Tag Archive | Prayer

Spiritual Experiences

Yesterday I was privileged to attend a sacred experience for one of my daughters.  In our religion we have what is called a patriarchal blessing.  It is an opportunity to receive blessings, guidance and comfort designed specifically for you.  It is basically a special prayer that is recorded and preserved, designed to be used your entire life.

As expected, we had a wonderful experience.  Our daughter was very comforted by how well her Father in Heaven knew her.

I was thinking how sacred some of our experiences are, and how they are not always meant to be shared.  Because of the nature of sacred things,  I think sometimes the world in general will too easily dismiss them as not of value, but in reality, it is the thing that is most sacred, and most personal, and most private that is often of most worth.

 

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And the Greatest of these is LOVE

Found myself praying for some much needed wisdom today.  Felt blessed that my prayer was answered so quickly, so I thought I’d share the answer I needed to hear.

Use LOVE.  LOVE is not a default position.  LOVE is not simply something we do because we don’t know what else we can do.  LOVE is our Father in Heaven’s greatest tool in dealing with us.  Christ made no bones that LOVE is the substance of both the greatest and second greatest commandments.  The word LOVE has multiple definitions and connotations, but the most powerful type of LOVE is not simply a feeling, it is an action verb that describes an intangible power.  LOVE literally creates entire civilizations, and the absence of it destroys them.  LOVE speaks to hearts, not to minds.  No teaching, lecturing, or information has any value if there is not LOVE attached to it.  Yet, even the smallest piece of knowledge, shared with LOVE, can change the future.

I was also reminded of a quote I heard somewhere that it is not so much that love is blind, but that love has the ability to see something in another person that others have missed.

Restart

English: Taken by me in 2006. This is a photo ...

 

I am ready to start posting new miracles every day again, rather than just every week.  I’m so grateful for this particular one, but a year ago I probably would have dismissed it and not even given it a second thought.

 

Yesterday I woke up rather cold.  I knew it was forecasted to be a colder day, but that shouldn’t have effected the internal temperature.  When I checked the thermostat, it was registering well below where it was programmed to be. The heater wasn’t running either.  I watched for a while as the system would start to come on, flash an error code, then turn off.  I hurried in to the computer to look up what that particular error code meant.  It was a vague, non-helpful, could be pretty much anything code.

 

My mind filled with questions, how much would it cost us, should we call someone out on a Sunday, how cold would we really get, should we cancel the dinner party at our house that afternoon?  We decided just to use the space heaters for a while and get to church on time.  That needed to be the priority.  My husband unplugged the furnace and made breakfast.  I turned off the system, put a space heater by the shower, and got everyone ready.

 

When we came home the space heaters had done a decent job and it wasn’t too cold.  We restarted the system and — everything is working fine again.  Woke up this morning nice and toasty too.

 

 

“Never Give Up”

Words of wisdom to live by, so I’ve been told.  What people fail to mention is that there is a time to stop doing the futile.  It is easy for us to see when other people are pursuing fruitless endeavors, but not so easy to see when it is time to take a step back ourselves.

My prompting for this week was to take a step back, and quite literally to “just quit.”  I have been fighting a personal battle with an educational group for 4 years now, telling myself that if I was just more enthusiastic, a better example, I’m doing it for my kids, if I worked better with others, if I were more patient, if I made more time, “be part of the solution rather than part of the problem,” blah, blah, blah.  It’s time to stop trying to change others, time to stop trying to help others who don’t want help.  I feel I have done what I could and then some, but now it is time to stop investing in people and programs that are pulling others down.  Groups well intentioned, but full of excuses and bickering are not examples I want for my family.

It is hard to give up something you have wanted for so long, but that’s what I was told.  Now I either obey or don’t.  No one wants to admit failure, but I guess I misunderstood how little influence I have had.  More time and energy for other endeavors I guess.

 

Teenage Boys

I love the man in my life.  I love the fact that he is very different from me.  When I was 17 years old, however, I thought the boys were incredibly immature, arrogant, reckless, and generally incomprehensible.  Now that I have a 17-year-old boy of my own I still think the same thing.  All I can say is that it was a good thing I didn’t know my husband at 17.

I do now have the privilege of seeing another side of teenage boys at the same time.  My work with the BSA and Cub Scouting program has helped me understand a little better their fun-loving side, and their absolute need for externally modeled and even imposed guidance and learning.  Last night we Skyped with my now 17-year-old male who is off at college, and “knows everything,” and absolutely does not need anything from his parents because he is so competent and ready to conquer the world (in his own mind of course.)  He just reminds me of everything I can’t tolerate in a males.

