I didn’t understand what had occurred until later in the day when I stopped by the Institute building, the social hub for LDS students. Coming through the front doors, I could see everyone gathered in front of the TV in the game room. I entered wondering why everyone was so somber.
That’s when I saw the images of the twin towers bellowing smoke, and in short order, I watched them fall to the ground. I remember the very palpable fear that gripped many of my friends, and I did what I could to listen, to comfort, and to strengthen.
I also remember the news images of people flocking to the churches and bowing their heads in prayer. For a brief moment, the nation set aside its cantankerous political divisions and united in supplication to God.
I suppose that’s to be expected. Many naturally seek prayer in troubled times. But prayer isn’t just for a troubled time. Prayer is for every time.
We read in the scriptures how humanity is slow to reach after God when times are good but quick to reach after Him in times of trouble (Helaman 12:2-3; D&C 101:8). These verses beg the question: Do you reach after Him when times are good?
I’ve spoken before about confining my morning prayers to heartfelt thanks, and I’ve mostly kept to that. This practice has greatly blessed my life. Starting the day with an expression of gratitude has transformed the spirit of my days. That gratitude has also transformed how I think about myself and everything in my life.
Because I don’t ask for anything during my morning prayers, you can imagine what my evening prayers are like. “Lord, I tried today, and I just can’t make it. And unless you help me, I’m not going to make it at all.” My sense of dependency upon God has increased substantially, and accordingly I feel a deeper relationship with Him.
That’s not to say that I or my prayers are perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve always said I have more imperfections than Swiss cheese has holes. I am after all a walking construction zone.
I console myself in accepting these truths by realizing that God isn’t finished with me yet. He’s still working to make me fit for the fulness of my potential, a potential which I will fill as I heed His counsel and follow His Spirit.
Of course, it’s easier to heed counsel that one receives, and here I have plenty of room for improvement. “Seek and ye shall find” has another meaning, namely if you don’t seek, you probably won’t find. Reaching after God when times are good means always reaching after His counsel and the revelation that can guide one in life.
Make your change
Maybe you can improve your prayers the same way I can improve mine. Maybe you can open up more to God and seek after His counsel for the steps you need to take next in your life.
Or perhaps you most need a different improvement in your prayers. Maybe you need to express more gratitude. Maybe you need to be more genuine and less rote. Or maybe you just need to pray regularly since you aren’t doing that.
Whatever the improvement (and if you’re like me, you’ll need to improve in multiple areas), consider how you approach prayer. How you approach prayer speaks volumes about how you approach God. And how you approach God greatly influences the depth and quality of your relationship with Him.
So for every time in your life, make sure you include prayer. Working to improve your prayers will deepen your relationship with God and your appreciation for the Savior. That’s a quality you can feel. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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