I have not been writing this blog for very long but today I went back to see how many times I have talked about prayer here and it seems to be A LOT! Prayer is something that I have always struggled with. Prayer is obviously something that I am constantly thinking about but not in the way I would like to be.
I’m the one in class who shrinks down in my seat so I will avoid getting noticed when the teacher is asking for someone to offer a prayer. I have been ashamed of my prayers that I say when I am alone. All of this because I have listened to others pray and they all seem so eloquent in their communications with Heavenly Father. I often feel as if I’m forgetting something or I’m doing it in the wrong way somehow.
When I was 17 years old and meeting with the missionaries to learn about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we had a lesson where they taught me how to pray.
- Address the Father – Our Father in Heaven – or something along those lines.
- Be grateful – thank Him for all of the things in your life.
- Repent if necessary – where are the places you’d like to improve? – talk about them with Him
- Ask – ask for the things in your life that you need
- End in the name of Jesus Christ
Simple, right? Remember all those times that people have told you to stop comparing yourself to others? I always think, well, I don’t often do that. But I just realized that might just be my problem with prayer. I am worried that the other people who pray beautifully will judge my much more simple prayers.
Then today I was reading about Joseph Smith’s first vision. JSH 1:13-14
13 At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in adarkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would bgive liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
14 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the awoods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a bbeautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to cpray dvocally.
It was the first time he had attempted to pray vocally and he got an answer. Of course it was a bigger answer than most of us will ever get but I was struck by that this morning.
I am now almost 56 years old 38 years ago this month I was having my meetings with the missionaries where they were teaching me. In just another 2 weeks, if I remember correctly, they would invite me to be baptized and I would say yes. For 38 years I have had this struggle and today I have realized that Heavenly Father doesn’t care about my eloquence. He doesn’t care if I do it in the “wrong order”. He doesn’t care if I pray again in another 10 minutes because I left something out or forgot something.
What God cares about is that I am praying. I am keeping those communication doors open. I am listening and acting on the promptings and little nudges I get. He wants to hear from me….and you too.
James 1:5 If any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
God will not criticize, find fault with, me or my prayers. I’ve read that passage a million times and it hasn’t sunk in until now. One of the things I want to work on this year is believing God. Which is different than believing IN God. It’s easy to believe that there is a God but it is much harder to believe that He loves us each individually, that He wants to hear from us, that even as we go through hard times it will be for our good and that through faith all will be ok in the end.
There is a book called Believing Christ, which I thought I owned but it isn’t on my shelf so I may have loaned it out to someone. Anyway, maybe it’s time for me to read that one again.
One thought on “Perfection is Not Required”
I love this. You are continuing to teach me things. I need to remember to repent for my shortcomings and errors. i daily need to repent. I read a story a long time ago about a soldier who said only 3 prayers whilst he was at war. I’ll tell you about it sometime. I may still have that book, Believing Christ. I’ll send it to you.