Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Prayer Pillow

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:38-39)

Recently I read through a journal I've kept over the last few years and noticed something that really made an impact on me. I had marked each day that I had prayed and studied the scriptures- and noticed the periods in my life that I had been doing these things consistently, were the times I wrote about deep contentment and serenity.  My marriage was rock solid, and I seemed to have more patience with the kids.  It's not that my life was free of trials during these times, but I seemed to have a greater resolve and strength to be like the Savior- a strength beyond my own. 

Prayer and scripture study are gospel basics that I KNOW I need to do.  But the challenge is in the DOING- doing it consistently and doing it right.  Admittedly, I've done it all wrong too often.  There are days when I'm completely sleep deprived- I've been up with an infant or a sick child, so I wake up with just enough time to scramble to get myself and everyone else ready. So in other words, I make time for everyone... except the Lord. And the rush of the day begins, and I have every intention of praying and reading scriptures during the day, but sometimes I get distracted or pulled in so many directions that it just doesn't happen. Rather- I fail to make it happen. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:4) My intentions are good- but I just don't always have the discipline to follow through.

Another mistake I've made is to be too casual with prayer and use "vain repetitions". Or I'll start a prayer, and allow my mind to wander off onto something else (that's embarrassing), or on occasion, if it's a bedtime prayer, I've even fallen asleep in the middle of it. Although I believe the Lord is pleased with any sincere effort we make to communicate with Him- I think He expects more from us.  He asks us to be sincere and penitent. Thankfully, He is eternally patient and kind with me and with all of His children.  He wants to bless us!  And He already knows what we need- but we must ask Him in prayer. I love this quote from the Bible dictionary, "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." and " … your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." (Matthew 6:8).

There's No Place Like Home

I think as mothers in particular, we have a great need to renew ourselves spiritually each day.  As much as I adore my children and LOVE what I do- motherhood and homemaking can be exhausting. So we especially need to draw upon the power of God so we can best serve our families.  They deserve nothing less- than a balanced wife and mother who has made time to commune with the Lord.

So I made a decision to be more consistent in prayer- and it has been a great blessing in my life.  Sometimes all it takes is ONE small choice- we just have to make up our minds- and choose to put Him first.  The change came about as I asked myself, what is the single MOST important thing in my life?  And the answer came- it is truly my relationship with God and my love for Him.  So who then should get first priority in my life?  Not my husband, not my kids, not even myself... God should!  So I decided- the very first thing in the morning-- every morning-- my knees will hit the floor, in an effort to show my love and devotion to Him each day. It's a simple ritual, but it makes a tremendous difference in my life.

I know there is power in prayer.  When I sincerely pour out my heart to Him... I literally feel the burdens lift.  The problems are still unsolved, but I can let go of the negative and worrisome thoughts, and choose to be happy and trust in the Lord.

I even put a little pillow down beside my bed- as a symbol and a reminder of my desire to keep the first and great commandment.  The kids know not to move it- it is now a permanent fixture beside our bed.

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can" Pres. Benson declared. "He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life" (Teachings, p. 361).

He truly does make more out of us than we could ever make of ourselves.  And that is what I noticed in my journal- I discovered me without Him... and me with Him.  And I definitely prefer the latter! (And I think my hubby does too... he even has a nickname for my "feisty" side when I start snapping at him or the kids- it's Nicollete, haha!)

Basically, we can choose to go it alone in life- with our own strength, our own intellect, and our own abilities-  or we can trust in Him to walk us through this life and compensate for what we lack.  He wants to bless us and fulfill the petitions of our hearts but we must take the initiative and let him in.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)


Julie Jardine said...

So true!

Rachel Moore said...

I can totally relate to this! I have often struggled with the "Sunday school answers" even though I know when I follow through with them I will feel the Spirit more strongly. Sleep deprivation is the Devil's playground, at least for me. ;)

Mommo said...

Thanks for the reminder of what we know we should be doing and the great blessings waiting to be sent our way.

Laurie said...

Thank you for this post! I was thinking the other day that I have got to get better at my prayers and scripture reading. The pillow is a great idea!! I am going to run and put one by my bed now. Thank you again. We miss you!


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