When faced with life's challenges,
it is Important to Remember
that although Daniel was saved from the lions,
he was not saved from the Lion's Den.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Secret Prayer

When I was a young mother, many years ago, the children and I took a road trip up to Oregon to visit my grandmother and grandfather.  It was a very long drive, and I was exhausted after 17 hours of driving (the last several hours were used up in searching for a place to sleep, I was literally falling asleep in the car).  I had to make the many stops and starts required when traveling with children, so the distance covered was not enough to get us even close to our final destination.  I could not find a hotel willing to let the children sleep in the same room with me, and there were no rooms together even if we could have afforded it.  The hotels we stopped at wanted me to get a second room across the hall, and none of the children were old enough to be alone in a room.  I did not want to teach my children to lie, so I was upfront and honest with the many desk clerks for several hours of searching.
Finally, completely spent and crying, I felt impressed to go into a small motel in a small town off the freeway.  I went into the office and told them what I needed and how many children I had in the car.  The woman smiled a warm and welcoming smile and gave me the key to a room at a price that was less than everywhere else we had looked that night.  I came out to the car and my young son (he was only about six or seven at the time), quietly asked, "Mom, which hotel room is ours?"  I looked at him and asked him, "what if they told me they don't have a room?"  He gave me a smile and said, "Mom, they wouldn't do that, we had a prayer when you were gone and Heavenly Father is going to give us a room here."  Then he pointed over to the corner room away from the car and said, "I am pretty sure it is that one."  You know, he was right.  It was that room.  The room had two queen beds and a cot and my children willingly had a family prayer of thanks with me and than snuggled down for the night to let their mother sleep.
Isn't the faith and prayers of a child amazing!  Those sweet little children had more faith than I did that we would get what we needed and all of us would be safe.  There was no doubt in their minds that their prayer would be answered.  I love prayer.  There are so many times in my life when I have received answers.  I know that Heavenly Father listens.  Especially when we need him the most.

I was reading one of Elder David A. Bednar's talks in the Ensign and found this statement on prayer:
"In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.
Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results."

It is the little, seemingly inconsequential acts that matter the most.  Those small things will be the ones that lead us home.  Work to gain your own testimony of the Savior. Pray passionately. Pray often.  Be believing.  Read the Book of Mormon when no one is watching. (Or even when they are!)  Take time alone to think about who Jesus really is, what He means to you and how His life and sacrifice are important to you.
Remember the example of the young prophet, Joseph Smith. When he lit the candle at night to read the Bible, it was because he wanted to. It wasn't because someone else made him do it.  When he went into the grove to pray, he went alone.  He didn't have to take someone else to see.  
I love the phrase 'the tender mercies of the Lord'.  It paints such a vivid picture in my mind.  I have reflected repeatedly upon that phrase.  I have  pondered and prayed about it and I believe that I have come to better understand the Lord's tender mercies in my own life.  I have seen those tender mercies in a very personal way.  I have received answers to prayer, blessings, protection, strength, guidance, and love.  Those are just a few of His tender mercies that have blessed me as I have struggled to do what is right.  Truly, His tender mercies are there for each of us, as we come to Him in earnest prayer.  

Richard G. Scott has said it so wonderfully, that I feel impressed to quote him.
"It matters not our circumstance, be we humble or arrogant, poor or rich, free or enslaved, learned or ignorant, loved or forsaken, we can address Him. We need no appointment. Our solicitation can be brief or can occupy all the time needed. It can be an extended expression of love and gratitude or an urgent plea for help. He has created numberless cosmos and populated them with worlds, yet you and I can talk with Him personally, and He will ever answer."

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