Saturday, June 15, 2013

Prayer

Ok this is getting really personal, but i feel like this is where i want to share this experience. I struggle with prayer - with remembering to pray, with having a desire to pray, with seeking comfort through prayer. With all we've been going through with baby, i could have found great solace in prayer, but i haven't. I have a strong belief or testimony in the power of prayer, in the reality of that communication between us and God. I really do. I could teach a lesson on it at church, give a talk about it if asked (which i probably will be because i agreed today to speak in 2 weeks, but the bishop will call back with the topic), but I have felt for a long time like i fail at actually doing it - actually praying. Tonight our basement is very quiet - just me and the baby. Nathan and the boys are in the tent in the backyard, and have been asleep for hours now. Before getting in bed, i felt compelled to get on my knees and pray, which i honestly don't do often. I wish i did... Anyway, i thanked God for a few things and asked for a few things, but one thing felt like it was maybe life-changing. Time will tell, but it feels that way tonight. I prayed fervently (a kind of extreme word, but fitting) for a desire to pray. I know God can help me with that - i have great faith that He can. I prayed for that and then that He could help me to know that this isn't a personal failing, and then BAM! Those words, with love and power and great emotion ran over and over in my mind until i started to cry. It isn't a personal failing. It ISN'T a personal failing. IT ISN'T A PERSONAL FAILING. God never sends us guilt. We may suffer consequences of things we do, but He doesn't ever fill us with guilt - that is fully our own or the adversary's doing. The Screwtape Letters ring very true to me at times like this. I have a solid faith and testimony about many things - most all of the things i profess to believe have stood unwavering since i came to believe them, but i always think, "But I suck at prayer." Would my Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ EVER say something like that? No. Would any loving follower of Christ? No. Or probly pretty much anyone, no matter their thoughts on prayer. Prayer does not change God's mind. He doesn't NEED to hear it - or even need us to do it. It makes our lives more peaceful, helps us navigate, and helps us lose ourselves and think of others. It is not a competition or a skill on some rubric. God knows our hearts, but WE don't always. Prayer helps us to know our hearts. It opens us up to divine communication, to joy, to peace, to comfort, and my life is less without it. But I (since i is already usually capital, it is hard to emphasize, but read that "I" with great emphasis) am not less without it. No one is. But it helps. Prayer is a gift and a blessing. A commandment in a way - Christ told us to pray always, and how to pray, but not praying is certainly not a sin. It is just harder, maybe less hopeful or less joyful, to go through life without it. That is where I am at. I don't know who all i just shared this with, but any thoughts you have would help and strengthen me. Lots of love in my heart right now.

7 comments:

Frank and Evelyn said...

What a beautiful, spiritual experience you have shared. Thank you so much. Prayer is something many of us need to work on, especially me. It's one of those things that can always improve. You have given us a wonderful sermon.

Mindy said...

You posted this so I could read it. If you are asked to speak on prayer, I hope you use some of this post in it. The way you worded some things made it very personal - not just for you, but for those reading it. Thank you.

Mandapanda said...

You know what is awesome? I DO have a desire to pray now...i really do. Such a wonderful and welcome feeling.

SDL said...

I'm a latecomer to this post, but wanted to let you know I appreciate your insights about how prayer works. You said: "God knows our hearts, but WE don't always. Prayer helps us to know our hearts." That is so true, and not something I had really thought of before. I also agree 100% that feelings of guilt are not from God.

Sierra said...

Just want to throw this out there for those that don't get around to "formal" praying (on knees, hands folded reverently, etc.). I often just have thoughts going through my head to God throughout the day. I don't begin and end so much as just toss something out there for Him to hear what I'm thinking about. It's more like talking to my family when we're all together at home, but doing our own things. So I'll just comment in passing to one of them. Not a full conversation, but a thought. Does that make sense?

Mandapanda said...

Thanks, Shonee and Sierra, for your thoughts! And Evelyn and Mindy, too, for that matter. Sierra - that is a really neat way to think about your relationship with God - He is always listening...somehow...and having a prayerful attitude...an ongoing though intermittent dialogue with Him, well, to me it shows how close you are to the Spirit. That's cool. I often pray when I drive by myself - I like those quiet moments.

The Dahlins said...

Thank you Amanda for posting this! I love every word that you wrote. Thank you for sharing your feelings about this subject because I too have had very similar feeling about praying. Thank you for sharing your inspiration!