prayer

Christ -I am come

“Image used with permission from Greg Olsen Art Publishing, Inc.”, www.gregolsen.com 208-888-2585

When I was a kid, one of the most abhorrent methods of punishment was to be sent to our knees. Not allowed to speak, facing a wall or a corner, kneeling, back straight with hands clasped behind us we would remain ‘forgotten’ at times for hours. I don’t recall for how long, or even that sometimes we missed meal times. When I am reminded by certain dear siblings, those memories vaguely return.

I do remember well the agony, feeling very faint and lightheaded. One of my sisters with a phenomenal memory recalls passing the time by imagining clouds, animals and such in the patterns on the wall. She remembers times feeling like she almost passed out, even hallucinating. I mention this to give you an idea, that while I cannot quote how many hours at a time…it truly was a long time for children to remain rooted and unmoving.

It always amazed me that my sisters remained kneeling in the correct posture for a very much longer period than I was able to do. I couldn’t understand how it was possible that they were able to endure so much longer than me. After only a few moments, I would begin to feel sharp pains shoot through my bones. Soon I’d lift each leg in turn to relieve the torment.

Eventually though, we all would succumb to sitting back on our legs for some relief hoping that we would not get caught. If we were found out, that would be for the worse. When we finally were liberated, it would take us some moments after we stood up to be able to walk, stiff legged and sore, with deep grooves in our reddened knees imprinted from the wooden floor patterns.

And we were good kids! I’ve no idea where this idea for discipline originated, but I am pretty sure ‘hours’ were not supposed to be included in this method for such tiny souls whose worse transgression was the mishap of quarreling and ‘not getting along’.

The same malady that had affected me as a child was a challenge whenever I knelt in prayer. Instead of speaking with my Heavenly Father, all I could focus on was the pain I was experiencing.

One of my most embarrassing moments was kneeling in my chiropractor’s office one day. Why would it be embarrassing to kneel in his office? I’m not sure, unless it brought back a measure of the feelings I’d experienced as a child cowering before a parent, mute, humiliated, hopelessly angry and feeling unloved.

Several months before, I had mentioned my challenge and asked for this good man’s help. He had attempted adjustments several times and I was beginning to wonder if there was ever going to be a change for the better. This time, he thought he had succeeded and so when he was done I promptly kneeled to test out my knees. No pain.

It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” Phillippians 2:13

Why would I persevere? I could have just accepted this limitation, couldn’t I? Praying in other positions is surely acceptable. The deep desire to address Heavenly Father on my knees began somewhere deep within my heart. I don’t fully know how or why.

I believe that He may well have given me that yearning so that I eventually could humbly bow before Him with confidence and pleasure-a very long way from my childhood experiences.

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” Phillippians 2:10

I’ve never felt such deep love, approval, peace and joy in all my life. I’ve never cried so deeply as when I’m on my knees before the Almighty. Not in physical pain. But with cleansing of the heart and soul my wounded spirit was healed. For me, I do not know that I would have received the healing, love and peace that I needed in any other way.

“He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross”  Phillippians 2:8

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane
“Image used with permission from Greg Olsen Art Publishing, Inc.”, www.gregolsen.com 208-888-2585

There is a tremendous price for the blessings we receive. That’s the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Christ has paid for our abundance with His life.

We may choose to humbly bow with faith and gratitude today. Or we may procrastinate until we meet Him face to face, speechless, and with great remorse fall on our knees–at the Savior’s feet.

 

How important do you feel kneeling in prayer to be? Do you feel there is a difference? What has been your experience?

 

 

faithI had a brief chat recently, with someone that loves just about everything about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, while rejecting the truth of the restored gospel. “All you need do is kneel in prayer and ask Heavenly Father whether this is the true church”, said I.

The response, “But I don’t believe all that other stuff”, meaning our controvertible history, questionable to the outside world, but truth and glory to the LDS heart.

I accused my chum of having the very little faith necessary, to not even consider approaching God in humble prayer, trusting Him to respond as He has promised each of His children. This episode along with ongoing thoughts and desires has me pondering the meaning of faith.

Not at all am I an expert. I am aware of the breadth of this topic and do not even promise to make a dent in its meaning.

Faith. This small word carries the weight of potential huge impact on the lives of mortals and is especially meaningful for our eternal destiny.

When you hear the word faith what comes to your mind? Today, I’d like to share one way I see it.

Picture a ruler.  Let’s make it a scale of one to ten. And let’s begin at where the majority of humankind seems to be. Now, please do remember, this is faith according to Lily…it is not gospel! It’s one concept to ponder in our spare time. 🙂

Where would you say the majority of people fit on a scale of faith? Where are you on this scale?

For fun here is my scale:

1.  Never having heard the gospel, still, most folks believe in something, -science, evolution, philosophies, etc-we’ll give them a one. “Live and let live” is their motto.

“By faith the harlot Rehab perished not with them that believed not” Hebrews 11:31

2.  These believe in Jesus Christ. Might not attend or associate with any church, but they do know of Him.

3.  These believe in Jesus Christ, are members of some church but do not know or follow all of His commandments. They have faith, but do they believe Him and all His words? Do they seek to know more from Him? Do they expect to hear from Him?

