Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Soul's Desire

The Good News! today is about prayer, and I’d like to share one of my very favorite quotes on prayer with you. This came from Elder John A. Widtsoe, who was an apostle from 1921 to 1952. Every sentence is packed with meaning and instruction. He says, “Prayer is a request for further light, protection or whatever else is desired. Prayer is the first and greatest means of reading God's messages, for by intense prayer man gradually places himself in tune with the infinite so far as his request is concerned. Those who do not ask, naturally do not establish an understanding relationship with the unseen world, and no message appears. The Being of higher intelligence, to whom the request is directed, may or may not grant the prayer, but some answer will be given. Prayer has been said to be ‘the soul's sincere desire.’ Only when it is such will the fullest answer be obtained, and it is doubtful if such a prayer is ever refused. No prayer is unheard. The place and time of prayer are of less importance. Morning, noon and night, prayer is always fitting. However, it is well to be orderly, and to beget habits of prayer, and certain hours of the day should therefore be set aside for prayer, both in private and in the family. Frequent and regular prayer helps to remind man of his dependence on a Being of higher intelligence in accomplishing the great work of his heart. A man should pray always; his heart should be full of prayer; he should walk in prayer. Answers will then be heard as God pleases. Seldom is a man greater than his private prayers.”

“To become properly tuned with the guiding intelligent Being, one must not pray in a stereotyped way. A man must give himself to the matter devotedly desired in the form of prayer, and then support it with all his works. Prayer is active and not passive. If a thing is wanted a man must try to secure it. Then, as a man devotes all of himself to the subject of the prayer, his attitude becomes such as to make him susceptible to the answer when it shall be sent. Prayer may be said to be the soul's whole desire.”
(A Rational Theology [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1915], 76‑77.)

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