A few years ago, while serving as a member of the Young Women’s Presidency in my ward, we issued a “100 Day Book of Mormon Challenge” to our girls. Each of us picked a topic and read the book while searching for scriptures that pertained to our chosen topic. I made this suggestions thinking that it would be a great way to encourage a love of the Book of Mormon while teaching how powerful it can be in bringing the Spirit into our lives. Little did I know that this would be an exercise that would strengthen my testimony in ways I couldn’t have previously imagined.
I chose to study “PRAYER”. As I opened up the Book on the first day of our challenge, I began seeing references to prayer on every page. The introductory page spoke of the “spirit of prophecy and revelation.” It mentioned what men “must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.” And it invited all men to ponder its message and then ask God in faith in order to “gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.” As I continued to read, I began to see the communications between God and man in a different light. The story of Nephi and his brethren going back to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates, became a story about answers to prayers. The instructions given to Lehi and his family through the Liahona were often in answer to their righteous prayers. Enos knelt in mighty prayer and was forgiven of his sins. Alma the Younger was given the opportunity to repent in answer to the prayers of His father. The stripling warriors were taught by their mothers to have faith in God and pray to Him for their safety. The prayers of the faithful were answered again and again…
In the Bible Dictionary, we are taught that “as soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part.” I have found this to be true in my life. I do not remember at what point I was taught that I am a child of God, nor do I remember when I was first taught to pray. But I can’t remember a time in my life when I have not yearned for the ability to actively communicate with my Heavenly Father. The Bible Dictionary continues by saying that “prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.” What a great blessing it is to have been given a means by which we can communicate with God and come to understand His will for us.
Elder Richard G. Scott taught the following:
“Prayer is a supernal gift of our Father in Heaven to every soul. Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, the most all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful personage, encourages you and me, as insignificant as we are, to converse with Him as our Father. … It matters not our circumstance, be we humble or arrogant, poor or rich, free or enslaved, learned or ignorant, loved or forsaken, we can address Him. We need no appointment. Our supplication can be brief or can occupy all the time needed. It can be an extended expression of love and gratitude or an urgent plea for help. He has created numberless cosmos and populated them with worlds, yet you and I can talk with Him personally, and He will ever answer...”
Sometimes I find it difficult to pray. Sometimes, the fact that God is the creator of numberless cosmos makes me feel unimportant and insignificant. The past few months have felt that way for me. There have been many days when I have sat in my home and wondered if He is really there and if He really cares about me. But as I was studying this week, I was reminded of my experience while reading the Book of Mormon searching for references to prayer. I found them on nearly every page. During that “100 Day Challenge”, my testimony of the importance of prayer was strengthened as I saw its importance in the eyes of my Heavenly Father. As I read the final verses in Moroni chapter 10, I knew that He wanted me to “come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.” My knowledge that I am a child of God was renewed and my desire to communicate with Him was strengthened.
Today, I am grateful for that testimony. There are powers at work in my life which would have me not pray, but I know that my Father is there. I know that He wants me to come to Him with my problems. He wants to bless me and strengthen me in my trials. If there is anything keeping me from Him, it is of my own making. The words of a hymn come to mind and describe what I know to be true: I need thee ev’ry hour, Most gracious Lord. No tender voice like thine can peace afford. I need thee, oh, I need thee; Ev’ry hour I need thee! Oh, bless me now, my Savior; I come to thee! (LDS Hymns, #98)