Pray Always pt. 1

10Apr07


In this last conference, Elder Richard G. Scott gave one of the best talks on prayer that I have heard in a long time. It was not complicated, nor did it shed any new insight on the subject, but was a powerful reminder that part of true discipleship means praying often.

Unfortunately, prayer has not been one of my strong areas. I can recall exactly when the problem with praying began.

While serving as a missionary in Auburn California, the work had come to a complete stop. It was easy to fill our days with tracting, checking up on media referrals, and other things, but the evenings presented a problem. We could not find anything to do. The members of the ward were not particularly receptive to us, and dropping in on people much after 8pm uninvited I felt was just rude. So there we were, left with nothing to do and feeling guilty about it (Unfortunately guilt was used as a motivator on my mission).

I was talking to the missionary I was serving with at the time about how important I felt it was to fill our evenings with appointments and to be productive. He responded that we should pray about it. I don’t know what came over me. I snapped, “Elder, if anything is going to happen, it is because we make it happen”. And from that point on, I became very much a self-determinist. Good things happen, because people make them happen.

My mistake was that I gone over to the extreme. Instead of combining prayer with concerted effort, I decided to go it alone. I felt that if people were going to get baptized, it was because we found, taught, and committed them, success or failure depended completely on us.

This stayed with me for a long time; Too long.

Now one should come away thinking that I did not pray at all. That would be inaccurate. I did not pray as often or as fervently as I should. But yet there was always a quiet whispering saying, “Chris, you need to pray”.

My attempts at becoming someone who engaged in what the scriptures called mighty prayer were always short lived. When something is not part of your life, partly because you doubt its’ efficacy, it is very hard not only to make it a habit, but something that you do because you think it will help. In other words, if you don’t see a real need for doing something, you will most likely expend little to no effort to do it. That was me.

But now I realize how much I have been missing because I did not pray as I should. I wonder how many blessings have been held back because I was unwilling to do as the scriptures command to pray always? I wonder how many decisions would I have made differently and experienced better results, if instead of going forward with engines on full, if I would have consulted the Lord if what I was doing was right? I wonder how much more of the Saviors love and how much more the Spirit would have been with me I had made the effort to pray with faith?

So now I am in process of repenting, changing my thoughts and behaviors to conform standard that God has set for prayer. And so far, from what I have experienced, my desire to pray has greatly increased. It is like I have found something that was missing and feel more complete then ever before.

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