"Relief of poverty, relief of illness; relief of doubt, relief of ignorance--relief of all that hinders the joy and progress of a woman."
--John A Widtsoe

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lesson: Prayer and the elements thereof

This is the Inspirational lesson given on 3 March 2013 in Rockingham Ward Relief Society. We discussed what prayer was and analysed its parts. All sisters were encouraged this week to put a bit of thought into their prayers.

  1. I. What is Prayer?
    1. A. Direct communication from us to Heavenly Father.
      1. i. Instinctive, natural, necessary.
      2. ii. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
        Prayer is powerful because we are encouraged to ask the Supreme Being for things such as wisdom, knowledge, blessings, comfort, etc.
    2. B. Different types of prayer, such as...
      1. i. Ordinance prayers
      2. ii. Invocations and Benedictions (prayers on behalf of a group)
      3. iii. Family prayers
      4. iv. Personal prayer. (I'll be speaking mostly on this today)
  2. II. Preparing to pray
    1. A. Attitude of humility, sincerity, faith
      1. i. Folding arms, bowing head, closing eyes... kneeling.
      2. ii. Giving yourself over to the will of God, and opening yourself to the influence of the Holy Ghost.
        Humbleness is the key to opening yourself up to Him. You will receive the answers to prayers better with an attitude of humility.
      3. iii. Language -- intimate, respectful, personal.
        Do not be afraid to be honest with the Lord.
        1. a. Thou, thee, thy/thine (Second Person Singular, not in much use in Post-Industrial Modern English, except in religious contexts)
          1. i. You are not required to use the Second Person Singular when we pray. We should use words that appropriately convey a loving, worshipful relationship with God.
          2. b. The same intimate, respectful language forms are used in other languages, eg Spanish, French.

      This is what we teach our Primary Children: "I Pray in Faith". Simple, clear, concise.

    2. III. What are the elements of a personal prayer? (Matt 6:9-16)
      1. A. Salutation -- Addressing Heavenly Father, acknowledging him as our Eternal Father and the God of our creation. (Our Father who Art in Heaven. Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven...)
      2. B. Gratitude -- Show gratitude and humility.
      3. C. Ask for things you need. This is what makes prayer so powerful. We can inquire of our Heavenly Father.
      4. D. Close in the Name of Jesus Christ. He is the Great Mediator.
        As communication is a two-way street, after the end of prayer is a good time to be still, listen and meditate.

    3. Matthew 6:9-16
      1. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
      2. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
      3. Give us this day our daily bread.
      4. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
      5. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

    4. IV. Purpose of Prayer
      1. A. Questions
        1. What do I expect from prayer?
        2. What obstacles prevent me from praying daily?
        3. Why have I been given this powerful tool?