The GIFT of prayer

James 5:16 …The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Prayer is a gift. Have you ever thought about that?  It is a gift given to us from a loving Father to “stay in touch” if you will and a gift that has to have us do something with it.  It is not meant to be a toy you get and never touch again or a brand new car that you never drive, it is interactive and the more you use it the more valuable the gift.  I am really working on trying to make my prayers more meaningful.  I have been WORKING on putting my gift to good use and it is definitely working.  As I have struggled with my own personal struggles the past few months I have found that my prayers of pleading and wanting answers have turned more towards listening and trying to hear what God wants me to hear.  My questions have become more direct as I have worked on being less independent.  I have been learning to rely more on my Heavenly Father and be more dependent on my Savior’s atonement and love.  During those hard weeks, I felt comfort, but I didn’t feel like my prayers were necessarily being answered.  As I have looked back though, I realize my prayers were being answered, just not how I wanted them answered or was looking for.  It was a sweet and tender realization that the Savior hadn’t left me, but that as I was learning to become more dependent on Him, he was literally carrying me and hugging me as we (He) walked forward and through.  Consistent prayer is power.  It is powerful and real and truly an unspeakable gift.  I realized that my prayers were being answered with constant care and tutoring.  It was a relationship that I have always wanted, always been looking for, and yet it was already right there!

As I have continued to work on my prayers and with my relationship with a loving God and a trusting Savior I was struck at how it is much like parent/teacher conferences.  Prayer is a conversation back and forth about what I have accomplished, things I am doing well, things that I need to work on, troubles I am having, and different strategies to overcome those hard things. Heavenly Father is my loving parent sitting by me, smiling at the good, and wanting the best for me.  Christ is my teacher.  He helps me to see the good in myself, to reach for more, helping me take those hard steps and urging me forward.  He is sitting by me too, asking questions and always helping me.  I want my prayers to be like that all the time.  I need to make more time for this gift and put in the WORK!

Two great scriptures on prayer, that have been especially meaningful for me as I have studied.

Romans 8:26-28     Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalms 46:1     God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

The words  of this hymn spoke to my soul!

Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire

  1. Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, Uttered or unexpressed, The motion of a hidden fire That trembles in the breast.
  1. Prayer is the burden of a sigh, The falling of a tear, The upward glancing of an eye When none but God is near.
  1. Prayer is the simplest form of speech That infant lips can try; Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach The Majesty on high.
  1. Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, The Christian’s native air, His watchword at the gates of death; He enters heav’n with prayer.
  1. Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice, Returning from his ways, While angels in their songs rejoice And cry, “Behold, he prays!”
  1. The Saints in prayer appear as one In word and deed and mind, While with the Father and the Son Their fellowship they find.
  1. Nor prayer is made on earth alone: The Holy Spirit pleads, And Jesus at the Father’s throne For sinners intercedes.
  1. O thou by whom we come to God, The Life, the Truth, the Way! The path of prayer thyself hast trod; Lord, teach us how to pray.

Text: James Montgomery Music: George Careless

Sometimes the best prayer that is needed is just a sigh or tear or yearning in the heart.  I know that Heavenly Father has answered my prayers, and He usually will answer them in a better way that I think, hope, or want and that is a gift!  As I continue to work on my prayers and continue to work through my life, I know I will continue to receive something better, something more lasting; that constant support and constant care.  Prayer is work and it is totally worth it!

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