“The most powerful weapon we have is prayer. It is your connection to the living God,” says Vadim Mialik. Vadim shares that the key to a powerful prayer life is one that starts with consistency. He has not missed a day of prayer with the Lord since the age of 18 and his hope is that it would continue the same way. God used prayer to set his life on a trajectory of increasing intimacy with Jesus Christ, as a rudder to steer him away from sin, and transform the way he sees the world and loves humanity.
Early Life: Jesus, Holy Spirit, and Trying This Daily Prayer Thing
I was born in Belarus, into a Christian family and grew up with both a mother and a father. When I was nine years old, my parents, two brothers, one sister and I moved to the U.S. to be united with my uncles and aunts as well as pursue a better life in a country with many opportunities.
When we settled down in San Francisco, CA, our family joined a Russian American church community. To be honest, I might not have stayed in a church had it not been for the prayers of my family, my active involvement with the youth group, and being a drummer at the church from an early age, which kept me close to the church leadership during my early teens. Although I was a son in a Christian family and was active at church, I didn’t commit to following Christ until I was in my pre-teens. Around that time I also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit during a service, an event which was a fundamental step to my future spiritual growth as it buttered up and eased my path to a spiritual life and the spirit realm, even though it did not seem like it at first.
From the time I was 13 to 18, my prayer life started to develop. Although I didn’t have any desire to pray initially, my parents would attend prayer events at Light of the Gospel Missionary Church in Sacramento. They would engage in full days of prayer and worship, putting aside all distractions to focus on God. When I started going, I wasn’t too excited, but I wasn’t resisting either.
We’d have incredible speakers come to our church and share their testimonies of God’s miracles and they would encourage us to read the Bible. Every time after a speaker came, I’d become inspired and passionate to start reading the Scriptures and doing daily devotions. However, after a week or two, after the excitement faded, and with no practical methods to keep me going, this daily attempt at spending time with Jesus would fail.
Where Consistent Prayer Life Began
When I was 18, my friend gave me Sergy’s CD with 12 one hour sessions teaching on prayer. It was one of the best trainings on prayer that I have ever received, for me the next closest resource would be the Secrets of the Secret Place . The teaching was so clear about the importance of consistency in praying and reading the Bible. I wasn’t happy with how I was doing in those areas. Sergy was a pastor who had been doing a lot of ministry for the Lord. He had such a hunger and fire in him, which drove him to read the Bible at any chance he got. As Sergy tried to squeeze in time with God where possible, God told him that actually He wanted private, intimate time with him rather than bits and pieces of his day. Answering God’s call to a private and secret time with Him, he wondered how he was going to fit this into his already busy schedule. He realized that spending time with the Lord was the most important thing that he could do. He decided that he must start his day with the most important – first, in his time with Jesus, and then he could build his schedule around that. He started to wake up early in the morning to pray and read the Scriptures even though he wasn’t a morning person. Jesus began to practically speak to Sergy and personally train him to develop his time with the Lord. As I started this daily journey, Jesus started to personally and practically train me as well.
The Day I Was Dunked into Water was the Day I Dunked into Daily Prayer
On the day of my water baptism at age 18, I decided that it was going to be the first day I would start reading my Bible and praying consistently. This time, I wanted to follow through because I had seen the fruits of Sergy’s life. Knowing how life changing this was going to be, Satan began to bombard me with discouraging thoughts of how I had tried so many times before and failed, only to make a fool of myself. But I knew that I had to try this one more time, despite failing before. The Lord also gave me a vision of a story from the Scriptures:
Deuteronomy 15:12-18 says, “Slaves who are being set free by their master after six years of service, could, if they loved and were loved by their master, choose to remain a slave to him. If they chose to remain a slave, the master was to place the slave’s ear against a door post, take an awl and push it through his ear lobe. This ear piercing was the visible sign of the slave’s lifelong servitude to his master. He was a love slave; one who willingly submitted to servitude in love for his master.” Wording by Ps. Gerry
I felt that in this moment, I was going to be that love slave, sown into a steady relationship with the Lord.
Practical Prayer Life: Start Small, Consistency, and Accountability
The vision gave me the encouragement for another shot at a consistent prayer life, and I was able to follow through because of the practicality of the Sergy’s teaching to choose consistency even if it means starting small. I thank God for training Sergy with wise practical things about prayer. I also found an accountability partner that was there with me to ensure that I was praying every morning until I developed my habit. It took me around two to three months to develop this habit of prayer and it was an intense uphill battle because I wasn’t a morning person. I had to stand up to pray because I’d fall asleep sitting down. I have never skipped a day since then and every morning as I get victory over my flesh to spend time with Jesus, I feel as if I have attained victory for the entire day.
Consistent Prayer Life: What Has Changed?
My life has been entirely transformed through my time and relationship with Jesus. One way is how he has set me free from bondage, enabling me to live in more joy, peace and righteousness. I used to struggle with lust and masturbation, but the Lord broke that off my life. Further, even though I never had extreme cases of depression, I had depression and bad days. Now, any level of depression and ungratefulness has just disappeared. Also, God was dealing with those small things that we culturally don’t consider sins, which are “way-too-small-to-be-sins” sins. He started changing things such as a lack of love for people, my bad reactions, and my incorrect motives for doing things.
Additionally, through intimacy with Christ, God dramatically altered the way I saw the world and people. I began to develop a love and a sense of awe for nature. My eyes became open to the complete beauty of his creation and I could not help but appreciate it. Moreover, God led me to pray this prayer, “God, break my heart for what breaks yours.” After praying that, I simply could not ignore people that were struggling. The Lord filled me with such compassion so that I would pray with strangers and for those that were suffering. Not only did God reshape the way I treated strangers, but he led me to humbly and honestly apologize to those I have wronged in the past, bringing reconciliation and restoration to relationships. Even the way I think of my family is different. He saturated my heart with such overflowing love for my family that I would just want to hug my parents and siblings to express my appreciation. I realized the importance of doing the small things to show people that I couldn’t live without them. Not only did my perspective change, but my heart was made new by God to more closely reflect the heart of Christ.
Consistent Prayer Life: Dreams
With so much gradual, significant change in me over time, I began to really see the work that prayer has produced in me. Jesus started bringing incredible people into my life that was doing amazing things for him. I’m not completely sure why He started doing this after I started developing my daily time with Him, but maybe it’s that He saw the hunger in me for prayer and began connecting me with people that were focused on that too. Later, God also introduced me to the places and people that needed prayer. I am now connected and part of several groups that want to bring love, righteousness, restoration and reconciliation to this nation and world: San Francisco House of Prayer, The Awakening, One Voice Prayer Gathering , and International House of Prayer. God has spoken to me through prophetic words directly and through some great men and women of God about these dreams. He has planted great dreams for my life in my heart. There are two dreams that are closest to my heart. One is having a 24/7 prayer house in San Francisco. The second one is the dream of a new Korea with unification of South Korea and North Korea. I am excited to see the fruition of these dreams that were birthed through prayer and grateful to be a part of a journey with God through the privilege, gift and responsibility of prayer.
Vadim is one of the awesome technical gurus of the WitnessSF team and a member of Russian Gospel Temple, which meets at 11 am on Sundays at 2233 17th St., San Francisco. Feel free to share with him and us your struggles, victories and the practical things you do in your prayer life in the comments section below.