Sunday, January 6, 2013

Like you're trying to change the world

Last week's sacrament meeting was a homecoming to end all homecomings. Each one of the speakers in church was a very recently returned missionary. It was so fun to see each of their unique personalities shine through in their mission experiences and it was a really interesting way to spend sacrament meeting.

In any case, one of the missionaries is a little brother of one of my friends. He's always been a teasing, jocular little snot, someone you can't help but love even though he steals food from your plate when you're not looking and does that trick shot in pool where he hits you in the nuts with an 8-ball [not gonna lie, still haven't completely forgiven him for that one].

His talk was funny, as expected, but also loaded with a maturity I hadn't yet seen him portray.  And more importantly, he said something that has been running through my head ever since I heard it.

When talking of the methods and intentions invested in our prayers, he chastised us to remember not to short change our prayers. Too often, we kneel (or crouch or lay in bed and bury our heads in our pillows) and say, "Thank you for this, please bless me with this, and I'm sorry for this. Amen."  Such half-hearted and lazy prayers are not very effective prayers.

Instead, my little returned missionary friend said that we should "pray as if our prayers could change the world."

That's a soul-stirring idea.

For the next few days, I incorporated it into my scripture study, taught lessons about it in my home teaching, and brought it up in Institute.  In one of the lessons, a girl I home teach, who also returned from her mission recently, took his idea and ran with it.  She talked about how as a missionary, your prayers are always answered quickly and often in miraculous ways (seems unfair, huh?).  But, she added that the only reason they get answered is because you're always moving and working as a missionary. As she put it, "It's impossible for the Lord to steer a vehicle that isn't moving," meaning that the Lord will guide us, but only if we're doing something.  Another reason she said prayer seemed to work so well for her as a missionary was because she was constantly looking for those miraculous answers.

That tipped me off to something as well. So for the past few days, with LOTS of shortfalls, I've been trying to both pray as if my prayers could change the world and to look for those miraculous answers.  To my surprise, I've seen them more in the past week than usual.  Maybe those two recently-returned missionaries are on to something...

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