What is your goal as a Christian
Prayers that achieve their goal
Everyone has lived in heaven once. We were with our Heavenly Father. We knew him. We heard his voice. We loved him. We were eager to come to earth and make further progress, but the separation that came with it must have hurt us. We must have regretted that a veil should cover our eyes and that the shining memories in earth life should fall into the darkness of oblivion. How much we must have longed to be with Heavenly Father. How firmly we have assured him that we will turn to him and speak to him.
No doubt our separation from the Father was softened by the fact that he promised us that if we prayed for him he would turn to us.
Well here we are. Our memories of premortal life are pale and dark. We have forgotten everything we thought we could never forget. Unfortunately, tragically, sometimes we even forget Heavenly Father whom we loved so dearly.
Have you considered what your prayers - your aspirations to connect with heaven as a mortal person - do? How Close Do You Feel to Heavenly Father? Do you feel that your prayers are being answered? As you pray, will you be enriched and edified? Could it be better?
This will give more meaning to prayer
There can be many reasons why our prayers lack the power. Sometimes they become routine. Our prayers become meaningless if we repeat the same words over and over again in the same context, so that the prayer is no longer a conversation but degenerates into a lecture. This is what the Savior meant by “many words” (see Matthew 6: 7). Such prayers, he said, are not answered.
Our beloved prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, stated:
“The problem with most of our prayers is that we say them as if we were picking up the phone and ordering something to eat - we place the order and hang up. We need to ponder and deal with what and what we want to pray about and then speak to the Lord as one speaks to another. "1
Do you feel like your prayers are one like the other? Have you ever recited a prayer mechanically as if you were playing a vinyl record? Do you sometimes get bored saying the prayer?
Does a prayer that you don't think twice about deserve Heavenly Father's attention? When you find that your prayers are just routine, stop and think about it. Think for a while about what you are really grateful for. Be sure to. It doesn't have to be big or impressive. Sometimes it is very appropriate to express our gratitude for the small and simple things, like the smell of rain, the taste of our favorite food, or the sound of the voice of someone we love.
It can be like healing balm when we think of something we are grateful for. It distracts our thoughts from ourselves. Our main focus is turning away from our sorrows and trials and toward the abundance of the glorious world in which we live.
Think of what you really need. Present your goals, hopes, and dreams to the Lord. Heavenly Father wants us to approach him and ask for his divine help. Explain to him what tests you are going through. Bring your righteous wishes before him.
Our prayers can and should deal with the practical needs and troubles of everyday life. If we are to pray for the harvest (see Alma 34:24), why not pray for other important tasks that arise?
Some believe that the more eloquent it is, the more effective a prayer is. All too often these prayers are not intended for the ears of the Almighty, but rather for the ears of those who are there. Would you like to communicate with God? Then approach him with awe and humility. Don't worry too much about whether your words are well phrased or not. Instead, make sure to pour out your heart.
Pray in faith
Another reason why so many prayers make little difference is our lack of faith. We draw close to Heavenly Father like a child who asks from its parents but already knows that they will say no. Without faith, our prayers are empty words. When we have faith, our prayers connect to the powers of heaven and can increase our knowledge, hope, and strength. If the worlds were created by faith, we can also create righteous desires of the heart by faith and experience that they come true.
What is belief Faith is absolute trust in that which is one hundred percent in accordance with Heaven's will. When we combine that trust with decisive action, we exercise faith.
Faith without works is dead. Sometimes we expect Heavenly Father to answer our prayers even though we have done nothing but pray. For one who just holds out his hand and waits for the blessings of heaven to rain down on him, the door of heaven will never open.
The forces of faith are set in motion by action. We have to do our part. We have to get ready. If we do all we can, we will be blessed for our efforts.
Prayer is a personal matter between you and Heavenly Father. He knows as well as you do if you did what you could. Don't waste any time worrying about whether your best is comparable to what others have done. From Heavenly Father's point of view, it doesn't matter.
