01 February 2012

prayers, and the giving of.

was it just me, or was that the LONGEST stinking january of my entire life??  last week i was just sitting and thinking, and i thought, why is it still january?  this is terrible!

by no means am i excited that february is here.  no sir.  as far as today goes, february has been downright mean, thanks to the strangest occurrence of blinding vision that has now morphed into this massive headache.  i have every desire to throw the day away and try again tomorrow, but i can't do that as i possess no ability of magic whatsoever.  bummer.  if i did, i'd be able to will a dr. pepper, a big bag of m&m's, and a week's worth of completed assignments to my bed, among other things.

enough complaining, let's talk about something good!

this week at institute has been designated "gratitude challenge week" or something like that.  i myself am not a huge fan of themes - be it year-long for relief society lessons, month-long for institute dealios, hours-long for dinner parties, etc.  BUT i do like it when each day we're encouraged to do something special to help us remember to keep different values and mindsets.

today's challenge is to give prayers of gratitude only.

are you a pray-er?  i'm a big one.  as in, multiple times a day, i pretty much pray for everything.

sometimes they are long and good, kind of like in the way i was taught when i was younger.
sometimes they are super short, like a quick thank you or i need help or oh my goodness PLEASE don't let that driver hit that pedestrian.

most times i pray in my room.
lots of times in my car.
and also just when i'm walking on campus.
and even when i stand in one place while i wash the dishes or fold laundry.

but i'll tell you, it's hard for me to pray to Heavenly Father and not ask for any blessings.  because i'm a lame human being (see above whining) and i seriously need His help!  like, every second of every day!  and sometimes i worry, well if i don't pray and ask for patience today, i'm not going to have it.  or if i don't ask for my family to be safe, then they won't be.  or if i don't ask for so-and-so to have an extra helping of the Spirit today, he or she won't get it.  which is obviously not true, but i still feel as though something is lacking in my life if i don't ask for those things.  i've learned in the last few years what a blessing it is to ask for those kinds of unselfish things in my prayers.

so, today i've been thinking a lot about this AMAZING talk, which was followed up six months later by this OTHER AMAZING talk.  both were given by an apostle of the Lord a few years ago.  his name is Elder David A. Bednar, and as of very recently i've learned to love and respect this man with more intensity than i ever expected.  here's something he says in the first talk that i always try to remember:

Prayer is a privilege and the soul's sincerest desire.  We can move beyond routine and "checklist" prayers and engage in meaningful prayer as we appropriately ask in faith and act, as we patiently persevere through the trial of our faith, and as we humbly acknowledge and accept "not my will, but Thine, be done."

and from the second:

Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude.  Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts.

i don't know about you, but every time i'm asked to give one of these special prayers, it's at a time in my life where i feel as though i REALLY need to pray for myself because dang it, life is hard and i could use some boosts of blessings.  but i know better, and i know that praying with a heart full of gratitude is a blessing in itself - the fact that i am perfectly capable of looking past my own struggles and be less selfish to express my gratitude for everything that does right in my life is a blessing.  and i hope that you take advantage of that blessing, too.  happy praying!!

january photo challenge is over!!  whew!

if you care to look back, you may do so here.

also, if you'd like to do one yourself for february, the to-do list is here.  cheers!

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