Christ Teaches Prayer

In Third Nephi, we just studied from three or four chapters which beautifully illustrated Christ teaching the Nephites and Lamanites about prayer. He began with reciting what is now endearingly referred to as The Lord’s Prayer in chapter 13. Then in chapter 17, the words that flowed from His mouth in prayer could only be described like this:  “The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father; And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.” (3 Nephi 17:16-17.) Can we really “conceive of the joy” that they would have felt listening to their Savior, Jesus Christ, pray to His Father? I can only imagine that there was not a dry eye around, and that everyone’s heart was full of sublime joy – ready to almost burst from the special spirit of the moment!

Earlier in the chapter, Christ gave the people at the temple in Bountiful – as well as to us! – some simple guidelines to help us in prayer. We read, “…go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds…”            (3 Nephi 17:3) When we pray, do we remove ourselves from the hustle and bustle of the day (going unto our home), do we ponder upon Christ’s words, do we ask the Father, do we prepare our minds for an answer? Or do we quickly hop into bed right after saying, “Amen?” With the numerous times that Christ taught that if we ask we shall receive; or for whatsoever we ask in faith we shall receive; or ask the Father in my name; why don’t we have the faith and hope in Christ to truly believe His words?  The adversary really knows how to mess with our heads by trying to make us feel inadequate to pray…unworthy…dirty…even undeserving. Christ encourages us to pray; the adversary discourages us.

I don’t know if Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam was writing about prayer when he penned his recent hit, Just Breathe, but the words certainly fit:

“Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t I’m a fool you see…
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.”

Every day of our life is a chance for us to come clean from past mistakes or bad habits. As we do so, and as we go to our Heavenly Father in sincere, heartfelt prayer, we can certainly make weak things become strong unto us, and we can become more receptive to the Lord’s Spirit in response to our prayers. Maybe…just maybe…we could get a small taste of that joy felt by those present, listening to Christ praying, and truly feel that communication with heaven. When life gets difficult, go to a quiet place, ponder, ask and prepare…and Just Breathe!

(Please enjoy this link and the lyrics of Just Breathe by Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam.)

Yes, I understand that every life must end,
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go,
Yeah I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands
The ones I love.

Some folks just have one,
Yeah, others, they’ve got none.

Stay with me,
Let’s just breathe.

Practiced are my sins,
Never gonna let me win,
Under everything, just another human being,
Yeah, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world
To make me bleed.

Stay with me,
You’re all I see.

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t I’m a fool you see.
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.

I wonder everyday
As I look upon your face.
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take.
Nothing you would take
Everything you gave.

Did I say that I need you?
Oh, did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t I’m a fool you see,
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.

Nothing you would take,
Everything you gave.
Hold me till I die,
Meet you on the other side.

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