Prosperity - a challenge
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges the Church faces in our time is prosperity. President Brigham Young (1801–1877) taught:
“What I fear most is that you will get rich ... [and] forget God. Our people will endure mob raids, pillage, poverty and persecution of all kinds and still remain true to the faith. But I fear far more that you cannot stand riches. "2
Prosperity can numb us to the spiritual. He can give us a deceptive sense of power. When we get sick we can go to the doctor and get cured. When we are hungry, we can eat something. When we are cold, we can warm ourselves. In short, we can solve most everyday problems ourselves - so we can answer many of our prayers ourselves.
Because many earn their daily bread with relative ease, they may mistakenly believe that they can save themselves. Because of their pride and folly, they believe they could do just fine without a Heavenly Father. They disregard the power that created the universe and the Lord who gave his life to live.
In the Doctrine and Covenants we are warned about these idolaters of our time: "They do not seek the Lord to establish his righteousness, but each walk in his own way and in the image of his own God, whose image is like that of the world." D&C 1:16.)
Those who worship the worldly will one day cry out to their riches and implore them to save them. Then he will find that his god is cold and how far he has strayed from the right path.
Charity is essential
Another reason our prayers make little difference is that we don't care for those around us in need. The Book of Mormon states: “If you ... reject the needy and the naked, and do not visit the sick and afflicted and share what you have with the needy, if you have, I tell you, if you do not, see so your prayers are useless and do not earn you anything ”(Alma 34:28).
The willingness to alleviate the distress of others has always been the standard for a disciple of Christ. Indeed, the Savior taught that our salvation literally depends on our compassion for others (see Matthew 25: 31–46). When we turn our backs on the poor and needy, can we still expect Heavenly Father to be merciful to us? The way we treat people in need, Heavenly Father will deal with us when we need His help.
A pattern for prayer
In Psalm 37, David is inspired to show us what to do when we pray purposefully and practice our faith. It is a gradual process that can serve as a pattern for us as we strive to have greater faith and pray to be heard.
The first step is not to get excited (see v. 1). That means we shouldn't worry or brood. First we have to stop worrying about it. If we agonize over tomorrow, we make ourselves miserable today. Righteous concern can help us take the right action, but worrying about something we have no control over can paralyze us and lose motivation.
Instead, focus on what you can do and leave the worry to Heavenly Father. When you are in harmony with him in heart, he will take care of your worries and fears. We have to learn not to get excited.
The second step is to trust in the Lord (see v. 3). Why should we trust him? Because he loves us and is our all-wise Father in heaven. He is the source of all good gifts. He knows us and wants us to be happy and successful and to return to him. God is in heaven. He is perfect. He loves us.
I remember the number of times my mother entrusted Heavenly Father with my safety. I was a quarterback on the East High School football team in Salt Lake City and a running back at the University of Utah. I'm sure my mother kept praying for my safety all along. She trusted in Heavenly Father and trusted him to keep me from dangerous injuries during the game. Although I had enough bumps and bruises, I was never seriously injured.
I guess my mom sighed with relief when I told her I wouldn't be playing football for a while. I met with my bishop, Marion G. Romney, whom I loved and told him I wanted to serve a mission. But the short time in which my mother didn't have to worry ended suddenly when I was called to the German-Austrian Mission. Three months after my arrival in Salzburg, our mission was renamed the Swiss-Austrian Mission.
That was in 1937. I arrived in Salzburg exactly at the time when Adolf Hitler was gathering 300,000 soldiers at the border to invade Austria and incorporate it into the German Reich.
In the mornings and evenings, my parents called the family together for prayer, on their knees to plead for my safety. I know that I felt the influence of these prayers. I trusted Heavenly Father to hear my family's prayers, and in my own prayers I expressed my trust that He would protect my life.
I was transferred to Switzerland a month before Hitler invaded Austria. I have a testimony that our prayers have been answered.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not rely on your own wisdom,” says the scriptures. "Seek to know him in all your ways, and he himself will pave your paths" (Proverbs 3: 5,6.)
Step number three is to do good (see Psalm 37: 3). We do good because we are disciples of Christ and because we belong to his church. We do good because we have made solemn covenants to be a light to the world. Heavenly Father wants our actions to bear living testimony to our words. When we do good, the Lord can acknowledge our efforts.
