“I thought I’d write about my experience with simple prayer. Though the past week has been fraught with sin and occasional victory, I found myself sliding into the rut I was so familiar with. When I tried to figure out what I was missing, the spirit whispered “Have you thought about praying?”
Now, prayer seems like such a simple thing. “No,” I thought. “Things so trivial as praying don’t seem to make a difference.” But had I REALLY prayed?
One of you mentioned about the formality of prayer, how easy it was to fall into recited lines and meaningless words, that you don’t have to be on your knees or have your eyes closed to talk to God. This message stirred my thoughts about what kind of effort I really put into prayer.
Since my childhood, praying was something “to get over with.” My mother seemed (to me) to punish us by the length of her prayers. My siblings and I conjunctively moaned when my mother volunteered to say the blessing on the food or the evening family prayer because we all knew we would be asleep or have sore knees by the time she was done. (only now I realize the strength of a mother’s prayer)
This kind of attitude seemed to fuel my dread of the actual act of prayer. It wasn’t an enlightening conversation between a loving God and his son, but tiring recitation, like an English class with a forbidding school marm as a teacher.
Last night, I realized that I wouldn’t “pray” to Father as I had understood it. I would talk with him, and do it at length. Setting the timer for 15 minutes (I have a short attention span, so I thought that timing myself would help me stretch my focus) and got a pillow for my knees I knelt to pray.
During this time, I found myself covering every aspect of my life, from my worries to my concern for others around me. After extensively speaking about things about myself, I found myself asking for blessings for the poor, the homeless and those I knew who needed relief. I found myself asking for support for the new goals that I knew would help me in my battle against the adversary. I was relieved, peaceful and unrushed in this conversation. I felt a presence in the room that said, “Go on… I’m so interested in what you have to say.” It was comfortable, fun, and definitely an energetic experience; like a racquetball game for the spirit.
Then something happened…
I began to falter in my speech. My mind began to go blank as I searched for things to talk to father about. At this time I thought, “has it been fifteen minutes yet?” The impatience began to return as I contemplated ending my prayer and hitting the sack.
Then, as if the thought had been there all along, but I was too busy to listen, I thought, “I’ve been talking this whole time and never let Father speak back to me.”
At that moment I began to ask Father for His will in my life. “What is your will for me at this time Father? What are your feelings about where I am going in my life? Is there anything else I can do to improve myself at this time?”
The stage was set, the spirit responded with a flood of information, love and simple counsel. It had been so long since I had laid myself open to the guidance from the spirit that I was overcome with emotion and pity for myself. But the experience was fulfilling and directive. (Philip 4:7)
Today, I feel more, organized, directed and driven than yesterday. Like my ship regained the use of its rudder once more. Not only that, but blessings returned that had left me in the wake of my sin and disobedience. Included in this was the ability to fend off the tempting thoughts that hover around my spirit like hungry flies.
Remember brothers the power of counsel of your Father in Heaven. Prayer is not a chore, but an opportunity to free insight from the Master of the Universe on ANYTHING you have a question about. All you need to do is talk to him about it and He is more than willing to tell you EXACTLY what your next step is in your progress to eternal salvation and happiness here on this earth.”
Send by Tommy Tulsa firstname.lastname@example.org (Thursday December 16th 1999)