Yesterday at church a friend of mine stood up and she began to speak about prayer. She said a lot of beautiful things but the thing that is stuck in my mind is what she said about gratitude. Honestly, she may have only spent a small part of her time on gratitude in particular, I’m not sure. But being grateful is what came across to me to the most. And here I am 24 hours later still thinking about it.
She spoke about keeping a prayer journal and writing in it the things you are concerned about, the people you are worried about, the things you are grateful for and the small helps and inspiration and good things that happen every day and that keeping that journal will help you to see the hand of our Heavenly Father in your life.
And then she spoke about a story that Elder Bednar told in General Conference in 2008 called Pray Always. I’m just going to include the story here in Elder Bednar’s words:
During our service at Brigham Young University–Idaho, Sister Bednar and I frequently hosted General Authorities in our home. Our family learned an important lesson about meaningful prayer as we knelt to pray one evening with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Earlier in the day Sister Bednar and I had been informed about the unexpected death of a dear friend, and our immediate desire was to pray for the surviving spouse and children. As I invited my wife to offer the prayer, the member of the Twelve, unaware of the tragedy, graciously suggested that in the prayer Sister Bednar express only appreciation for blessings received and ask for nothing. His counsel was similar to Alma’s instruction to the members of the ancient Church “to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things” (Mosiah 26:39). Given the unexpected tragedy, requesting blessings for our friends initially seemed to us more urgent than expressing thanks.
Sister Bednar responded in faith to the direction she received. She thanked Heavenly Father for meaningful and memorable experiences with this dear friend. She communicated sincere gratitude for the Holy Ghost as the Comforter and for the gifts of the Spirit that enable us to face adversity and to serve others. Most importantly, she expressed appreciation for the plan of salvation, for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for His Resurrection, and for the ordinances and covenants of the restored gospel which make it possible for families to be together forever.
Our family learned from that experience a great lesson about the power of thankfulness in meaningful prayer. Because of and through that prayer, our family was blessed with inspiration about a number of issues that were pressing upon our minds and stirring in our hearts. We learned that our gratefulness for the plan of happiness and for the Savior’s mission of salvation provided needed reassurance and strengthened our confidence that all would be well with our dear friends. We also received insights concerning the things about which we should pray and appropriately ask in faith.
The reason this is on my mind is that I have recently switched directions with my work. I feel very happy with this choice and I think everything is going to work out but things are going at a snail’s pace. I can’t seem to find people who want to invest in my work. It’s discouraging and is making me second guess this decision.
I want my business to grow. And I was in my chair this morning thinking I need to get to work and what can I do to get some customers and the thought that I had was I need to be grateful for what I have and where I am right now and then the rest will come. Ouch. When a thought I have stings like that I know that that is inspiration from God. He is directing me and giving me the next step.
So here I am, adding to this blog that I began and then neglected so that I can remember this and come back and refer to it in 3 days when I am worried again. And I’m hoping that what I am writing will help someone else who is wondering about their next step. I’m thinking that the answer is always gratitude first.
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash