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:
- I wanted them to increase their connection to God
- 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.