Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Don't Know What Words to Say...

My husband and I have received a new calling to teach the 9 and 10 year olds in our ward. They are such awesome kids!! I can't believe how smart they are, albeit rambunctious. I've gotten to know them pretty well and some of their stories have really broken my heart, especially how many of them have gone through or are going through their parents' divorce. Last week, at the end of class, we asked for volunteers to say the closing prayer and one of the boys said, "I would but I don't know what words to say." And I realized that he had never been taught how to pray. And it broke my heart. And so, today, we are teaching our class how to pray (in English AND Spanish, wahoo!) and I thought of some points about prayer I would like to share with this blog that have really helped me.

A woman named Mary Jane Woodger wrote an article in the New Era a few years ago called, "What I Have Learned About Mighty Prayer." It's suggestions can be used to teach a Family Home Evening. I put the main points from the article on a post-it note and stuck it on the wall next to my bed where I would see it every night before I prayed.
  1. Prepare for prayer
  2. Remember that God loves you
  3. Express sincere gratitude
  4. Pray fervently
  5. Pray in specifics
  6. Pray aloud
There have been times when just be preparing myself for prayer I have been brought to tears over how much God loved me and all the things I had to be grateful for.

If you have a copy of Preach My Gospel, before you kneel down for prayer, review pages 94-95. It gives some amazing pointers of how to get the most out of prayer. In my mission we had to review these pages every night while saying the end-of-the-day-companion prayer. It sometimes took forever to go through all of it, but I know that those were the most complete and helpful prayers I have ever prayed. Of course, it's geared towards missionaries, but it can be easily modified to fit anyone's prayers.

And lastly, the final part of prayer is receiving the answers to the questions we have asked. I have heard counsel stating that remaining on our knees and allowing the Spirit to speak to us through thoughts and impressions will often be the way we get those answers, or, my favorite GenCon quote, "We speak to the Lord in prayer, he speaks to us through the scriptures." As far as interpreting those answers, I recommend a talk by Richard G. Scott titled "Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer." It goes over the ways we receive answers and what we can do to follow them. In closing, I want to leave with a quote from the talk:

"It is vitally important to recognize that the Lord also responds a third way to prayer by withholding an answer when the prayer is offered. Why would He do that?

He is our perfect Father. He loves us beyond our capacity to understand. He knows what is best for us. He sees the end from the beginning. He wants us to act to gain needed experience:

When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.

When He answers no, it is to prevent error.

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."

1 comment:

  1. How beautiful! Thanks for sharing the preach my gospel pages to read before prayer. I will definitely try that, as my prayers have been really needing some help.

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