Sometimes I feel so alone until I say a little prayer, then I’m more than ok.
Sorry I put this up so late, but there are still plenty of days to follow The Lord’s example. see below…
#lightoftheworld – about following Christ’s example. Go to the # or the link below how to shine the light. 🙂 🙂
Nope. He’s still awake.
I pick him up, feed him, and put him back down. “God, please help him to sleep in!”
Nope. He doesn’t sleep in and wakes up an hour later.
Now repeat this scene for two more months.
I think when my third child was born, a good 90 percent of my prayers revolved solely around our collective sleep patterns. However, these prayers never seemed to be answered—at least not in the time frame I was hoping for.
This did not cause me to lose my faith in prayer or the power of prayer, but it did cause me to reflect on how I could improve my prayers to ask for things that God is more able to answer.
The Bible Dictionary says: “We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ—when His words abide in us (John 15:7). We then ask for things it is possible for God to grant. Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent His mind.”
What are those things it is possible for God to grant? How could I make sure my wishes are the wishes of Christ?
To figure this out, I drew a little diagram: my desires on the left, God’s on the right, and things we both want in the middle.
On the left I wrote some things I tend to pray for a lot (sleep, ease, comfort, health, happy and obedient children, happy husband, everything happy and easy); in the middle are the things that I want that I’m sure God wants for me too. These circles are not mutually exclusive. It could be God wants everything in the left circle as well; I’m just not sure what His will is for those desires yet. But I am sure He always wants me to keep His commandments and to be faithful, kind, and forgiving.
On the right, I wrote things God wants for me that I don’t always want for myself. The biggest thing here is trials. I rarely want them, but I fully admit my times of trial are when I learn the most and grow closest to God. It’s good for this heart-changing goal we both have. Also in this circle could include commandments that are particularly difficult for me to keep.
I noticed that the things I want are largely circumstantial things—things based on the circumstances of life—while the things that God wants for me are mostly un-circumstantial (don’t look that up; it’s not really a word), or things relating to the state of my heart.
Does this mean I should never ask for circumstantial things that I want? No way! Does this mean God will never answer my prayers if I just ask for things I want? Certainly not! I have had way too many experiences praying for things I want when God has given them to me to think that God doesn’t care about the left side of this diagram. I think God loves every one of us and cares deeply about our wants. I think He delights in giving us even those little things we ask for sometimes. Like any good father, He knows how to give us good gifts. But above all, He wants what is best for us, and what is best for us eternally does not always include the circumstances we desperately hope for.
So how to pray to align these two circles? How to pray for the things I want while accepting God’s will and His desires for me?
I came up with a little formula to help me in my prayers. It is simply this—whenever you ask for something you want and you’re not totally sure if it’s something God wants for you, tack on the phrase “but if not” and then add something you’re sure God would want for you.
For example: “God, please help me get some sleep tonight, but if not, help me to have enough energy to be pleasant and hard working anyway.” “God, please bless that my child will get over this sickness and feel better, but if not, help us to trust in Thee and be patient with each other.” “God, please bless that I will be included in my group of friends, but if not, even if I feel excluded, help me to be kind and generous.”
I’ve tried this out for about a year now, and I can say my rate of prayer success has skyrocketed. Here are some benefits I’ve experienced so far:
I feel like I’m finally fulfilling the real purpose of prayer, which is not to negotiate my desires, but to align myself with God. The two circles from my graph have grown much closer since praying in this way.
An unexpected benefit has been that I don’t fear hard situations or not getting what I want nearly as much as I used to because I’ve seen and felt God answer my prayers—both my desires and my “but if nots.”
It’s been a great exercise in praying not for my circumstances to change, but that I in my circumstances may be changed, which is what Elder Bednar says is the key to unlocking grace in one of my favorite gospel talks of all time.
I feel a deep trust in God growing up inside me.
And eventually my son and I did get more sleep (though he still has this lovely habit of waking up at 5:30 a.m.). But that’s OK. I may not always get what I want when I want it, but I can feel God’s love and receive those things I need to become the person He wants me to be.
