" Pray without ceasing " ~~ 1 Thess. 5:17
Some of my LDS friends have asked me "what" aspects of my life have changed since becoming a born again believer of the Lord. A few of my closest friends really wanted to know "what" could be better in my life now as a Christian vs. when I was LDS. I would have to honestly say that there are many areas that God has completed transformed in my life, since coming to a personal & saving relationship with Jesus -- but "if" I had to choose one area...... I would have to say the most drastic change that I have experienced has been in my prayer life.
When I was a young child, my mom would pray with me each day before bed. We would recite the Lord's prayer each night before bed, and then she would tuck me in and kiss me goodnight. This gave me a great sense of security knowing not only my mom loved me, but " My Father" did too. As I grew older though, this traditional prayer was simply not enough to satisfy my longing to have a closer relationship with God. When I became LDS I learned how to pray a more spontaneous prayer, but formal with the formal language of "thee, thine and thou". This is what I call the King James language. I say that because the Hebrew and Greek languages ( the languages the bible was written in) do not have the formal "thee and thine".
Even though as a LDS I did become more spontaneous in my prayers -- it still did not satisfy the longing I had to really fellowship with God. I so longed and looked for a more intimate and personal relationship with Him. In the last year of my time in the LDS church, I did begin to have some more personal prayers addressed to Jesus ( the LDS do not pray to Jesus, all their prayers are addressed to "heavenly father".) I noticed when I dropped the formality and focused on what I was expressing, then my prayers took a drastic change. They became more intimate.
Now, as a Christian I can say that my prayers are radically different than when I was LDS and when I was a child!!!! Now, I can't wait to get up in the morning and spend time with my Lord in fellowship......... it's a precious time of day for me. Just me & my Lord. It's the first thing I think about when I get up in the morning. I could never do that as LDS!! I could never no matter how hard I tried, get myself out of bed to pray early in the morning! I was lucky to sneak in a few minutes sometime in the morning between getting breakfast for my family and getting babies cleaned up! Now I find that is not the case! I am so anxious to get up in the morning to be with the Lord -- it's something I just can't wait to do!
The content of my prayers have changed dramatically as well. I no longer just focus on "my needs" but I have learned to love praying for others. It's such a blessing to sit and just pray for friends and family and even total strangers who may be sick, afflicted, needing encouragement, etc. I recently started a prayer journal to keep track of prayer requests, and answers too. I also love just taking time to give a prayer of thanks. I usually do these kinds of prayers at night before bed. I will just thank the Lord for everything......from food and good health, to the birds outside.
I also find that during the day, the Lord beckons me to pray ........ if I am being led, I will grab a cup of coffee and head off to a quiet place and spend some time in prayer again. Another thing I notice is the Holy Spirit's leading in prayers. As I sit to pray, I always love to begin my prayer time in worship... singing a song of praise to the lord.... at that time the lord may impress a certain thing I need to pray for. It's amazing how the Spirit can lead in prayer.
Not only has prayer become something absolutely precious -- I have seen huge changes in my children's prayer life!! They too have learned to pray from their heart. No longer the formal "we thank thee for food, clothes, we ask thee...." I am amazed at how intimate their prayers have become. They no longer need to fold their arms across their chests, as they did when they were LDS. LDS have a tradition of folding their arms across their chest . It supposed to help people maintain reverence..... and although I do believe one should be respectful when addressing our Lord, we certainly don't need to have our hands folded. Many times during prayer I will lift up my hands to heaven or just fold them simply on my lap.... there is no 'set way' of how we should keep our hands. The Lord truly cares about what is in our heart, not the formalities of "how" it's done. Thank you Lord! The kids love that freedom to express themselves as they feel led during prayer. I do ask that they maintain a worshipful attitude but they are not required to fold their arms, as when they were LDS. No more formalities.
I also want to note that prayer is a huge huge part of the Christian's life. I realized this quickly when I became involved in our local church. I began to attend prayer meetings, and there is also a time set aside each Sunday at the beginning of service for prayer. My pastor has also called on us to have a time set aside at the end of Church to pray for the lost. Each Thursday night, the women in our church get together for prayer. The men do the same. We pray with the children of our church. Believers are a praying people -- that is what I have noticed. When I talk to a friend who is a believer, and they are having a hard time or are sick or in need of encouragement, we will pray. That maybe on the phone even! It's such a blessing!!
When I was LDS I would never tell someone why don't we stop and pray and ask God for help... or healing or whatever the need may be........I would tell LDS friends that I would place their name on the temple prayer roll, but collective and corporate prayer is not a integral part of the LDS church. When a friend was sick, I would typically make them some bread and soup and drop it off and tell them I hope they feel better -- but ask to pray with them? No, that just wasn't a part of the way things are done.
Now as a believer that is precisely the first thing Christians will think of doing! "I'll be in prayer for you" is often heard in Christian circles. What a blessing! What a wonderful thing it is to know that one is being lifted up in prayer thru the difficulties of life!
Prayer has become so precious, so sweet...... such a huge part of my life and the life of my children. I'll even find myself praying while I am on the ride mower mowing the grass, or when I am in the kitchen cooking, or in the car, etc. Praying without ceasing....... the Lord has taught me what that is and how very precious it is!
" Pray always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit" Eph. 6:18
I am so thankful to Jesus for teaching me how to pray, truly pray. Not just a wrote pray ... but truly a prayer from the heart........
I never realized how very precious prayer can become in the life of a believer. Thank you Lord, for lovingly teaching me what it truly means to pray. Thank you for capturing my heart, my mind and my life..... I so long to worship you...... you are my all in all.
I love you, Jesus.