Sunday, August 27, 2017

President Russell M. Nelson on the blessings of heartfelt prayer

President Russell M. Nelson (b. Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He was set apart as president of the Quorum of Twelve on July 15, 2015.
"Unfailing faith is fortified through prayer. Your heartfelt pleadings are important to Him. Think of the intense and impassioned prayers of the Prophet Joseph Smith during his dreadful days of incarceration in Liberty Jail. The Lord responded by changing the Prophet’s perspective. He said, 'Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.' (D&C 122:7)
"If we pray with an eternal perspective, we need not wonder if our most tearful and heartfelt pleadings are heard. This promise from the Lord is recorded in section 98 of the Doctrine and Covenants:
"'Your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord … and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
"'Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.' (D&C 98:2-3)
"The Lord chose His strongest words to reassure us! Seal! Testament! Sworn! Decreed! Immutable covenant! Brothers and sisters, believe Him! God will heed your sincere and heartfelt prayers, and your faith will be strengthened."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Face the Future with Faith," General Conference, April 2011
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President Nelson uses some important words to describe the kind of prayer we should be seeking: "tearful and heartfelt pleadings," "intense and impassioned," and "sincere and heartfelt." It's that word "heartfelt," which he uses three times, that intrigues me. The best prayers come from deep within the heart, and are more than superficial expressions of feelings or needs. When we are able to open up about the things that concern us deep inside, and truly converse with God about them, then the blessings will follow.

The other key is to "pray with an eternal perspective," knowing both that our challenges and problems are temporary, and that the promises and hope He offers are eternal:

President Nelson's ringing testimony is that a sincere, heartfelt prayer will not go unheeded or unanswered. What a blessing that is to us!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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