This may not be the light bulb for all of you that it was for me, but my life changed this week when I learned how to talk with my Heavenly Father. My teachers don’t even know yet that they made such a difference, but here was their suggestion: Ask Heavenly Father a Question!
Now, we here this all the time, but the way that they taught it, for some reason it suddenly clicked for me… By asking for guidance and blessings in the FORM of a question, we allow Heavenly Father the opportunity to answer! Here are some examples of how my prayer language changed that night:
From: Please help me to know how to be more humble.
To: How can I be more humble?
From: Please help our companionship become stronger.
To: What can we do to strengthen our companionship?
From: Please help me to give the best tours ever tomorrow.
To: What can I do to give the best tours EVER tomorrow?
And this was the day I learned how the Power of Prayer really works! I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I thought I had my prayers answered before, but it was nothing like the answers I’ve started getting now! This quote from H. Burke Peterson explains a little more about what I’ve been learning:“As you feel the need to confide in the Lord or to improve the quality of your visits with him—to pray, if you please—may I suggest a process to follow: go where you can be alone, go where you can think, go where you can kneel, go where you can speak out loud to him. The bedroom, the bathroom, or the closet will do. Now, picture him in your mind’s eye. Think to whom you are speaking, control your thoughts—don’t let them wander, address him as your Father and your friend. Now tell him things you really feel to tell him—not trite phrases that have little meaning, but have a sincere, heartfelt conversation with him. Confide in him, ask him for forgiveness, plead with him, enjoy him, thank him, express your love to him, and then listen for his answers. … Answers from the Lord come quietly—ever so quietly. In fact, few hear his answers audibly with their ears. We must be listening so carefully or we will never recognize them. Most answers from the Lord are felt in our heart as a warm comfortable expression, or they may come as thoughts to our mind. They come to those who are prepared and who are patient”
I also learned recently that to pray with real intent means that when you pray to receive an answer, you intend to act on that answer. Each time you act on an answer that Heavenly Father gives you, He is more willing and able to give you more answers because you “neglect not the gift that is in thee” (1 Tim 4:14) And it’s like a snowball effect. The more often you pray, the better your ability to receive revelation becomes, because you’ll get to know Heavenly Father better and be able to recognize His answers. After all, personal revelation is a requirement for salvation!
We all know we need to repent in our prayers, too. I’ve had kind of another news flash on that one lately. I’ve always heard that we need to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ daily, but I kind of thought that meant that we needed to remember what He did for us and try to live like Him. It turns out, we’re actually supposed to repent every night of the things from our day that we could have done better. As we ask our Heavenly Father to bring to remembrance what we need to repent of, He is more than willing to oblige. By asking forgiveness and promising Him that we’ll try again tomorrow, and allow Him into our lives to help with even the littlest hurdles, we show our gratitude for the Atonement and come closer to our Father in Heaven. I didn’t realize that even trying to get over the little things on my own was a form of leaning on my own understanding and pride in my own ability. When we’re taught that God can, and wants to, help us with ANYthing, there are no exceptions. And I’ve found that allowing Him to assist me in getting over those daily shortcomings, I’ve been able to get over more of them and move forward to work on new ones!
With my new and improved version of divine communication (with plenty of room to grow), it’s been like a breath of fresh air in my life and my testimony. It’s been rather humbling to admit that I didn’t understand these things earlier, but I hope that in sharing these experiences that I can help someone else feel the exhiliration that I’ve been feeling. I just hope to help everyone in the world to come closer to Christ!