Sunday, April 5, 2015

WHY SHOULD WE PRAY?


You know those adorable stories of the child who loses their toy, and after praying to find it, it miraculously appears? These precious children have such unwavering faith. They truly believe that if they pray, God will answer. Maybe at one point you were that little child with unshakeable faith. Maybe you still are. But for the rest of us who might not be as confident, this post is for you.  
If God is aware of us and all of our individual needs then why should we pray? If God is all knowing then I am sure He doesn’t need us to inform Him of the desires of our hearts. Right?   
For the longest time I felt slightly confused by these two concepts and had different questions about the importance of prayer. I knew that I needed to pray, so I always did. But It wasn’t until recently that I realized that is wasn’t God who needed my prayers but rather, it was me.  

Q U E S T I O N  1: 

If God already knows what I need, then why should I bother in asking Him? 

A N S W E R :
"The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them."  (Bible Dictionary, p. 753
God is all knowing. He does not need us to tell Him what we need in order for Him to know. However, He does expect us to ask. Personally, I have found that it has been the times that I have sincerely prayed for something, that I recognized the answer when it came. It strengthened my faith in God and prayer because after praying, I received. When we pray, we are more conscious of our needs, and will likely be more attentive to the answers we receive. 

Q U E S T I O N  2: 
Are my prayers even important? 

A N S W E R :
YES. You are important. Your prayers are important. God is aware of YOU and He is concerned with your happiness. This weekend has been Conference Weekend. The LDS General Conference is an opportunity for us to hear and learn from our church leaders. It is often recommended that you pray before conference and listen for an answer to your individual prayers during each session. 
Again this is an example of those “miraculous” stories where someone received the very answer they had been praying for. I always left that opportunity to “someone” else. Don’t get me wrong. I love conference. I ALWAYS get something great out of it. But for some reason that yucky demon of doubt inside me would make me believe that my prayers were not as important as the other millions of people who would be watching conference. And on top of that, I didn’t feel like I had any burning questions or desires I needed fulfilled anyway.  Even with all that being said, I prayed. I prayed about three very specific aspects of my life. I figured one would be at least touched on but I was fairly certain the other two would not. 
I was wrong. During the very first session of conference ALL THREE aspects were touched on and my prayers were answered. Little Ceciley from Utah received an answer to her prayers. ALL THREE.  As I sat in the Conference Center I realized the reality of the power of prayer. Right then I wrote at the top of my notes,  
“God is aware of YOU and He hears YOUR prayers. He is concerned with YOUR happiness."
If Heavenly Father felt like it was important to answer MY prayers, then he certainly feels the same way about YOURS. 


Q U E S T I O N  3: 
But what if I don’t receive an answer? 

A N S W E R : 
“When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence. When He answers no, it is to prevent error. When he withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth.” -Richard G. Scott.  
In my example above I received an answer fairly quickly. And not only that, they were the answers I wanted to receive. Prayer does not always work that way.  I truly believe that Heavenly Father knew that I needed that confidence. He gave me the answers I desired because for this specific situation, that is what I needed. On the other hand, I have also experienced the no, and the, withheld answer. Looking back at each situation, every answer came in the form that I needed, not necessarily the form I wanted
Often our prayers are answered but we don’t recognize the answer because it is not in the form we want. When it comes to answers to prayer, we need to be open and willing to receive what God has planned, over what WE have in mind. Be aware that answers are not always boisterous and overly apparent. Sometimes they just come in the form of peace. “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?D&C 6:22-23
This Easter Sunday I truly hope that you have felt of our Savior’s love for you. He died for each of us, but He loves us individually. You are not just a number. You are important. Your prayers matter. Our Father in Heaven is genuinely interested in your individual happiness. We are so blessed to have a Savior who gave His life so we can live, and a Heavenly Father who is consistently invested in the outcome of that life.
"Communication with our Father in Heaven is not a trivial matter. It is a sacred privilege.” -Richard G. Scott
If you have  your own answers to these questions I would LOVE to read them! 
Just share them in the comments below this post!  

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