Wednesday, May 29, 2019

President Russell M. Nelson on sacred personal prayer

President Russell M. Nelson (born 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 became president of that quorum on July 15, 2015. Following the death of President Monson, he was set apart as president of the Church on January 14, 2018.
"Have you gone to a quiet, secluded spot to be all alone? Have you found your own 'Sacred Grove' equivalent, where you can pour out the secret longings of your soul in prayer to your Father in Heaven? Have you really conversed with God as one man speaks to another? Have you really declared your allegiance to him and your availability to him, without any reservation? Have you said, 'Here I am Lord! Use me!'? Have you pleaded with him, and as you did, have you put behind any counterfeit clich├ęs that may have been part of your prayers in the past? Have you cleanly and completely declared your commitment to be a saint, an elder, a righteous disciple through good times and bad? Such a resounding resolution would bring joy to your Heavenly Father."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Reflection and Resolution," BYU devotional, January 7, 1990
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This is an inspiring invitation from President Nelson. Speaking to BYU students almost two decades ago, he challenged them to a level of prayer that would bring them close to God and result in profound blessings.

The challenge starts with finding a "'Sacred Grove' equivalent" for our personal communication with God. The need for solitude and quiet peace is critical to making the process effective. Once we find that environment, we then are prepared to "pour out the secret longings of your soul in prayer."

The part of President Nelson's challenge that particularly inspired me was the level of commitment he invites us to make as part of our prayers. We not only "cleanly and completely" declare our allegiance to God and desire to follow Him in humble obedience, but also declare our availability—our willingness to participate and contribute in any way that God would ask of us. In effect, we consecrate our lives to Him. That is a level of powerful, profoundly sincere and humble prayer that we all should aspire to.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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