Asking God to help us share the gospel

We properly pray for the safety and success of the full-time missionaries throughout the world. And a common element in many of our prayers is a request that the missionaries will be led to individuals and families who are prepared to receive the message of the Restoration. But ultimately it is my responsibility and your responsibility to find people for the missionaries to teach. Missionaries are full-time teachers; you and I are full-time finders. And you and I as lifelong missionaries should not be praying for the full-time missionaries to do our work!

If you and I would truly pray and ask in faith, as did Joseph Smith—if we would pray with the expectation to act and not just to express—then the work of proclaiming the gospel would move forward in a remarkable way. Such a prayer of faith might include some of the following elements:

• Thanking Heavenly Father for the doctrines and ordinances of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which bring hope and happiness into our lives.

• Asking for courage and boldness to open our mouths and share the gospel with our family and friends.

• Entreating Heavenly Father to help us identify individuals and families who will be receptive to our invitation to be taught by the missionaries in our homes.

• Pledging to do our part this day and this week and petitioning for help to overcome anxiety, fear, and hesitation.

• Seeking for the gift of discernment— for eyes to see and ears to hear missionary opportunities as they occur.

• Praying fervently for the strength to act as we know we should. Gratitude would be expressed, and other blessings might be requested in such a prayer, which would be closed in the name of the Savior. And then the consecrated work of that prayer would continue and increase.

This same pattern of holy communication and consecrated work can be applied in our prayers for the poor and the needy, for the sick and the afflicted, for family members and friends who are struggling, and for those who are not attending Church meetings.

I testify that prayer becomes meaningful as we ask in faith and act. I invite all of us to pray in faith about our divinely given mandate to proclaim the gospel. As we do so, I promise doors will open and we will be blessed to recognize and act upon the opportunities that will be provided.

Elder David A. Bednar, “Ask in Faith,” Ensign, May 2008, pp. 95-96

Putting off the natural man

The natural man is truly God’s enemy, because the natural man will keep God’s precious children from true and everlasting happiness. Our full happiness requires our becoming the men and women of Christ.

The meek men and women of Christ are quick to praise, but are also able to restrain themselves. They understand that on occasion the biting of the tongue can be as important as the gift of tongues.

The man and woman of Christ are easily entreated, but the selfish person is not. Christ never brushed aside those in need because He had bigger things to do! Furthermore, the men and women of Christ are constant, being the same in private as in public. We cannot keep two sets of books while heaven has but one.
Continue reading

Increasing our circles of love

Yet another passage from Neal A. Maxwell’s incredible talk at the 2002 Womens Conference:

“So profound and comprehensive is Christ’s love that even during His infinite suffering, He still noticed and nurtured finite sufferers who endured so much less anguish than He had to bear. For instance, He noticed and restored an assailant’s severed ear in the Garden of Gethsemane. On the cross, He directed John to take care of His mother, Mary. He comforted a thief on a nearby cross.

“In contrast, when you and I let ourselves get stuck in the ooze of our own self-pity, we fail to notice the needs of others. With a little more effort, we can become a little more noticing and a little more nurturing. Let us reflect on our circles of love. Are they increasing in size, or are they static? What is the quality of our caring for those within those circles? Do we avoid lazy stereotyping? It’s so easy to deal with people as functions and stereotypes instead of as individuals. Are we lovingly patient with others who are also striving to develop? Or do we, judgmentally and impatiently, constantly pull up the daisies to see how their roots are doing?”

This last line is a lot like C. S. Lewis’ comment about eggs.

The danger of liberation without self control

“Whatever liberates our spirit without giving us self-control is disastrous.”
– Goethe

“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” (Proverbs 25:28)
[The King james Version reads: “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”]

“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6)

Take the scaffolding away and character is what is left

Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s great talk on character, given at the 2002 BYU Women’s Conference and reprinted in the April 2004 Ensign, contains these great thoughts (emphasis added):

Building on His firm foundation requires us to emulate Christ’s character. There is no joy nor is there any security in giving Him mere lip service. Emulating Him is the key, and our emerging character is the refined structure of our souls. After all the circumstantial scaffolding comes down, character is what is left.

Whatever the remaining distance between us and Him, it is ours to travel. The beckoning stepping-stones are there. You have come thus far by faith in Him, though you have “miles to go before [you] sleep,” and your faith will take you even farther.