Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February: Prayer

In case you missed it, I made a New Year's resolution to pick one gospel topic each month and study it in depth. January was patience - great, inspiring topic. This month has been just as inspiring. 

1) Parent-child Relationship

The Bible Dictionary has some excellent insight on prayer. 
It states, "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship."

I understand the relationship with my daughter very well. I am usually with her all day and I am never far away at night. I know her intimately. I know what her different sounds and cries mean. I know when she is hungry, tired, or scared. I know what makes her laugh. I also know what is best for her. I know she needs to be buckled in her car seat, and that she needs naps throughout the day. She depends on me for everything

I love that I am able to experience the parent-child relationship from the 'parent' end. It has helped me to understand how dependent I should be on the Lord. The Lord WANTS me and even NEEDS me to ask him for things that I need. He wants to hear how my day was. He wants to hear what I am struggling with. He wants to bless me! Wouldn't a parent want all those things for their child? I just need to remember to to align my will with my Father's will when praying, and not the other way around.

My favorite Mormon Message of all time sums this up PERFECTLY: 

2) The Intercessory Prayer

One of my favorite study points this month was John 17, when Christ offers the great Intercessory Prayer. To give you some context, our Savior was just hours, if not minutes, away from enduring the most excruciating and important event to ever occur in all of history. I was very impressed with the content of his prayer. My main takeaways:

Christ knows what he is about to endure, and almost none of this prayer is about HIM. It’s about others.
He prays for his disciples – not to completely take away their trials, but to help strengthen them and keep the evil from them.
He prays for everyone else, even those who are not doing what is right. I see in this chapter the love that he has for everyone. I can see here how he is going to be our advocate with the Father.
He wants everyone to know how much the Father loves us. He mentions how he has preached that love and tried to pass it on. 
The apostles were probably with him during this prayer? I think that is important because they physically were able to hear him pleading with the father on their behalf. They heard how much he loved them and wanted them to continue his work when he was gone.

3) Praying for Others

3 Nephi 12:44 & Luke 6:28 –“… pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.” Christ was the ultimate example of this, when he was on the cross and asking the Father to FORGIVE his perpetrators. 

I often pray for my family and friends, but how often do I pray for those that I don't get along or agree with? Not only that, the scripture says to pray for those who purposely make your life harder! YIKES! Help me find the strength because the last time I was mad at someone, it was NOT my first inclination to pray for them. I am making an extra effort to do this. 

4) Prayer, Work, & Agency

I read tons of amazing talks on prayer. If I could recommend just two talks that stuck out to me, they would be:

“It is not, never has been, and never will be the design and purpose of the Lord—however much we seek him in prayer—to answer all our problems and concerns without struggle and effort on our part.” -McConkie

“Little children, young people, and adults alike, please believe how very much your loving Heavenly Father wants to bless you. But because He will not infringe upon our agency, we must ask for His help. This is generally done through prayer. Prayer is one of the most precious gifts of God to man.” -Cornish

The Lord can't interfere with my agency, but he DOES want to bless me. I need to ask, and then go out and WORK. (Example- I shouldn't pray to ace a test I didn't study for). My favorite thing though is despite all of this, our Savior will ALWAYS love me, and NEVER leave me stranded. It doesn't mean that if I don't ask he is never going to bless me. In fact, some of the greatest blessings in my life have come with no prompting or asking from me. The Lord just wants me to reach out to him through prayer to offer even more blessings. 

March: Individual Worth 

Final note: (If you made it this far... haha) I realize most people reading this are members of my faith, BUT if you happen to not be a member of the LDS church and you have any questions about anything, feel free to reach out. :)

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