The amazing part is the opportunity to see the vulnerable part of the equation.  Not only did he want to talk for an hour and a half last night, but he wants to start checking in more often.  I know better than to accuse him of being homesick, but it is good to see that he still needs family at least a little.  I may never understand the gender completely, and I will never appreciate the “indestructible” mindset they have, but I can still love them anyway.  And despite his absolute knowledge of pretty much everything in the universe, he does know a lot of pretty cool stuff.

I do wonder sometimes how often Father sees us acting like a know-it-all teenager.  Horrific thought.  Maybe we can redeem ourselves a little by checking in more often.

1800’s Miracles

English: Jacob Hamblin home in Santa Clara, Ut...

English: Jacob Hamblin home in Santa Clara, Utah.

Photograph of Jacob Hamblin

Photograph of Jacob Hamblin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday we visited the restored home of pioneer/explorer/Indian negotiator Jacob Hamblin. We learned some of his history, and he had several miracles that happened in his life. One story made me think a little, so here is the editorialized version.

When Jacob was a teen, he and his father went “out West,” to what would become Wisconsin, to clear some land and claim a homestead. After the land was cleared, his father went back to gather the rest of the family while Jacob stayed with the land. First off, today’s teens probably don’t have the work ethic to clear the land in the first place, but secondly, the parents would be declared unfit parents if they left the teen for months unattended without a proper home, running water, food, school, or adult supervision. To make things worse, Jacob did have an accident while he was alone. He almost chopped his leg off with an axe. He had no 911, no emergency rooms, no health insurance, no other person in the area. He was able to stop the bleeding, but as it started to heal it developed a severe infection. He became worried enough that he was able to ride to the next closest neighbor and ask for advice. The neighbors warned him that the infection was bad, and that to prevent it spreading and to save his life, he would need to have the leg amputated at the knee.

Now here is a teenaged boy, all alone, needing to make a decision about amputating his leg to save his life. He had no cell phone to call his parents, no medical plan, no disability insurance, no hospital. I see some definite advantages to modern society. On the flip side, how would modern society deal with that situation? Today we would throw the parents in jail for gross negligence and put the boy in foster care on disability and welfare for the remainder of his life. Back then they didn’t pay high enough taxes or have large enough government to pay for the court fees, lawyers, foster care system, or prison space, so they did nothing.

Instead Jacob turned to his only real source of aid. He prayed. He prayed fervently that he would know what to do. He felt a great peace, but still was not sure what to do. An hour later a woman wandered up to where he was staying. She told him that she was not sure why she was there, but she felt that he may need some help. Jacob showed her his leg and the woman immediately went out and found some plants and herbs to draw out the infection. The leg went on to heal completely and Jacob became one of the greatest trailblazers and explorers of Utah and Arizona. Additionally Jacob learned about prayer, and grew in faith in God.

I think God is plenty capable of helping us even in our modern society of conveniences, but it does make me wonder how many times we rob ourselves of the opportunities to learn to really rely on God. How much harder must it be to learn to trust in Him when we have practically instant access to every convenience and a large government with seemingly bottomless pockets to bail us out, and to mitigate disasters. How many of our youth don’t know to turn to prayer for answers, simply because they have never needed to? How many of us fit in that category? I think we are all still given the opportunities to call on our Father in prayer for help, but I think those opportunities are harder and harder to recognize. I think they are being more and more often rationalized away, and more often dismissed as proof that there is no God, rather than as the opportunity for a miracle.

Odd Answers to Prayers

 

The gateway to heaven via prayer is in and of itself a miracle.  However, often we have a rote prayer, and a rote response – “done” or “not now” type response.  Yesterday I had a very odd response that reminded me that someone really is listening.

I was praying for a favor for someone else, so I knew it wasn’t just me being rote and trivial.  It was kind of important and would have a dramatic impact on that person’s quality of life, and I had promised to do some serious praying for them.  I got an instant answer.  Not just as soon as I finished praying, but as soon as I had opened my mouth.  I was told that I was not supposed to pray for that particular favor – not even just to ask.  I thought it was a sort of odd answer, definitely not what I expected, so I started to ask why.  I guess I probably need to work on questioning the Lord and how he works, because I was told to just leave it alone.  I felt sort of awkward going back to that friend and saying that I was unable to pray for them in this instance.

I did learn a few things though.  I was reminded how closely God is listening.  I was also reminded that he knows each and every one of us, and he knows us well enough to tailor specific answers to each and every sincere prayer.  I also suspect that those specific answers are exactly what we need, whether we realize it or not.