With so much in commotion, I hope each of us can spare a moment to ponder the scriptures and pray sincerely. The past week’s lesson from Come, Follow Me provides two important reminders for living in uncertain times.
As with last week’s post, I encourage you to treat the comments section below each post as a Sunday School class discussion. Many of your brothers and sisters are feeling lonely or overwhelmed, and may need a kind word to remind them of their ward family. What impressions can you share from your study this week?
A careful study of the Book of Enos reveals much about the nature of prayer. By paying close attention to what Enos prays for and how he communicates to his Heavenly Father, we can begin to understand sincere prayer.
Take a moment to consider the following descriptors from the Book of Enos. As you do, try to recall the last time you offered a prayer that could be described with similar phrases.
|The wrestle which I had before God (Enos 1:2)||And my soul hungered |
|My guilt was swept away |
|I cried in mighty prayer and supplication (Enos 1:4)||I prayed and labored with all diligence (Enos 1:12)||And I had faith, and I did cry unto God|
|I went about…testifying of the things which I had heard (Enos 1:19)||And while I was thus struggling in the spirit (Enos 1:10)||Wherefore my soul did rest|
Enos’ prayer arose from a deep desire to draw close to His Father, a feeling so powerful that it urged him to continue praying all day (Enos 1:4).
As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.Prayer, Bible Dictionary
Central to Enos’ experience with sincere prayer is the concept of work and personal action. Elder David A. Bednar described the effort involved in meaningful prayer as follows:
Asking in faith requires honesty, effort, commitment, and persistence. I long have been impressed with the truth that meaningful prayer requires both holy communication and consecrated work. We press forward and persevere in the consecrated work of prayer, after we say “amen,” by acting upon the things we have expressed to Heavenly Father.Ask in Faith, David A. Bednar
Likewise, President Gordon B. Hinckley highlighted work as one of the key characteristics of sincere prayer:
I offer a plea that each of us will seek to live closer to the Lord and to commune with Him more frequently and with increased faith.
The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries—we place our order and hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another”Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley
As you ponder the prayers you offer to you Heavenly Father, strive to improve each day. Take time to privately evaluate your prayers using the assessment below.
Where would you place yourself on this scale? Where would you like to be on this scale? What are you going to do this week to improve your communication with Heavenly Father?
The books of Enos, Jarom, and Omni contain the writings of many righteous prophets who faced many physical and spiritual dangers throughout their lives. No matter how large their challenges seemed to loom, one small word appears in the vocabulary of each author: continually. As you read the following passages, consider the power that comes from steady consistency.
The word continually reminds us of another Book of Mormon prophet who used it to describe those who successfully reached the tree of life:
He saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.1 Nephi 8:30
As we live the Gospel, enduring to the end on the straight and narrow may seem more like an endless expanse of interminable hardship. Indeed, we know the adversary seeks to “stir [us] up continually to anger one with another” (Moroni 9:3-5). The ceaseless challenges we encounter must be matched with continual discipleship. However, we do not strive alone.
The journey of discipleship is not an easy one. It has been called a “course of steady improvement.” As we travel along that strait and narrow path, the Spirit continually challenges us to be better and to climb higher. The Holy Ghost makes an ideal traveling companion. If we are humble and teachable, He will take us by the hand and lead us home.What Lack I Yet, Larry R. Lawrence
Giving our all doesn’t mean that we will be continually enveloped in blessings or always have success. But it does mean that we will have joy. Joy is not fleeting pleasure or even temporary happiness. Joy is enduring and is founded on our efforts being accepted by the Lord.True Disciples of the Savior, Terence M. Vinson
The Lord notices our effort to consistently follow His commandments. What is one way you can increase the consistency with which you follow the Savior?
As one’s will is increasingly submissive to the will of God, he can receive inspiration and revelation so much needed to help meet the trials of life. Will we trust the Lord amid a perplexing trial for which we have no easy explanation? Do we understand—really comprehend—that Jesus knows and understands when we are stressed and perplexed?
Each of us might well ask, “In what ways am I shrinking or holding back?” Meek introspection may yield some bold insights! For example, we can tell much by what we have already willingly discarded along the pathway of discipleship. It is the only pathway where littering is permissible, even encouraged.Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father, Neal A. Maxwell