Monday, May 3, 2010

My Mother Taught Me About Prayer

If you hadn't noticed, I am sort of doing a "countdown to Mother's Day". Well, I don't know that it's an "official" countdown, as I actually haven't included any counting, per se. However, I am dedicating each post from May 1, 2010 through May 9, 2010 to all things "Mother". I promise it won't ALL be through rose-colored glasses or mushy or as sentimental as today... so stay tuned! :)

As far back as I can remember, my mother taught me to pray. We prayed before meals and we prayed often as a family. We prayed in church and we prayed for special circumstances, like if someone was ill.

I remember once, I was calling out for my mom; looking everywhere around the house for her. It was the middle of the day. I barged into her room to find her on her knees, praying, right there in the middle of the day. I felt almost ashamed, as if I had intruded on her personal spiritual time. I quietly backed out of the room and went about whatever it was I was doing. I was about 8 years old at the time.

As a child, I thought it was odd that my mother would be praying in the middle of the day. After all, it wasn't meal time and it wasn't bed time, and we certainly weren't at church. I kept wondering why she would be praying when it wasn't "time to pray". It was then I began to realize that I could pray at any time.

My mother shared many of her own stories of prayer and personal revelation with us so that we could learn as well. As little children, we all knew about the time before she was married and was driving late at night and fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree and broke her nose, and how a stranger pulled over to assist her and took her to the hospital.

I learned many things about prayer from my mother. I learned that I could receive inspiration for myself, and for my family. I learned that God does hear and answer prayers, though not always the way I would prefer, and perhaps not as quickly as I would sometimes like. Prayer is the means by which we receive personal revelation; guidance for our lives.

About a year ago, I was struggling with something, which probably, most likely, seemed trivial to my friends, but which was important to me. The thought came to me that I needed to pray about it. So I did. I prayed about it, pondered it, studied it out even. I remember one night, when I went up to a session at the temple, I had been praying about this issue again. And all of a sudden the answer seemed so clear to me, and I can't really explain it other than to say the thought was so strong and clear in my mind and emotion filled my heart so full, it felt like I was going to explode. I knew that I had received an answer to my prayer. I knew the path the Lord would have me go - although, it was not in accordance with the advice of my friends, I might add. I felt satisfied. I started to formulate a plan of action around this answer, and started to live my life in preparation of things to come, based on this "answer".

Well, a year has passed, and this "answer" to my prayer has not fully come to pass yet. Recently, I had felt down about it. Like, did I misinterpret? Did I only hear what I wanted to hear? Did I misread the signs? Have I just wasted an entire year journeying down a path that doesn't have an end in sight for me?

My soul felt spiritually malnourished, my head felt dizzy, my common sense shattered, and my heart heavy. Once again, this past week as I was up at a Temple session, I brought this matter to the Lord. However this time, as I was praying, here was the distinct impression I received. "You've already prayed about this before and you've already received your answer. You do not need to keep praying about this." Whoa... right? I know. Consider myself rebuked by the Lord. Guess what I am saying is I don't recommend questioning His decisions, hehe.

Since that day, I have heard a few talks at a few conferences, in which a few snippets have solidified for me the answer I received and knew in my heart to be true all along. It also let me know that the Lord is very aware of my heart. Such tender mercies.

I left feeling a little better, knowing that I hadn't missed the signs a year ago. I was reminded that the Lord works on HIS time, not mine, and that HE knows what's best for me. And that if I'm going to bother asking for HIS answer, then I need to honor that answer and live in accordance to it.

Sure, I learned a lot about prayer from my Sunday School teachers and from the talks at church, and from the scriptures. But it was the daily application and the daily example set forth by my mother that I learned the true meaning and power of prayer. For this I am grateful.

I am grateful to know how to pray. I am grateful to know that I can offer up a prayer at any time, day or night, and even in the car. I am grateful to know that the Lord does hear and answer prayers, and that I can turn it over to Him. I am grateful for a Mother who not only believed but who lived, and still lives a prayerful life. I am grateful that my mother taught me about prayer.


greenolive said...

Your story reminds me of one of my own. When I was applying for colleges I prayed to know which ones to send an application to because I didn't have a lot of money to apply everywhere. I mean $25 each can add up. So I prayed about it and felt like I should apply to Ricks and only Ricks. That was where I should go. I applied and waited. I got a letter back that I didn't get into fall semester but I could apply for winter semester. I was so confused when I got rejected. I prayed again questioning my previous answer. Well it turned out that the Lord had it all under control. My application had ended up on the top of the call back list. Once people chose not to go I got the phone call asking if I would still like to come. Of course I did. Now why did I have to go through that little small trial? When I got to school I kept hearing how lucky we were to be there and about how many students didn't make it in. I appreciated being there so much and I was thankful for my experience to help me realize how truly blessed I was to be there. He knows what we need more than we do.

Ruthykins said...

ha ha, i applied to ricks, too. i didn't make it in for fall sememster, so i started in winter.

Ruthykins said...

on another note, i also believe in the power of prayer. i've had plenty of experiences where praying has helped out. like when i lost something, or i was lost, or we seemed stuck somewhere without a phone.

okeydokeyifine said...

If there is never anything else that I would hope you would learn, it is that prayer is the most important thing you can do.

RhondaLue said...

what a special mother you have!! Thanks for the post that made me cry. :)

kanaboke said...

if the pics of animal mommies bonding with their babies weren't enough, I read this and it's sent me over the edge...sitting her crying now. Beautiful tribute to an amazing mom!

The Willeyes said...

I love this post!!!! are awesome :)