In recent months, I have had the increasing desire to pray better. I suppose more effectively might be a more apt phrase. I wanted to communicate better and more deeply, but couldn’t figure out how. I’ve pondered on all the lessons I had in seminary and young women’s, but none of them really helped. They all seemed to focus on the mechanics of prayer—you know, the language to use, how to open, express your thanks, ask forgiveness, exercise repentance, ask for what you needed, close in the name of Jesus Christ. There was nothing there that told me how to really commune with my Father in Heaven.
And then I received Face to Face: Seeking a Personal Relationship with God by S. Michael Wilcox. And now I am rethinking everything I learned as a child about how to pray. I have always felt like there were so many things I wanted to talk about with my Heavenly Father but that I couldn’t waste his time with what were surely petty things. I have come to realize that nothing is petty to our Father in Heaven; if it is important to us, it is important to him.
The book centers on the concept of reaching. It comes from a description of Enos praying in the Book of Mormon. “”After Enos had prayed all day long and into the night, he ‘did still raise [his] voice high that it reached the heavens.’” (Enos 1:4). Brother Wilcox talks about how this sparked deeper reflection for him as he pondered on the meaning of this reaching to heaven.
For me, the thought of reaching for our Father in Heaven through prayer created a powerful visual and brought to my heart and mind that desire to reach out and become closer to him, to feel his presence as an almost physical touch. The book discusses six different ways of reaching, including pouring out, believing and knocking, among others.
He uses stories from both his own life and from the scriptures to illustrate each point and to make it easily understandable. And in explaining, it fueled a desire in me to go back and study those scriptures again, to see not only what Brother Wilcox saw, but to see what truths, what inspiration and what revelation I can receive from them as well.
Each one touched my soul in a different way and each answered the longing of my heart to have that communion and that communication with my Father in Heaven. And now it is for me to put these different thoughts into practice and learn how to pray all over again.
Good thing the school year has started and I have more time during the day to spend on some gospel study. I have so much to learn and much reaching to do.
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