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Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Power of Prayer

I remember when my sisters and I were younger we were not only taught to pray in English, but in Vietnamese as well. We would find ourselves repeating the same things both in English and Vietnamese, but our parents seemed to be okay with that. As we grew older and started to understand more about the Gospel, we still would repeat a lot of the same things, and take lines from others' prayers, not that it is not wrong. Then came seminary, the sweet time we got to learn about the Gospel while going to school. These were the times where prayers really started to mean something to me. Senior year was the first time I ever read the Book of Mormon all the way through, the first time I knelt to pray to know if it was true. I put that moment in my life as one of the greatest teaching moments in my life regarding prayer and revelation. 17 years old, and that was the first time I can honestly say I have felt something really stirring inside of my mind, heart, and soul. This was very good timing since I was planning to leave on a mission pretty soon after that experience. 19 years old and I get called to serve to place where I didn't really want to, somewhere humid, somewhere hot, and tons of Asian people. Singapore English speaking was the call. Now I love Asian people, proud of my heritage and culture, but we are very loud and proud people and honestly not the most humble, I know! I am one of them. I remember the first time teaching an investigator to pray and we all knelt down, and we each took a turn praying. After the investigator prayed, he immediately said "we're just praying to a wall, and no one is listening, but us, you guys pray to nothing!" as a new missionary, that fired me up, and even wanted to give up on him, but my companion had faith and prayed. Well long story short, that investigator got baptized 2 weeks later, served a mission to Hong Kong, and now lives in Nevada. I saw this countless on my mission. After the mission, I tried to keep up with that faith. As I got back into the "real" world, I found myself praying less, and just worrying more. And noticed how my prayers were not nearly as sincere as the prayers I said on the mission. What changed? My attitude. Understanding that I needed this more than ever. To converse with our Father in Heaven, was more than some thing expected or just out of need for something, it was a desire to let Him know, even though He already did my thoughts, my wants and desires, my feelings. In doing so my mind and my heart we're opened again and ready to receive. As I get older and gain more responsibility, each important choice comes with prayerful consideration, and allowing the Lord's time to work and to have the patience and understanding when the answer comes. Without this privileged communication, I know that I could be alright and still live a good life, but because of it I am comforted to know that I will live a better life with it! One of the best definitions I have come across regarding this was by James E. Talmage, "The dumb may pray, and that too with the eloquence that prevails in Heaven. Prayer is made up of heart throbs and the righteous yearnings of the soul, of supplication based on the realization of need, of contrition, and pure desire." (Jesus the Christ pg. 238) I know that as we allow prayer to be a special and real part of our lives, that we will blessed in ways we've never imagined. We've heard stories about prayer, we've heard testimonies, read about them, and even blogged about them. My "prayer" is that we all strive to have it more in our lives, realize the faith in each prayer, and be patient with the answers we receive.

1 comment:

  1. The more I pray the more I realize that it is ALL about us. God does not need our prayers, he does not need to hear us say what He already knows we want or what we think we need. He does not need to hear that we love Him or that we are going through a hard time. He knows all these things. Please don't misunderstand me, these things are great to say out loud for your own sake, and by doing so you can reaffirm them in your own mind. What I'm trying to say is that prayer is a way of bringing our will in line with the will of God. The time we take to pray should be spent trying to express to our Father that we are willing to accept all that He has planned for us, and by so doing let God tell us what we need and what we should want.
    Prayer, in my experience, is also a wonderful time to reaffirm your Father in Heaven's love for you. The next time you have a perfect day, before going to bed, I challenge you to kneel and thank Heavenly Father for the joys bestowed upon you and before doing anything else ask Him "What have I done to deserve this?" Take that time to listen and let your Heavenly Father tell you that He loves you. So often we begin our prayers with "Our dear, kind and loving heavenly Father..." have you ever wondered how God might return your prayer to you? Might he not say "My wonderful son/daughter, thou whom I lovest dearly, oh how my heart swells to see you in such happiness..."