Celeste graduated from BYU with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology. Her proudest accomplishments include her marriage, her three kids, and that one time she had all the rooms in her house clean at the same time.
Remember This Christmas is not about spending money on the perfect gift, it’s just giving.
PLEASE READ THIS SPECIAL STORY HERE OR FOLLOW LINK BELOW 🙂
The author lives in the Capital Region of Denmark.
My family had just returned from a wonderful vacation. After dinner I let our two children, four-year-old Markus and three-year-old Emma, play in the upstairs bedroom of our fourth-floor apartment. In Denmark, windows open out like shutters. The windows are usually locked, but we had left them slightly ajar during our vacation so the apartment would be ventilated during our trip.
As I was doing the dishes, I suddenly felt that something was terribly wrong. I ran into the living room as Markus came running down the stairs. He was screaming with fear, saying Emma had fallen out of the window—a window about 40 feet (12 m) above a cement sidewalk. I ran down the stairs, repeatedly screaming Emma’s name. I saw my little daughter lying on the cement as if she were lifeless. She was completely limp when I picked her up, and I thought my worst fears were confirmed. My husband, who had followed me outside, took her in his arms and immediately gave her a priesthood blessing.
The ambulance came quickly, and Markus and I said a prayer while the paramedics worked on Emma. Soon we were all in the ambulance heading to the hospital.
At the intensive care unit we were quickly joined by family members who came to support us. Markus went home with his cousins, while my husband and I stayed behind, not yet knowing about Emma’s condition.
After what seemed like a long wait, one of the doctors finally came in, asking for details about the accident. They said that normally a fall from such a height would have resulted in internal injuries and only a small chance of survival. Emma had a broken pelvis and a concussion, but her scrapes were only superficial. The doctor said an angel must have caught her.
Even though Emma’s survival was a miracle, she was still unconscious because of head trauma. My husband and two close friends again administered to Emma. In that blessing she was promised a complete recovery without any lasting problems and that this would be a positive experience in her life. I felt immense gratitude for the power of the priesthood. All my nightlong pleadings had been heard.
Emma came out of her coma four days later. During those four days, friends, members of the Church, and others fasted and prayed for her. I felt the prayers of faithful Saints weave around me, strengthening my family and me. I felt as if Heavenly Father had wrapped His arms around me and filled me with comfort.
Our stake had held a fast on the day before she woke up. We believe that Heavenly Father heard our prayers and that Emma’s waking up was a direct result of the fast. From there Emma recovered quickly. Five days later she said her first word since the accident, and nine days later she was released from the hospital. She spent five weeks in a wheelchair and then started physical therapy.
About a month after the accident, my back suddenly gave out on me from lifting Emma. A feeling of not only physical but also spiritual powerlessness came over me. How could I continue to take care of her?
One night the guilt of being so powerless became too much to bear. I left the house and found a park bench, where I prayed to Heavenly Father for about an hour. For the first time in my life, I felt the miraculous power of the Savior’s Atonement overcome me. All the pain and sorrow I had been carrying was taken from me; all my burdens were lifted off my shoulders after that prayer. Emma was still in a wheelchair, and I was getting regular back treatments, but I was strengthened to carry on.
One year later, Emma could run, laugh, tell stories, and think as a four-year-old should.
We know there is a loving Father in Heaven, who cares for us and knows us individually. He knows what challenges we go through. I will never doubt the miracles He gives us through prayer, fasting, and priesthood blessings.
“When difficult things occur in our lives, what is our immediate response? Is it confusion or doubt or spiritual withdrawal? Is it a blow to our faith? Do we blame God or others for our circumstances? Or is our first response to remember who we are—that we are children of a loving God? Is that coupled with an absolute trust that He allows some earthly suffering because He knows it will bless us, like a refiner’s fire, to become like Him and to gain our eternal inheritance?”
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy, “I Am a Child of God,” Liahona, May 2016, 27.
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