Pray Always

"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God, it changes me." --C. S. Lewis

Along with the thousand other things I'd like to do--sharing my testimony in bits and pieces here and there on this blog is one of them.

I decided to start with one of the first principles I came to truly understand very early on in my life. And that is prayer. 

I was taught to pray as a little girl. And now that I think about it--it's one of the best gifts my parents could've given me. They taught me to get on my knees to pray before I went to sleep every night. And so I did. You might say this was also the beginning of my testimony of obedience as well. 

Being so young, it began as something to check off my to-do list: brush teeth, go potty, get a drink of water, and say your prayers. But it wasn't until sometime in gradeschool I started to see the blessings that came from answered prayers and the undeniable benefits that came from consulting with my Father each night before I went to sleep.

I loved this quote so much I had to make it into a little print. Download quote here, if you'd like.

I remember praying for years that my dad wouldn't have to work on Sundays anymore. A great blessing that was eventually given to our family. I remember fervently praying I would do well in my geography bee in 5th grade--or later when I'd tryout for something in highschool or had some sort of performance. And oh how I'd pray to drive safely. Which sounds so cliche, but after being a small 9 year-old slightly traumatized after our family was in an awful car accident, it was anything but. And then, there were always those moments of spontaneous desparation, such as killing my truck, losing my wallet, forgetting about a test--I prayed then too. Point is: I prayed about everything from the big stuff to the small stuff. The answers that came weren't always what I wanted, but the answers that came never ceased to prove to me that I had someone greater than me advocating my cause and if it mattered to me then it mattered to Him. 

In the middle of all of this, I began developing an anxiety disorder around 10 years old. My parents and I didn't know what to do, and so I did what I always do--I prayed, we prayed. I'm pretty sure everyone in my family was praying for me. Heavenly Father didn't take it away (like I asked Him to hundreds of times), but He slowly provided me the understanding and mind exercises I needed for me to keep myself in control of my thoughts. I can't imagine where I'd be today had prayer not been a major part of my arsenal used to conquer this trial of mine. This was when I first found my Savior, and experienced the blessings of the Atonement. I discovered the scriptures--although I was too young to understand a lot of them, I knew they fortified me and increased my ability to feel the Spirit. 

Prayer made me love and trust my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and therefore made accepting the truthfulness of the Gospel one of the easiest things I've ever done.

And I pray still. However, it seems now my prayers are about much weightier matters. I hate to admit there are times I find the more I need to pray about the more daunting the task. And there are times I can't get on my knees fast enough. The word safety takes on about twenty different meaning as does the word pain. Thankfully, I always get to start out with gratitude. There are few things as therapeutic for me as telling my Father in Heaven everything I'm grateful for. It grants peace, perspective and ability to sort through the rest of my thoughts.

It's funny how writing this has made me realize how huge prayer has been to me in my life. I've always known of its importance to me, but writing about it has made me see how prayer has been the gateway to many, if not all, of the blessings I have today. Another thing I love about it--everyone can do it. No matter who, when, where or how. Everyone can pray.

One of my most favorite talks on the subject is by Elder David E Bednar in the 2008 General Conference titled: Pray Always. I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard this talk because it was such an "Ah-ha!" moment for me. If you're interested in learning more about the subject you can read it here.

1 comment:

  1. What a sweet testimony, Jasmine...and something I needed to hear today.. Thank you