Saturday, March 13, 2010

Water Water Everywhere

I have thought a lot lately about things that I need to work on.  One of them is my prayers.  I pray every day, don't get me wrong, but a lot of the time I feel like they become quite monotonous or I feel like I pray for the exact same things and they don't reach beyond the ceiling. (someone important said something about that, but I can't remember who it was.)  On Monday I was sitting in class and we were talking about The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.  My mom has always talked about this poem and so I thought I would look it up on line and see what it was all about.  

The story is about a crew of sailors that get lost and head to a place with large ice walls and the follow an albatross who leads them to safety.  Then one of the foolish sailors decides to shoot it down and they whole crew dies from a curse except the sailor who shot down the albatross.  He is then cursed to tell his tale to all.  His moral reads 'He prayeth best, who loveth best; All things both Great and small; For the dear God who loveth us, he made and loveth all.'

Our prayers are a direct reflection of our ability to love, and lately, I have really only been thinking of myself.  I haven't been loving others enough, and so I haven't been able to feel God's love as much in my prayers. (God always loves us the same, but sometimes we put up barriers that make it harder to FEEL His love.)  Elder Bednar gave a series of conference talks related to prayer that I have been reading over since then.  My favorite quote is from his April 2008 talk you can read here.  It goes a little something like this:

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer,” 752–53). Humble, earnest, and persistent prayer enables us to recognize and align ourselves with the will of our Heavenly Father. And in this the Savior provided the perfect example as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. … And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:42, 44).
The object of our prayers should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing. Every sincere prayer is heard and answered by our Heavenly Father, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate. 
Prayer is a privilege and the soul’s sincere desire. We can move beyond routine and “checklist” prayers and engage in meaningful prayer as we appropriately ask in faith and act, as we patiently persevere through the trial of our faith, and as we humbly acknowledge and accept “not my will, but Thine, be done.”
I think of the pain the Savior was in as he knelt to plead for strength to endure the trials of the world - MY TRIALS.  How then can I think only of myself as I pray each night?  In my day to day life, how can I not show the love that the Savior would have me show and then expect to be able to get more out of my prayers, to feel more, find more answers?  The answer is that I can't. (duh.) And so I am trying to be better.  Like I said, it is a work in progress, but in the end, as long as I am doing my best, He will know and make up for what I can't do.

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