When I pray, pray more fervently

A few weeks ago I challenged my Sunday school class (16-17 year olds) to pray five minute per day for five weeks straight. Had I been more inspired at the time I should have promised them blessings. I only promised them dinner at our home. 

Dutiful teacher that I am, I followed my own advice during the same period of time. I have been richly blessed. 

My faith in God has increased. I am more willing to believe in Him and accept His will is more informed than my own. 

My desire to study His word has increased. I want to commit scriptures to memory to have verses, stories, and entire chapters to draw on when necessary. I want to learn more of the contexts of famous (and less famous) stories, so I can drawn additional conclusions from them to bless my life and others’. 

The power of my prayers has increased. With increased faith I am more willing to give thanks. I am more willing to ask for miracles in my life and be patient until hey are accomplished. When praying in public, I sound like I have a relationship with God. (I swear the goal is not to toot my own horn.)

My wife notices a change in me, and encourages it. Last night we were talking about results of doing this, and she said she’s never been more in love with me. 

This action can alter the course of your life. In a world where clickbait and crap fills your feed, this actually can change you–because you deliberately choose to be changed. 

I’m going to continue. Yes, it may seem weird to start a stopwatch (always count up) every time I kneel for my evening pray. But it keeps me honest and ensures I’m on my knees, praying for at least five minutes. 

Join me. And if you do, let me know your struggles and how your life changes. 

Praying invites spiritual power

A few weeks ago, I challenged my Sunday school class to pray daily for 5 minutes. To achieve this challenge, at least one prayer each day must be at least 5 minutes long. 

My intent was two-fold:

  1. I wanted them to increase their connection to God
  2. I wanted to have some drive to increase my connection to God

It had been a long time since I had been consistent in my formal prayers. Having a prayer in the heart is easy. Taking time to formally humble myself and address God is much more difficult. 

Since requiring that one of my daily prayers lasts at least five minutes, I have noticed the following

  • I am more focused on spiritual things
  • I want to pray more often
  • My scripture study is more consistent
  • I am impacted more by spiritual impressions
  • I recognize the edges of my responsibilities
  • I am inspired to learn more about the gospel
  • I have motivation to achieve my spiritual goals
  • My spiritual power has increased

Each of these is a worthwhile outcome on its own. But all together is certainly worth the small sacrifice of five minutes. 

I want to record one clear blessing that I was inspired to recognize was a blessing of praying more frequently and more sincerely. 

Weekly, I work for about five hours in the temple. A few months ago part of my responsibilities was to pray during the endowment. Those prayers were good. They were adequate to the occasion and I tried to be inspired. 

Friday this week I covered a shift for someone else, and I got to pray again during the endowment. This time, I felt the weight of the responsibility. I understood I spoke on behalf of everyone worshipping in the room. I spent many hours considering the things I should pray for. How could I pray sincerely and from the heart without multiplying many words or using trivialities?

Throughout the prayer I felt the spirit. I felt inspired to speak slowly, clearly, and deliberately. I prayed asking for blessings  that are not normally said during that specific prayer. I acknowledged our gratitude for other things that are rarely addressed. Not because either category is inappropriate, but because this prayer often becomes a checklist of what we are trained to pray. 

As I concluded the prayer, I was spiritually moved. I believe others also were (there were more sniffles among the company than current allergies could account for).

As I sat through the remaining instruction, I pondered why. Father granted me insight that my focus on prayer for the last few weeks was directly responsible for my ability to follow the spirit and pray powerfully on behalf of the company. 

To you, this might be self-evident: praying precedes power in prayer. It is a virtuous cycle. 

You may already have this testimony. But I am grateful to have it pointed out specifically and to have an experience to draw on.