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

4.  Let’s place believers of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the gift of the Holy Ghost  and members of the true gospel at this level.

“By faith Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter…choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season…esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt…by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king” Hebrews 11:24-27

5.  These are members of the true gospel. However obeying commandments is not high on their list of priorities.

“Through faith (Moses) kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them” Hebrews 11:28

6.  These people believe the true gospel and live to obey the commandments of the Lord.

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down” Hebrews 11:30

7.  Attention to prayer, communication with God and a relationship with Christ is important to this group.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts”        Hebrews 11:4

8.  These diligently seek God. Desire to hear from Him. Sacrifice and serve when called upon. They are tested and face trials with His divine help.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went…For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:8-11

9.  These faithful follow directions and build an ark. That is, they have enough faith to accept their God given assignment.

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet…prepared an ark to the saving of his house” Hebrews 11:7

10.  These champions offer up all that they have.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…his only begotten son” Hebrews 11:17

The following inspiring thoughts are written by Michael T. Ringwood of the Seventy in January’s Ensign, page 56 :

“Let’s look at Joseph Smith as an example of faith and of demonstrating the particles of desire, belief, and hope.

Joseph wanted to find the true Church of Jesus Christ. His desire was so strong that it led him to the scriptures, where he read, “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5) He thought about this scripture. He desired to have wisdom, and he believed that he would receive it if he asked God. He did the only logical thing: he prayed and asked God.

Now think about this for a minute. Joseph had the desire to know the truth. He believed the words of James. He hoped for an answer. But if he had stopped there, we would not be here today. Exercising faith meant he had to enter the grove and pray.

I believe that when Joseph went into the grove to pray, he expected to walk out with an answer. He might not have expected to see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but he did expect an answer. What a great example of faith! He had desire, he believed, he hoped and he took action.

The faith of a 14 year old boy changed the world. Because of Joseph’s prayer in the Sacred Grove, the heavens were opened and God spoke again …”

 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1

So…what do you think of my list? Missing anything?

When you hear the word ‘faith’ what comes to your mind?

What does ‘faith’ look like in your life?

 

What can we do when we desire to receive personal revelation yet it does not come?

For several months I had been carrying on about being too busy. Bemoaning that I must cut something out of my week, my mind went in circles not able to figure out what that could be. I’d been praying for guidance so that my life would become balanced. For quite some time.

Afterwards I knew that I had not recognized immediately the answer that I’d been given. That answer -that I never would have thought to entertain- was to reduce my temple attendance.

You may understand why I resisted and did not receive this suggestion right away. The temple is where I get away from it all. It is quiet. There is peace. There is reverence there for the Lord and His work that I treasure. What activity can possibly have more import in life?

Very slowly the answer became apparent to me. Indeed I was greatly comforted by the Lord when He confirmed that my direction was correct. As soon as I had stated my intention to those people affected by my decision, those dear friends- some inconvenienced, expressed their delight at the change. I hope I wasn’t that much of a bear! 🙂

A huge weight lifted and I began to feel more energetic right away. This astounded me. I wondered why. I would not begin my new schedule for another two weeks, yet I felt differently.

I began to recognize that even though I was fitting the highest choice into my week that did not necessarily mean that it was the best one for me at this time. By letting go I brought balance into my life. And that has made the difference. Big lesson received.

 

 

What can we do when inspiration does not come right away?

Have you ever fasted and prayed and wondered whether you have been heard?

 

Here are some ideas:

  • We may have already been given an answer, but it is not what we expect or hope for.

If we insist on what we want, we may be closing off the Spirit’s communication. (I didn’t mean to be insisting on my own way, but that is what was happening.)

  • Be patient and continue waiting faithfully on the Lord.

We’re all familiar with this one. God does answer in His time. Practicing patience helps us grow spiritually and develop aspects of godliness.

  • Increase our efforts to be in tune spiritually

That we may be receptive and recognize when the Spirit is whispering to us.

  • Increase our efforts of scripture reading, study and prayer.

Perhaps we’ve not done this as long, or as faithfully or as honestly as we should.

  • Be more faithful in obeying the commandments

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” Isaiah 59:2

  • Set the matter aside for awhile.

Sometimes when our minds are no longer consumed by the matter, flashes of inspiration come unexpectedly.

“Sometimes you may struggle with a problem and not get an answer. What could be wrong? It may be that you are not doing anything wrong. It may be that you have not done the right things long enough. Remember, you cannot force spiritual things. Sometimes we are confused simply because we won’t take no for an answer…

“Put difficult questions in the back of your minds and go about your lives. Ponder and pray quietly and persistently about them.

“The answer may not come as a lightning bolt. It may come as a little inspiration here and a little there, ‘line upon line, precept upon precept’

“Some answers will come from reading the scriptures, some from hearing speakers. And, occasionally, when it is important, some will come by very direct and powerful inspiration. The promptings will be clear and unmistakable” Boyd K. Packer

I am deeply grateful for many experiences that prove that Heavenly Father is mindful of me. And I know that is true for you. You are not alone or forgotten-ever. He is perfectly mindful of you at all times.

You may have other ideas. We’d be glad to read your comment.