Sunday, March 26, 2017

2017-03-26 President's Message - Prayer

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Thank you for your prayers and for your faith. Thank you for every effort you make to serve the Lord. 

The amazing gift of Prayer has been on my mind lately.  Imagine loving parents sending their child away for many years to go to school and then to make his way in the world. They would miss their dear child so much. They would want to know when he or she needs help. They would want to know when he is happy or when he is sad. When the time comes for her to come home, they would want to give her directions and supplies so that she can make it. Today these parents might want to give their child a global cell phone with unlimited calls and texts.

We have loving Heavenly Parents who have sent us here to earth. We are here to learn, grow and reach our potential. In order to do this, we needed to leave our heavenly home, be born in a physical body, and forget all we knew about the life before this.  But we have not been sent here without the means to communicate. We have an amazing and helpful gift--we have the gift of being able to talk with God, person to person. We do not need to send a letter. We do not need to go to some special place. We do not need to pay money. We do not need a strong cell phone signal.  We can not only talk with God and receive guidance, we can also receive strength, peace and forgiveness.

Talking with God in prayer requires something different than just talking on the phone. It requires:

Humility: "Be thou humble and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers." (DC 112:10)
Faith: "...Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it." (Enos 1:15)  "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1:5-6)
Real Intent: Action: "Not every one that saith unto me 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)  "And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such." (Moroni 7:9)
Persistence/Patience: "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." (Jeffrey R. Holland, October 1999) "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Luke 11:9)
Desire: "And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens." (Enos 1:4)

When we pray, we are not in some kind of fast food restaurant like McDonalds. We are not the ones who give the orders. We are speaking to the most powerful Being in the universe. We are humbly asking our Creator and our God to know His will and to receive His help. We commit ourselves to follow His direction.  We are beggars. We are doing all we can to follow Him and humbly pleading for His help.  We know that He wants us to ask. We know that He wants to help us. If we are humble, have faith, pray with real intent, have patience, and have strong desire--He will answer our prayers.
He always listens. He always answers in His own time. Our role is to be humble and faithful enough to listen and to follow.

I invite you to improve the quality of your prayers. Check to see if you have enough humility, faith, real intent, patience, persistence and desire. Make sure that you are doing all you can to live the commandments and to follow Jesus Christ.

I promise, that if you will do this, you will feel new doors open for you. You will receive the guidance and strength you need. You will be blessed to find those whose hearts are ready to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As a mission, we need to pray much more effectively. As we do, the Lord will bless us. We will be able to say, with Alma: "Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth." (Mosiah 23:10)

Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg Ostler