Monday, May 17, 2021

President Russell M. Nelson on morning prayer and study

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, and was serving in that quorum when he shared this message. He was set apart as president of the Quorum of Twelve on July 15, 2015, and then as president of the Church on January 14, 2018.
"Spiritual self-esteem begins with the realization that each new morning is a gift from God. Even the air we breathe is a loving loan from him. He preserves us from day to day and supports us from one moment to another (see Mosiah 2:21). 
"Therefore, our first noble deed of the morning should be a humble prayer of gratitude. Scripture so counsels: 'Pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto [you]: and [you] shall see his face with joy' (Job 33:26; see also Alma 34:21; Alma 37:37). 
"I did not fully appreciate the significance of prayerful greetings until I became a father myself. I am so grateful that our children never gave their mother or dad the silent treatment. Now I sense how our Heavenly Father may appreciate our prayers, morning and night. But I can imagine the pangs of his sorrow because of silence from any of his children.... 
"I learned long ago that a period of uninterrupted scriptural study in the morning brings enduring enrichment. I feel as did Jeremiah: 'Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart' (Jer. 15:16). Sacred scriptures have been repeatedly described as 'glad tidings of great joy' (Hel. 16:14; Mosiah 3:3; Alma 13:22; see also Luke 2:10). As we learn and abide their teachings, that joy becomes part of our lives." 
- Russell M. Nelson, "Joy Cometh in the Morning," General Conference October 1986; Click here to read the full talk
I've been an "early riser" all my life, and appreciate the blessing of the quiet early hours. But like many, I've had my "ups and downs" when it comes to the regularity of good habits. It's always beneficial to reconsider how precious time is being used.  Starting the day with the proper acknowledgement of our blessings and gifts from God is a critical step.

I think Elder Nelson's analogy about how it must feel to Heavenly Father to be given "the silent treatment" is very thought-provoking.

And of course, what better way to use the quiet morning hours than in "a period of uninterrupted scriptural study" with the promise of "enduring enrichment."  Why would I ever pass up that opportunity? The atmosphere and spirit we establish by having a good beginning will surely bless and enrich the rest of the day.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
January 6, 2015

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