(Read and Follow the Directions)
It was a looong, beautiful day. My feet are sooo tired, but there was a happy baby shower, and a church soup and chili dinner, and welcome house guests. So, GLADNESS.
I broke down my reading today into terms that I thought would be a little easier to apply to myself and had some interesting thoughts along the way.
One of the biggest thoughts was that we are actually supposed to pray for our own well-being and prosperity, but –
Even before we see any assurance of a positive answer to our prayer by Heavenly Father, we are commanded to give to those in greater need (i.e. fast offerings or charitable work or offerings) or our prayers are USELESS.
Whoa. I know, right? So, if it seems like your prayers are just bouncing off the ceiling, try fasting and making an offering to help those worse off than yourself. What a concept. It sure makes me think a little harder about how I’ve been doing some things.
Book of Mormon, Alma 34: 17-29
17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you; 18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save. 19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. 20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. 21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. 22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. 23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. 24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. 25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. 26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. 27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you. 28 And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith. 29 Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out, (it being of no worth) and is trodden under foot of men.
Wow. That’s powerful. I think along with that, we can help answer our own prayers. If we’re praying that someone in our ward may find comfort, we can do our best to help. If we pray for those who are struggling financially, then we can do our part in paying tithing and fast offerings. I think our prayers for others’ welfare become more effective when we do what we can to serve.
I think you are right! We need to ask AND act.
Also, I think that sometimes our own ability may be hindered, and then the best service or offering we may be able to give someone are focused, sincere prayers. I know one man with such a heart of service, that when he was bedridden, looked at a map of all the people in his neighborhood and, in his mind, went through it house by house, and prayed for each person and family. I know that his prayers didn’t stop at the ceiling! I know that many were touched by his selfless act of prayer and it changed them for the better.