Sunday, June 28, 2015

He Hears our Prayers and Knows our Hearts

My heart has been anxious to share my feelings and thoughts as I have studied the conference talks this past week.  I have certainly learned the value of having questions in mind when studying scriptures.  I feel like each day, a different question was answered.

From "Returning to the Faith," Sister Wixom shares insights from Mother Theresa's life: "Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show Himself--for there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead...Ask the Lord to give me courage."  I was touched to learn that someone so selfless and in tune with spiritual things felt the way I have felt so many times over the years.  I definitely go through spurts where I feel more in-tuned with the spirit, and times where I truly feel like I am in darkness.  I appreciated the response her leader gave her: "God guides you, dear Mother, you are not so much in the dark as you think.  The path to be followed may not always be clear at once.  Pray for light; do not decide too quickly, listen to what others have to say, consider their reasons.  You will always find something to help you....Guided by faith, prayer, and by reason with a right intention, you have enough."  That light we need to pray for is the light of Christ.  His light is brighter and stronger than the darkness brought on by the adversary.  Listening to others is great counsel, as it is often through others that our prayers are answered.  Just yesterday, my own Mother shared some of her struggles to be more selfless and Christ-like, and what she has done to try to improve herself.  Although she had shared this with me before, I needed to hear it again.  Her greatest wisdom was: "Pray to love" when it seems your patience is running thin.  She shared several examples of how this has allowed her to see others through Christ's eyes and better understand them.

Elder Teixeira, in his talk "Seeking the Lord." counseled: "'[Seek] me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.'  Seeking the Lord and feeling His presence is a daily quest, a worthwhile effort."  This reminder was pertinent to me because I often take for granted the treasures of the Gospel and scriptures.  I take for granted that, at one time or another, my testimony has been strong and sure, so surely I will never struggle to maintain it.  Then, before I even realize it is happening, I find myself in that darkness.  I find myself lost and unsure.  But, what wise counsel: It is a daily quest.  We cannot stop striving to seek the Lord in our lives.  "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."  How often I have forgotten this loving counsel.  I truly believe that our Savior wants us to lean on Him.  He wants us to remember what great sacrifices He made for us, so that we don't have to try to do things, especially hard things, on our own.

Finally, Bishop Causse, in "Is it Still Wonderful to You?" shares this thought: "To marvel at the wonders of the gospel is a sign of faith.  It is to recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives and in everything around us."  He then shared the Book of Mormon story of the people who witnessed the miraculous signs of Jesus's birth.  After years passed, they began to forget what they had witnessed and felt, and even began to disbelieve all that they had heard and seen.  Wise follow-up counsel from Marcel Prout says "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."  That is why we must make a daily effort to study and review the scriptures.  We have the opportunity, every time we open those sacred works, to rediscover glorious, loving teachings; to experience the spirit testifying to us; and to receive counsel from teachings we have forgotten.

Through this experience,  I felt extreme gratitude and love for my Heavenly Father.  He knew I would need this counsel at this time in my life, and he filled my vessel daily.  What a blessing to have these conference talks available to us from our modern-day prophets, apostles, and church leaders.  I am truly grateful to Heavenly Father for being aware of my struggle, and for knowing how to reach out to me so that I would not feel so lost and alone.  We are blessed to have this knowledge.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.