This does not mean that we must never make mistakes, for “all have sinned and have lost the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Lord requires us to seek Him with humility, to repent of our sins and relentlessly ours Giving the best. When we make mistakes, we need to learn from them and make an effort not to repeat them. As we do this, we become more and more like Christ and more and more men and women of God.
When a gap arises between what we do and what we profess, our prayers lose power. When we do good, the Lord can use us as tools and reward our efforts.
Fourth, we must rejoice deeply in the Lord (see Psalm 37: 4). What a wonderful doctrine! Instead of worrying or grumbling about our prayers not being answered, we should rejoice in the Lord. Be grateful. Be happy. Rest assured that the Lord will fulfill all of your righteous desires on His schedule - sometimes in ways we guessed and sometimes in ways we could never have foreseen. Surely this is a wonderful recipe for joy and inner peace!
In the fifth step, we must surrender our way to the Lord (see v. 5). Whatever your concerns, make commitments to keep the Lord's commandments. Brothers, honor the priesthood you hold. Sisters, do not deviate from the principles of light and truth.
The sixth step is to wait in the Lord (see v. 7). Sometimes we find it extremely difficult to just wait. The Lord has his own schedule. The time he has determined is always the right one, even if it means disappointment for us at first. When we wait in the Lord, we enable Him to do His will for us, on His schedule and in His way.
Prayer is a source of light
When we commune with the Father in humble prayer, we feel the Holy Spirit gently penetrate our hearts. The Lord tells us: “What is of God is light; and he who receives light and abides in God receives more light; and that light will be brighter and brighter until the perfect day ”(D&C 50:24).
Those who live without this light always struggle with unbelief. He cannot understand what is of God because he has little spiritual light. On the other hand, when our insides are filled with light, some things that we did not understand before become increasingly clear to us.
You will remember the darkness and light that Joseph Smith experienced in the holy forest. President Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901) reported one of his own experiences:
“About two or three weeks after I was baptized ... I began to worry that I wasn't doing this yet Knowledge had found the work to be true ... and was extremely concerned about it. I put my books aside and went out of the house to wander through the fields with a feeling of utter desolation. An indescribable darkness seemed to envelop me. I had got into the habit of retiring to a forest near my home for personal prayer at the end of the day, but that evening I lacked the need to do so. The spirit of prayer had left me and heaven seemed to have closed to me. When it came time for my personal prayer to come, I finally decided not to break my habit and, as usual, knelt in the secluded spot where I called on God every night for the sake of form. But the usual feeling didn't want to set in.
No sooner had I opened my mouth in an effort to pray than I heard what sounded like the rustle of silk robes right above my head. Immediately afterwards the Spirit of God came down on me and enveloped me completely; it penetrated me from head to toe - what joy and bliss! This instantaneous transition from a feeling of dense spiritual and spiritual darkness to bright light and radiant knowledge, as it took place in me at that moment, cannot be put into words. I received assurance that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that the holy priesthood and gospel have been restored to their fulness. ...
When I went to bed that evening, I received the same glorious rally again, as I did on several subsequent evenings. The beautiful memory of these wonderful experiences has allowed me to relive everything again and again and is a source of inspiration that permeates my whole being. It will certainly accompany me in this way until the end of my earth life. "3
My brothers and sisters, anyone who comes before the Eternal Father with a repentant heart and contrite spirit can have spiritual experiences.One of our tasks here on earth is to drive out the darkness and to fill our innermost being with the light of the Holy Spirit.
Blessings open to everyone
The rich blessings that can be received through prayer are open to everyone. The poor have just as much a right to it as the rich. The movie star has no advantage over the worker. We all have an equal chance to approach the throne of our heavenly King.
The Savior promises: “I stand at the door and knock. Whoever hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter and we will have a meal, I with him and he with me ”(Revelation 3:20.)
When we approach Heavenly Father in the name of Christ, we open the windows of heaven and can receive truth, light and knowledge.
Prayer is the gateway through which we enter our path as disciples of the Heavenly and Eternal. As long as we know how to pray, we are not alone.
I honestly want members of the Church to examine themselves critically through their prayers. I pray that we will always raise our voices to Heavenly Father and thereby fill our insides with heavenly light.
From a devotional address at Brigham Young University in Provo on January 21, 2003.
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