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A Pattern for Prayer

A Pattern for Prayer

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in his "Improving our Prayers" (Liahona, August 2004, Pp. 16-23) used Psalm 37 as revealed David's words as "inspired process for active prayer and faith. He considered it as a "step-by-step process that may serve as a pattern for the latter-day saints to follow as they seek to increase their faith and improve the efficacy of their prayers."

These consists of 6 steps. "Fret Not" is the first step. To fret means to worry or to brood something. The first thing we must do is stop worrying. When we worry about the future, we create unhappiness in the present. Righteous concern may lead us to take appropriate action, but worrying about things we cannot control can paralyze and demoralize us. Instead of worrying, focus on doing all that you can, and then leave the worrying to your Heaven Father. If your heart is right with him, He will take care of the worry and the fear. We must learn to "fret not."

The second step is to "trust in the Lord." Why we should trust Him? Because He us our loving and all-wise Father in Heaven. Because He is the giver of all good gifts. Because He knows us and wants us to be happy and successful and to return to Him. God is in His heaven. He is perfect. He loves us. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

The third step is "do good." We do good because we are followers of Christ . We do good because we are members of His church. We do good because we have made solemn covenants to serve as a light unto the world. Our Heavenly Father expects our actions to serve as a living testimony to our words. As we do good, the Lord can bless our efforts.

This is not to say that we must never make a mistake, "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." The Lord requires that we seek Him with a humble heart, that a repent of our sins, and that we continue to do the best we can. As we make mistakes, we should learn from them and strive not to repeat them. As we do so, we become ever more Christlike, ever more as men and women of God.

The fourth step is "delight thyself also in the Lord." Instead of worrying or grumbling that our prayers have gone unanswered, we should delight ourselves in the Lord. Be grateful. Be happy, know that the Lord, in His time, will bring about all your righteousness desires-sometimes in ways we predict, sometimes in ways we could not have possibly foreseen.

The fifth step is to "commit thy way unto the Lord." No matter what our worries are, commit yourself to keeping His commandments. Brethren, honor your priesthood. Sisters, cleave unto the Principles of light and truth. And the sixth step is "rest in the Lord." Sometimes the hardest things we can do is wait. The Lord has His own timetable, and although it may frustrate us, His timing is always perfect. When we rest in the Lord, we allow Him to work His will for us in His own time and in His own way.

"Prayer is the doorway through which we commence our discipleship to things heavenly and eternal. We will never be alone so long as we know how to pray," conclude Elder Wirthlin.


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