Monday, September 23, 2013

Prayer: Generates Understanding

Our congregation had a conference where we were challenged to read and understand more about prayer. I was able to include this challenge into my Happiness Project. I love the idea of topical religious studies. In the past, I haven't done very well sticking to one topic. I am grateful for the inspiration of our ecclesiastical leader who gave us this challenge, as it is particularly something I struggle constantly to understand.

Elder Scott: Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer

The following are quotes from the talk mentioned above.

I wonder if we can ever really fathom the immense power of prayer until we encounter an overpowering, urgent problem and realize that we are powerless to resolve it. Then we will turn to our Father in humble recognition of our total dependence on Him."

How Prayers are Answered

I have discovered that what sometimes seems an impenetrable barrier to communication is a giant step to be taken in trust. Seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time, in packets, so that you will grow in capacity. As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer. That pattern requires you to exercise faith in our Father’s capacity to respond. While sometimes it’s very hard, it results in significant personal growth. 

It is so hard when sincere prayer about something you desire very much is not answered the way you want. It is difficult to understand why your exercise of deep and sincere faith from an obedient life does not grant the desired result. The Savior taught, “Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you. 4 At times it is difficult to recognize what is best or expedient for you over time. Your life will be easier when you accept that what God does in your life is for your eternal good.

Elder Bednar: Ask in Faith

The following are quotes from the talk mentioned above.  
I long have been impressed with the truth that meaningful prayer requires both holy communication and consecrated work. Blessings require some effort on our part before we can obtain them, and prayer, as “a form of work, … is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer,” 753). We press forward and persevere in the consecrated work of prayer, after we say “amen,” by acting upon the things we have expressed to Heavenly Father.

Asking in faith requires honesty, effort, commitment, and persistence.

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer,” 752–53). Humble, earnest, and persistent prayer enables us to recognize and align ourselves with the will of our Heavenly Father. And in this the Savior provided the perfect example as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. … And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:42, 44).

The object of our prayers should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing. Every sincere prayer is heard and answered by our Heavenly Father, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate.

The Ministry of Business: How Correct Principles Magnify Business Success by Steve A. Hitz (author), James W. Ritchie (contributor) discusses the Cycle of Divine Guidance. It demonstrates a loop with these key attributes:
  1. Trust your inner voice, come what may: the spiritual promptings of personal revelation should not fade in time
  2. Have faith to act with urgency: keep moving forward with faith
  3. Be at peace with heaven's timing: even if it is hard, know that you are following God's will and God's timing
  4. Live well: live according to your personal standards and honor your covenants with God
My Takeaways
  • Prayer is something I need to be close to Heavenly Father
  • Prayer helps me understand, and guides me through those dark/unknown places
  • Prayer coupled with scripture study enlightens the mind and makes room for revelation
  • Prayer is two way communication, and I need to be in tune in order to hear Him
  • Prayer gives me the opportunity to plead and to be put right in what the Lord has in store for me
  • Even though God knows all, it is important for us to make Him aware of everything so he can enlighten us because we CHOOSE to involve Him
  • Prayer will help me understand timing
  • Prayer allows me to have an intimate relationship with Heavenly Father, which makes me happy

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