Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Psalms 143:6-8 -- On Lifting Up Our Souls to God

"I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee."
Psalms 143:6-8

These verses seem to be a really good example of sincere prayer.  I think too often when we pray we just go through the motions, saying the same things, asking the same things, and unfortunately I think we lose some sincerity and real sense of desire and need when we get into that kind of a rut... and that's when we start to doubt the efficacy of prayer or think that our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling.  I'm not saying it is the only reason we ever think that, but I think often it is because we aren't doing the work that it takes to pray.  Work, you ask?  Yes. :)  Several places in the scriptures prayer is compared to wrestling (Enos 1:2, Alma 8:10), and I think that is because it requires effort.  Just as we talked about love being more than just a teen fantasy level crush, prayer is more than a quick mantra that we rush through in order to get on to other things.  If we aren't sure what to pray about, God can help us with that (3 Nephi 19:24), but we have to provide the desire.  And sometimes that is hard.  Sometimes we aren't at the point where we are willing to accept God's will, and that narrows down the communication channels, because we can't sincerely say that we're okay with God's will being done.  Sometimes we're asking for something and the answer is no, and we can't let it go... so we keep coming back over and over asking for the same thing when we've already gotten an answer.  That can throw a wrench into prayer as well, because we're so focused on that one path that we can't take that we are unable to see the many new paths that God has opened up to us.  Sometimes we need to repent but we don't want to.  Sometimes we are angry with God.  Most of what gets in the way is ourselves.
I think it helps to remember just how much we need God... to remember, or consider, what our lives would be like without him.  I know, for me, his guidance and love are the only things that have gotten me through some tough times.  I never want to lose that... and yet, still, sometimes I find myself praying without that real sincerity, making only cursory contact and not really sitting down with God for a heart-to-heart. :)  Just like with any friend, it's so easy to lose contact... but in this case, losing contact with the spirit can really change any day for the worse.
Today, let's work on praying to God with the same urgency that we can feel in these verses.  Let's lift up our hands and thirst after God.  Let's take the time and make the effort to lift up our souls to God.

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