Thursday, March 27, 2014

2 Nephi 32:8 -- On the Power of Prayer

"And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray."
2 Nephi 32:8

I think that we greatly underestimate the power of prayer.  If we consider Nephi, for instance, the difference between him and his brothers started with prayer.  He was willing to ask, and willing to listen.  Joseph Smith started this way as well.  Prophets *become* prophets through prayer.  They are willing to talk to God, to learn from him, and to continue that communication.
I think we often talk ourselves into thinking that God won't speak to us.  We think that he will only talk to people who are "prophet material" ... but doesn't that sound more like Laman and Lemuel than Nephi? In 1 Nephi 15:8-9, Nephi asks them if they have prayed, and they say that they haven't, because God won't tell them anything like that.  And although God didn't tell them anything, it wasn't because he wasn't willing to.  It is because they weren't willing to consider the possibility, and they didn't ask.  God *will* talk to anyone and help us understand whatever we need to know... but depending on the request, it might not be immediate.  We might have to prepare, or learn other prerequisite knowledge first.  For instance, in the case of prayer, one of the early (and ongoing) lessons is learning how to tell the difference between God's promptings and our own emotion, or between his voice and the meanderings of our own minds.  ... If we don't know that, it doesn't mean give up though.  It just means we have something to pray about. :)  God *wants* to talk to us, and he is more than willing to teach us how.
Sometimes God teaches us things that we're not praying about.  We might want an answer about one thing and feel prompted to learn or do something else.  That doesn't necessarily mean that we won't get an answer, but perhaps we need to remove some distractions from our lives or get our lives more in order before we're ready for that one... and this new prompting is the first step to that.  Whatever God teaches us though... prayer is the path we take to find our way to anything we want to know.
Today, let's remember how powerful prayer is, and that it is available to everyone.  Let's go to the Lord in prayer.  Let's ask for what we need in our lives.  Let's remember to be willing to accept God's will and not demand our own.  Let's counsel with the Lord about who we want to be, and how we can learn to be better.  Let's have the faith to listen and to act on what we learn.  He will help us.

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