Tag Archives: prayer

Repent ye! Repent ye!

9 Aug

I’ve learned an incredible lesson the last couple of weeks.

Being a missionary is a big responsibility. We are called by the Lord to “stand in his place … to say and do what he himself would say and do if he personally were ministering to the people to whom he has sent [us]” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie). I can tell you quite honestly that I fall short of that every day. It can really start to weigh on you, all the times that you don’t quite do enough or don’t quite get it right. It’s hard to face the eternal consequences of the work of salvation. Even the little mistakes start to add up.

But this week I’ve been doing something different. Every night, as I pray before going to sleep, I spend some time thinking about those little things that I missed. I ask my Heavenly Father for forgiveness for specific things, not just the lump sum of falling short. Each and every little thing I can think of, I take the time to make right with the Lord.

I can’t say that I’m finding fewer little things, and I know I’m not finding all the little things. But I’m trying. And when I wake up in the morning I feel good. I feel clean. I feel more worthy to have the Holy Ghost as my companion.

I’ve learned these last couple of weeks that repentance is not just for big sins, it’s also for all the little things that we know we could have done better. And repentance isn’t painful or fearful, it’s the most peaceful, joyful thing we can do.

I know that Jesus Christ came into this world to suffer for our sins and to make it possible for us to be healed of spiritual pain. I know that He loves us. I know that He will lead me back to my Heavenly Father. And I know that all of this depends on my willingness to act and to apply the atonement to my life. I’ve been working harder on that, and I want to recommend it to all of you. Repent! Not because you’re afraid of the consequences of big sin, but because it will take away the burden of little stones that has built upon your back.

Good Things to Come

9 Jun

Once upon a time, a young man knelt down to pray. And he prayed. And he prayed. And he prayed.

I’ve always been struck with the story of Enos from the Book of Mormon. I think all kids are, when they read that he prayed all day and all night long. But lately, it’s not the length of his prayer that has got me thinking, but the different answers that he receives.

Enos prays first for forgiveness of his sins. He wasn’t a perfect person and he’d made mistakes. In Enos 1: 5, he receives his answer: ” … Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee … “. So straightforward! So simple!

Next, Enos shows great love and prays for his people, the Nephites. The answer he receives is that if they will be obedient and righteous, they will be blessed, but if they turn away from the Lord, they will have sorrow. After this, Enos says “my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord” (11). There was nothing new about this promise that the Lord made. It was clear from the beginning of the Book of Mormon that the people would be blessed if they followed His way and cursed if they didn’t (1 Nephi 2:10-24). All God did in answer to Enos’ prayer was to remind him of the covenant that was already made. But sometimes a reminder is all we need to strengthen our faith. We need to remember that the Lord is constant, unchanging, loving. And then we can build trust and unshaken faith.

Last, Enos showed true charity in praying for his enemies, the Lamanites — a people that had been warring with his own for years. He asked that, if the Nephites should be destroyed, at least their records might be preserved so that one day the Lamanites could read them and learn about God. In answer to this prayer, God promised that the records would be brought forth “in his own due time” (16). After this, Enos says that his “soul did rest” (17).

The answer to the first prayer was direct and straightforward, and we all receive answers like this on special occasions. The answer to the second was a gentle reminder, which is a more common answer. But the answer to Enos’ last prayer is perhaps the most miraculous. The true answer didn’t come until about 2200 years later, when the Book of Mormon was translated and published so that all could read it, including the descendents of the Lamanites living on the American continent. 2200 years! Enos didn’t even begin to see the fulfillment of that promise. But he didn’t fret about it. His soul was at rest. He didn’t have to see the promise right away because he knew that it would come; God had promised it.

In the middle of a trial, it’s hard to see how things are going to get better. Sometimes we wonder if the promises of the Lord will really be fulfilled. But one of the titles given to Christ in the New Testament is “an high priest of good things to come” (Hebrews 9: 11). God is constant. He is unchanging. He is loving. His promises will be fulfilled, but in His own time. In the meantime, we can have peace. Things may not be perfect, but there are good things to come.

%d bloggers like this: