Thursday, September 16, 2010

3 Nephi - Chapter 20

 1 And it came to pass that he commanded the multitude that they should cease to pray, and also his disciples. And he commanded them that they should not cease to pray in their hearts.
I think prayer may be the most underutilized blessing we've been given.  I've been thinking about it all week.  Someone mentioned in Church on Sunday that prayer is "divine conversation."  I believe that, I have even felt like it was happening for me.  Still, most of the time, I must confess that for me, it is not.

I remember mentioning this when Alma admonished his son to let his thoughts be directed to the Lord.  At that time I observed that I am always having a conversation with myself.  Why not have that conversation with the Lord instead.  I try to do that but I lapse from that determination more often than not.  Still, gradually, I think my ongoing conversation with God is improving.  In doing so I have a new understanding about what Christ intended in verse one of this chapter.

As I sit in Sacrament Meeting, for example, my mind is constantly evaluating what I am hearing from the pulpit.  If I have that conversation with God, rather than with myself, I am taught from on high.  If I don't I usually find myself, critically evaluating, rationalizing, justifying myself in relation with what is being expressed by the speaker.  But, if I am conversing with God about what is being said, He, through His Spirit is able to guide my mind, encourage correct choices, deepen my understanding and brighten my outlook.

I think Jesus was teaching this principle to the Nephites.  They needed to understand that the Spirit will clarify, validate and internalize the Master's words for them; if they will consider His teachings in concert with God.  What a contrast that is to what I normally do as I consider the word and life's experience in concert with the flesh.  Continual prayer then, is clearly a most worthy pursuit.

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