So…my main goal for this year is not an accomplishment or something to do as much as it is someone to become. I want to have more discipline in life. I feel like if I can cultivate discipline in my life, then I will be able to achieve various accomplishments.
In trying to cultivate discipline, I have decided to make changes 21 days at a time. Right now, I’m working on my prayers.
It’s funny – I have a strong testimony of the gospel. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I love the scriptures. I know that the temple is a holy place – it is the House of the Lord. I am grateful to have covenanted with Heavenly Father. I know that Jesus Christ has made everything in my life possible.
Despite all of this, I’m horrible with my prayers. It is embarrassing, and I have intended to change it for some time.
I love this scripture:
“But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.” – Alma 13:28-29
In my mind, I feel like I want to humble myself before God. I know that I am nothing and that I depend on Him for everything, but if I don’t pray – or at least don’t pray well, then I’m not really showing much humility.
I love the scripture by Alma because I need the blessings of the Spirit. I need to have the strength to overcome temptation. In order to become the woman I want to be, I need to become meek, submissive, patient, and full of love. These characteristics will help me to strengthen my relationships with my husband, family, children, and myself. And it all can happen as I strengthen my relationship with the Lord through prayer.
So – two weeks ago, I decided that my newest “21 day challenge” needed to be meaningful prayer twice a day. I decided to go into my closet, shut the door, and pray first thing every morning and last thing every night. I don’t try to pray about every single thing during every single prayer. There is always so much to pray about. I just try to think about what is on my mind, and pray. When other things come up during the day, I may say a silent prayer about that subject. It is hard for me – as there is so much I want to pray about. I feel like I can relate to Enos (not that I’ve prayed overnight), but that I will pray – for myself, then my friends, then others, and I want to go on, but I can’t. There are duties that I must attend to, children that need to get ready for school, chores that need to be done, etc. I can’t pray as much as I feel like I need to.
And I think that I’m realizing that every prayer I give doesn’t need to be like Enos’s prayer. There may be times when I pray like this (and I have), but typically, I need to pray, counsel with the Lord, then get to work. I can pray always – not by kneeling and praying all day, but by keeping a prayer in my heart as I go. A few years ago, Elder Bednar spoke in conference about prayer. He explained:
“Morning and evening prayers—and all of the prayers in between—are not unrelated, discrete events; rather, they are linked together each day and across days, weeks, months, and even years. This is in part how we fulfill the scriptural admonition to “pray always”. Such meaningful prayers are instrumental in obtaining the highest blessings God holds in store for His faithful children.” – David A. Bednar
I’m grateful for this advice about prayer and for prayer, itself. As I’ve made the commitment to pray, it has been good. I have noticed that my prayers are getting better. I feel like I still have a lot of room for improvement, but I’m thinking about my prayers. I’m thinking about communicating with the Lord. I’m taking time to be quiet, thank Him, talk to Him, counsel with Him, and plead for repentance.
It feels good to know that I’m taking time to actually pray. I feel more peace in my life. I feel more focus. I also feel like I can have more power in my life to accomplish some of the goals I have for myself. For example, if I want to have discipline, then I know I need some help from Heavenly Father. When I pray to Him, I can ask Him for strength. Even the act of praying strengthens me. Change is a process, but a process made easier when we have the power of the Lord with us.
I’m grateful for what I’m learning about prayer. How do you work to give meaningful prayers daily?
(here’s a little mo-tab goodness)