Sunday, September 25, 2011

Anybody Can Pray, Anywhere and Anytime: Simple Instructions for Prayer

This I share because it has been of great help to me. Prayer is my time with God, in it I find peace, rest and comfort when life gets overwhelming.

You can pray anywhere and at any time. You don't need a prayerbook, you don't have to choose from a selection of pre-made prayers and you don't have to wait for a special time of day before you can pray. But, you must be sincere--simply saying prayers is quite a different thing from engaging in meaningful prayer, counseling with the Lord in all our doings.

Your prayer is yours and you decide what to pray about. You may pray out loud in your own privacy, any other appropriate situation or quietly in your own mind while in the middle of crowds of people, if that is what your situation demands and all it allows. While quiet, private solitude may allow the ultimate conditions for contemplative and reflective prayer, these are not the only conditions suitable for prayer. Where you are when you need to pray, is where you pray and no one else needs to know.

Acquainting ourselves a little with God's thinking by reading up on God's past dealings with other people before praying, may not only prepare a state of mind more ready for prayer but also help us get to know who we are addressing when praying. If God is a complete stranger to us and we are mostly unfamiliar with his past (as described in the scriptures) it might prove a little more difficult to get close to Him in prayer.

The New Testament, Ephesians, Chapter 3, verses 14 to 21
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

The Book of Mormon, Jacob, Chapter 4, verses 7 to 11
Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.

Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.

For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?

Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.

Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.

In verse ten it states "seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand," I see a great potential in gaining a better understanding of how to approach God in prayer. Prayer is not, and will never be a license to command, demand or order God to act on our whims. 

When we are in need of God's help and strength in our lives it's time to plead in heartfelt prayer that He may hear and answer our prayers, offered up in sincere humility and reverence, showing that we recognize God and His son Jesus Christ's position in our lives.

Four Simple Steps of Prayer
Prayer is never more complicated than we ourselves make it out to be. Beyond a few simple basics you decide the content of your prayer.
  1. We first must address God in our prayer, in humility and respect. That is to say, we seek God, our Father in Heaven or Our Heavenly Father to hear our prayer. There are many ways to address God respectfully, we merely have to choose one.
  2. Express your gratitude. This is a way to recognize God's hand in your life, giving Him credit for all that you appreciate. Give thanks to God, also for the things that you think to have done all by yourself! Could you have done anything, unless God had blessed you with the necessary talent and ability?
  3. You can at this point bring up issues that might be causing you difficulty or confusion, if after you have done all you can do are in need of His help or strength sorting it out. This is also a good opportunity to admit to your wrongs and ask for God's forgiveness. 
  4. Jesus Christ is our mediator with God. He has payed the price and when addressing God it must be done in the name of Jesus Christ, ending with an Amen.

The New Testament, James, Chapter 1, verses 5 and 6
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Doctrine and Covenants, Section 9, verses 7 to 9
Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.

To pray can sometimes be a personal challenge. There are times when we might benefit greatly from prayer but are overwhelmed with the feelings and thoughts of a difficult predicament. We might feel angered by the injustice of such a situation and it might even seem as if everything has gone wrong. 

A prayer can change things around when everything looks impossible. Focusing on the bits in life that has not gone wrong can help change our focus and discover the many reasons for gratitude on our lives--and then maybe find enough peace within ourselves for sincere and focused prayer. 

To remove focus from the problems that overwhelm us, pray for others with real intent and a sincere heart. Pray that you'll succeed in your discovery of prayer and know that my prayers are with you.

Book of Mormon Missionaries Then and Now

Why do young people all over over the world give up two years of their lives to do missionary work? Perhaps some of the reasons might be found in reading about missionaries in the Book of Mormon:

The Book of Mormon, Jacob, chapter 1, verse 19:
And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

An example of missionaries in The Book of Mormon:

The Book of Mormon, Alma, chapter 26, verse 29:
And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.

Listening to the Spirit is also important on the bad days:

The Book of Mormon, Alma, chapter 26, verse 27:
Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.

... and this is what makes it all worth while:

The Book of Mormon, Alma, chapter 26, verse 30 - 31:
30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.

Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.

Young and old, Brothers and Sisters all over the world go and serve on missions, not because they have to and not because anybody makes them. They go because their message is real, they know the required process for spiritual change and they have seen it work. These missionaries bring the same message that changed their own lives for the better. To see that change and the happiness it brings into people's lives is only a small part of the motivation behind a good missionary. It becomes a duty with the understanding that responsibility is not about yourself but others!

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