Friday, November 7, 2008

Watchful unto Prayer

I've been thinking more about symoblism and in conjunction with it, the power of prayer. What is it about my words and my thoughts that conveys strength to myself and others? Words themselves symbolize the greater realities of thought and actions. What we say is a reflection of what we have been thinking or will think or what we have done or will do. And, according to the scriptures, our thoughts, words, and actions are all vital parts of who we are and so must be monitored. Mosiah 4: 30 tells us, "if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds . . . even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish." Pretty strong words, and a lot for us imperfect humans to keep track of! Our thoughts, words, and deeds?
I started to wonder how I could better police myself. Through some cross-referencing, I came upon a scripture in Moroni 6:4, where those newly numbered among the church have "their names taken . . . to keep them continually watchful unto prayer." This phrase caught my eye- prayer is a tool for being watchful, a way to "watch myself." How so? Prayer is powerful because it can set the pattern for our thoughts and actions. In our prayers, we can pray for what we want to be thinking about, and pray for what we want to be doing. Prayer gives us a chance to look at who we are, decide with the Lord how we are going to purify ourselves, and then pray that new person into being: "I did this, I thought this, I said this . . . but tomorrow, I'm going to do this, think this, and say this," and by saying those things in our prayers, we are laying the foundation for creating the new us. It is only through the power of the Spirit that we can then take our projections and turn them into realities.
So what does prayer symbolize, at least on one level? Prayer symbolizes the eventual reality of who we will become if we let the words of our prayers be enacted in our lives. I think I might try this: if there is an attribute I want to try to develop, I will ask God to not only bless me with it but for him to send me opportunities to develop it. Hmm . . . that could feel a little risky, especially if I wanted to develop something like patience! But I think it might be worth it. What do you all think? How can our prayers help turn us into the people that we want to be?

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