Wow! Do the grueling episodes from this week’s Mosiah chapters give you pause too? Amulon is the ultimate toxic person. This story reminds us that difficult circumstances and people are the groundwork of this mortal experience. Even the “most blessed” of us navigate them on a reoccurring basis. While this might seem like bad news…it’s not.
Part of our spiritual journey is reaching out to heaven for help and relief through prayer and faithful living. Prayer is powerful. Prayer changes things. However, have you noticed the answers to our prayers rarely match our desired, well thought-out remedies?
There’s a learning curve to praying and to receiving personal revelation. After a lifetime, I’ve discovered the kinds of prayers which, guaranteed, don’t work. For example, when I was much younger, I used to pray that the Lord would zap completely, onerous people with lightening or send fire-breathing dragons their way as a relief to my hardships (true story).
It never happened once.
Prayers that Work
On the other hand, Alma and his people unveiled one of the Universe’s secret keys to happiness, to well-being, and to inner peace. Their prayers get results.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage [or dealing with any unpleasant situation]; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions [or awkward, tough circumstances].
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.Mosiah 24:14-15
Similar to their experience, the prayer I discovered which works every time is, “Heavenly Father, please make me equal to what I face.” Challenges don’t disappear but how they look and feel to me improves remarkably. My sense of capacity increases and their weight decreases.
Possible discussion question: Why does this prayer successfully gain Heaven’s partnership?
Parable of the Beam & the Mote
The parable of the beam and the mote clues us into better prayer. The Savior told us to worry about what is in our own eye rather than anyone else’s (Matthew 7:3-5) . Not necessarily because ours is the bigger fault or guilt because many times they are not. Instead, it’s because the beam-sized business between you and the Savior is…you. Specifically, growing you. What others are doing is the mote. Life isn’t so much about what happens to us, it is how we respond to what happens which matters. The bottom-line message? Let Christ worry about the misdeeds of others, you have enough on your plate.
Besides, we’re miserable when we focus on the guilt of others or worry about what other people deserve. Like noise-canceling headphones, indignation and resentment quash happiness.
Submitting to Christ means calling on Him, pulling Him into the picture and trusting Him. It means conquering your knee-jerk reactions toward others or even yourself. “Submitting” does not imply adopting the degrading story of your oppressor or your hard situation. Alma’s people found their strength and their sense of well-being by deferring to Christ, not anyone else. Amulon could bind them down for a time but he couldn’t break them. The process of strengthening and conquering ourselves despite afflictions is an elevating process.
May your prayers bless you and bring down the powers of heaven in times of need. Timshel**
Optional: Watch Now “Prayers that don’t work” video (98 seconds long).
Optional: read another post about effective prayers “2 Stories and a Larger Heart.”
**Timshel (Hebrew for “thou mayest” rise up and accomplish anything).