These are notes from the class, “Meaningful Prayer: Holy Communication + Consecrated Work,” taught by Renee Wood and C. Robert Line. It was based on this talk by Elder David A. Bednar, which I’d still like to go back and read. As a preface, I really liked this class. Thought I’d throw that out there in case it encourages you to actually read on.
Part 1: Sister Wood
- Prayer became critical after Adam and Eve left the garden– a lifeline, complete and total dependance.
- Prayer OPENS the door. Why deal with life alone? Pray in specifics– as if He’s right there. He is.
- We must commit to prayer. D&C 88:63– “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
- Sis. Wood told stories from her life and how prayer had been essential. She had some major challenges: a sudden, unexpected divorce after 18 1/2 years of marriage, a son who became wayward and lost spiritually, a sister with recurring cancer, etc. At one point she described her feelings as “I didn’t know someone could hurt so much and still be alive.” Her story moved me and gave me gratitude for my blessings and the Atonement that can swallow up that kind of pain. She testified of how prayer made miracles and healing happen in her life and in her family.
- Just like in Mosiah 24:15, even when the Lord does not take away the trial, He does strengthen our backs to bear them.
- Answers to prayers always require actions.
- The key: Pray with sincerity of heart, listen, accept His will. Our faith will be strengthened.
Part 2: Brother Line
- The prayer of faith requires us to plead and to perform. It is our duty.
- Alma 34:28— “And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.”
- Elder Eyring taught in this talk that we need to couple prayer with scriptures.
- There are three pieces of the combination lock to answered prayer:
- Personal righteousness
- what is “right” for us
All three must be in place for us to receive what it is that we’re asking for. Often 1 &2 are there, but it is not what is “right” for us. Our rejected petitions teach us about our flawless Father.
- In Mere Christianity (p. 101-102), C.S. Lewis stated that sometimes our process of failing and trying again is what we need. It trains our habits of the soul.
This scripture gives us the formula of how to receive answers to our prayers: D&C 9:8-9– “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…”
- Make a decision. (*implied. You have to make a choice first.)
- Ask if it’s right.
- Get an answer:
a. burning in the bosom/ feel that it is right = Yes.
b. stupor of thought/uneasy = No.
c. Neither a. nor b/ Father witholds an answer. = He wants us to gain experience, and act with faith and obedience to revealed principles of truth. GREAT quote by Elder Richard G. Scott:
“When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act.
Most often what we have chosen to do is right. He will confirm the correctness of our choices His way. That confirmation generally comes through packets of help found along the way. We discover them by being spiritually sensitive. They are like notes from a loving Father as evidence of His approval. If, in trust, we begin something which is not right, He will let us know before we have gone too far. We sense that help by recognizing troubled or uneasy feelings.”
- D&C 8:23 teaches us that when something is right, the Lord will let us know in our mind and in our heart. Elder Holland taught that this is like a checks and balances to help us recognize the truth: God teaches in a reasonable and revelatory way.
Anyway, these were some great reminders to me about prayer. Although I pray many times throughout the day in my mind and heart, I need to do more on-my-knees, heart-pouring-out praying. And I loved how he explained God’s pattern for answering (or not answering) prayers. I hope something has been helpful to you, too.
I’ll post up the new GCBC post on Sunday, but then I’ll be noticeably absent for a few days while I’m teaching at EFY next week. Don’t think I decided to hate you if I don’t show up at your blogs for a while as I play catch-up. Have a great weekend.