Sunday, September 4, 2011

What we believe: Prayer

Tony says: 

Prayer is difficult. Not that saying a prayer is hard. Anyone can say the words of a prayer. But to truly pray is a challenge. To know what to pray for is a challenge. To pray with faith is a challenge. To have confidence in getting answers is a challenge. I have found that my concerns day-to-day don't tend to change much. And that makes avoiding repetition a challenge.

Despite the challenges, or perhaps because of them, prayer is very important to me. I have found that some kinds of prayers get answered more readily than others. Prayers for others. Prayers for truth. Prayers to know how to serve better. Prayers for our children.

The number one prayer that God is willing to answer for us is when we ask what to pray for. There are blessings we could receive if only we would ask. And if God lets us know by His Spirit what we should pray for, then we will automatically have confidence and faith in that prayer being answered.

I go to God most readily when I have great need. But I have found that I must reach out to others in need or my prayer is useless. How can I ask for help from God if I'm unwilling to help others? I have never had much money, but not every need others have is financial. So time or companionship or physical labor are all ways I try to serve others. When I serve others, I help God answer their prayers. Then my prayers become more meaningful and are answered more clearly and quickly.

Jer Lin says:

Do you ever feel like no one's listening?  Or if they are, that they just don't understand?

I think everyone feels this way at some point in their life.  Unfortunately, we forget that there is always someone listening and that He always understands.  We are children of God.  He loves us and is concerned for us.

I think it is wonderful that the Savior understands all.  He experienced it all.  He understood what it felt like to be alone when He was on the cross and said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).  Perhaps He felt like no one was listening, even as He cried out in prayer, but God was listening.  He could have caused Christ's suffering to stop, but He had a greater plan.  Sometimes when it seems like God isn't answering our prayers, it is because He has a greater plan for us.

I have come to know my Heavenly Father through prayer. When I pray to Him, I feel as though he is listening to me and not just superficially, but eagerly! He, in turn, responds to me through the feelings of my heart. I feel peace and love and understanding when I pray to my Father in Heaven.

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