I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Gospel Message Day 9

Prayers - Gratitude

I am so excited that this topic is what I drew to write about today. There is more than one reason for us to pray, but I believe prayers of gratitude is my favorite reason. All that I have and am comes from my Heavenly Father--how could I not want to thank Him?

True, it is a commandment:
"And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in al things, and obey not his commandments." (Doctrine & Covenants 59:21)

But for me it is more than that. I like to list my blessings--many at once or one or two in particular at various times. However, there is something vastly different when I pray to my Father and list those blessings, talk about them with Him, and thank Him for them. It is a precious and important time between my Father and me. I know my Father loves to bless me with what is (or eventually will be) for my good. Acknowledging His hand in my life is, for one, a humbling act on my part. But it also is an expression of my love for my Father and for what He does for me.

In every prayer, I try to include my gratitude for things. Especially if I have need to ask for something. I don't want Father to think I'm greedy. Yet a few years ago after October 2008 General Conference, I started to have Gratitude Prayers on occasion because of a story Elder Bednar shared in his talk. What his family learned is what I have come to learn, so I thought I would share his exact words:
During our service at Brigham Young University–Idaho, Sister Bednar and I frequently hosted General Authorities in our home. Our family learned an important lesson about meaningful prayer as we knelt to pray one evening with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Earlier in the day Sister Bednar and I had been informed about the unexpected death of a dear friend, and our immediate desire was to pray for the surviving spouse and children. As I invited my wife to offer the prayer, the member of the Twelve, unaware of the tragedy, graciously suggested that in the prayer Sister Bednar express only appreciation for blessings received and ask for nothing. His counsel was similar to Alma’s instruction to the members of the ancient Church “to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things” (Mosiah 26:39). Given the unexpected tragedy, requesting blessings for our friends initially seemed to us more urgent than expressing thanks.
Sister Bednar responded in faith to the direction she received. She thanked Heavenly Father for meaningful and memorable experiences with this dear friend. She communicated sincere gratitude for the Holy Ghost as the Comforter and for the gifts of the Spirit that enable us to face adversity and to serve others. Most importantly, she expressed appreciation for the plan of salvation, for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for His Resurrection, and for the ordinances and covenants of the restored gospel which make it possible for families to be together forever.
Our family learned from that experience a great lesson about the power of thankfulness in meaningful prayer. Because of and through that prayer, our family was blessed with inspiration about a number of issues that were pressing upon our minds and stirring in our hearts. We learned that our gratefulness for the plan of happiness and for the Savior’s mission of salvation provided needed reassurance and strengthened our confidence that all would be well with our dear friends. We also received insights concerning the things about which we should pray and appropriately ask in faith....
As we strive to make our prayers more meaningful, we should remember that “in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59:21). Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts. 

I can testify that Gratitude Prayers are powerful, sustaining, humbling, and sweet. That gratitude in prayers is not only polite, but the kindest thing to do if you are a child of God who loves their Father.

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