While we were traveling to San Diego (2 day drive when you have 2 kiddos), I was able to get a book from the library that I have been wanting to read for a VERY long time but it was ALWAYS on hold or not on the shelf. Looking back I am grateful I insisted to Cris that we stop by the library to check out a few books for me and the drive, and that this book was on the shelf this time.
The book is The Undaunted by Gerald Lund. I am sure many have read it but I had never gotten the chance. It is about the families sent from Cedar City to form a settlement near the Four Corners area and be a buffer towards the Native American relations. It was a GREAT story and a GREAT read but what I found most wonderful of all was the underlying message of prayer and how important it is in our lives.
Cris and I have been working so hard on doing better at family prayer and scripture study but our personal prayer and scripture study has been slacking for quite some time. We are going through some stages in life right now that I am ashamed to admit we haven't asked our Father in Heaven for guidance or we have asked for guidance but when we don't get the answer we are looking for, we forget to continue in prayer until we have a need for guidance again.
As I read this book, I could really relate to the main character David and his not having such a good relationship with our Heavenly Father. I KNOW prayers are answered and I know my prayers are heard but I don't pray with full earnest of heart, and sometimes (too often) my prayers become too generic in format. I have been struggling with learning how to follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost and personal revelation and sometimes I feel as if I don't know how to heed the guidance given. Last night I was able to resolve to do better.
When we came home from our trip I was disappointed to see the Friend had come but not the April Ensign because I had been slow on renewing the subscription. Today my copy of the Ensign came and in it are a few articles on prayer. Amazing to me as this seemed to be such a quick answer to a prayer that was given to Heavenly Father JUST last night. I didn't think I would get the April Ensign and in it held a wonderful message on prayer!
I read two articles but the one that hit me the most was by Elder Brent H. Nielson, titled I Need Thee Every Hour. The heading is what brought me in saying "If the Savior of the world felt the need for constant prayer, how much greater is our need?" Isn't it so true? The whole article had a great message but the reason for this lengthy but much needed post is in a section labeled We pray to give thanks and to request temporal and spiritual blessings. I am simply going to type what is written because I cannot get over how astounded I was when I read this.
The Bible Dictionary offers this statement about prayer's purpose:Is it possible that the Lord has blessings in store for us that He is waiting for us to request?
"The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to
secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant,
but that are made conditional on our asking for them."
This has hit me like a ton of bricks and I can't help but share. It is crazy to think but I know what this Elder said is true, that all I have to do is ASK and Heavenly Father has blessings waiting for me but for now, as I deny myself and my family the blessings of prayer, I am also denying them the blessings our Heavenly Father has waiting for us. I know not every prayer is answered the way we want, and I know we can't always receive the blessings we want but this hit me that some blessings, if we don't ask for them, although our Heavenly Father is willing to give them to us, we cannot receive them because we simply have not asked, seeked, or knocked.
"Whatsoever they ask the Father in the Son's name it shall be given unto them, that is expedient for them" (D&C 88:64)