prayer a few days ago after her trip out of town. The testimony of this couple is following in the pattern of so many others we are seeing God work in. Confession, healing of hurts, removal of strongholds, more and more prayer and study of God’s Word leading to boldness and blessing as they walk closer with God. I wish I had time to tell all the ways this young couple is growing. I can’t wait to see more work in the weeks to come.
Some of you also have been praying for my brother Dave. God is working in our relationship and has recently opened a line of communication between us. We are speaking via text about every other day and this is huge progress. He seems excited to have a “theological dialogue”. I’ll share more on that story another time.
For now I will bring this to a close. The next chapter will be of God’s humbling in my life on Saturday night May 13th and Sunday morning May 14th. I confess that I’ve been fearful to share that part of my testimony but God has assured me that it is going to be used for His glory and as part of the revival that has begun. He is in fact already using it. Pray for the words as I write that one. I want all glory, honor, and praise to fall on the Father above for the radical transformation of my life that has set me free to serve Him more faithfully and powerfully. That chapter will be followed by more testimony of many others being changed by the power of God through prayer and then another chapter of His incredible faithfulness and care for my family on Friday May 26th. This may morph into a video blog at some point but I’m not familiar with all that so for now I’ll stick to writing. My prayer is that someday I’ll hear from many of you reading or hearing this letter about how God is radically transforming your lives as you restructure your life around the Lord Jesus Christ and begin to pray with expectation that God will answer. Run to him brothers and sisters and sit at His feet for there is no better place to be. May the God of all peace bless you by the retelling of His story through my eyes.