By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Some Thoughts on Prayer

Prayer is a gift to us from Heavenly Father. We can communicate directly with Him as we make our way through life. True, it isn't as simple as talking to our neighbor when we can clearly hear what he says and respond to that. Still, as we gain prayer experience, we gain a greater closeness to God and a greater understanding of how He answers us and what those answers are.

In the Church, we are given some basic instruction about how to pray. I think that is very helpful to those who have little or no prayer experience. One has to start somewhere and a little guidance is a marvelous thing. We also are urged to use "thee" and "thou" rather than "you" and "your." I like this--it feels more like "God language" somehow, perhaps due to the word usage in the King James Version of the Bible, which I also prefer. It helps me shift to a more spiritual frame of mind if there is a shift in language.

Prayer is personal. How we talk to God is something that is solely between us and Him. Some instruction or advice can get you started, but ultimately everyone finds his own way. I do not think God is all that particular--He just wants us to talk to Him, to turn to Him.

I find something special in prayer. It is a quiet time to commune with God and to feel closer to Him. It is a time to not feel so alone, to feel comforted and reassured. It can also be a time to gain insight, understanding, and direction. Not every prayer will be all of those things, but every prayer can be a direct link to our Heavenly Father, Who loves us more completely and more perfectly than anyone else can.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Drawing Near to the Lord

Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (D & C 88:63)

It is up to us to draw near unto the Lord. That is because we have agency. The Lord is always there for us, waiting patiently with open arms, but He will not force us to Him. He will, however, respond, as evidenced by the phrase, "...and I will draw near unto you."

In the above quoted scripture, notice the verbs: draw, seek, ask, knock. These are actions we must take. We must actively work toward the Lord and we must do so diligently. A one time effort or a half-hearted effort will not do, if we want to find the peace and joy and truth that await us.

This is something I have been working on all my life. Sometimes I am diligent and sometimes I am not, but it is always my choice as to whether I put in the consistent effort to read scripture, pray, attend meetings, and read the words of our modern day prophets. I can tell the difference. When I put in the effort, I feel close to the Lord. When I do not, I feel alienated from Him. He is not the one who moved.

The verse above also implies that we must listen for what the Lord has to tell us. That means learning how He talks to us. We can ask Him in our prayers to teach us how He talks to us. We can notice in scripture and in the words of the prophets how He has communicated with others, to give us ideas of how He might communicate with us. We can make time in our prayers to be still and quiet, holding the thought of the Lord in our minds, listening for His response.

Learning to draw near to the Lord is one of the most important and most basic things we can do as we seek to work out our salvation.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Victor Borge Was a Delightful Man

This morning, as I was shopping at Borders, I discovered a 3-disc set of Victor Borge's television shows. I grabbed them up in 2 seconds flat!

Victor Borge was a talented classical pianist who also had a gift for humor and was a charming entertainer. You can read more about him here at Wikipedia. I saw him on television frequently when I was a child and always enjoyed his performances.

He did a comedy routine called "Phonetic Punctuation" that was funny and different. His gestures and facial expressions were a large part of his humor, although I've enjoyed his books as well. In his younger days, he told anti-Nazi jokes and managed to get himself on Hitler's enemies list. He escaped to America with $20 and no English. It is an interesting life of hard work and talent and persistence.

Years ago my supervisor at work told me he had been close to Victor's son, Ronnie, in Vietnam, when they served there. Apparently, Ronnie was just as delightful and charming as his father was. Victor Borge died in 2000, but I am glad to see he has not been totally forgotten.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Trains and Boats and Planes

I enjoy traveling although I haven't done as much of it as I would like. Trains hold a particular fascination for me, perhaps because they are not so common anymore--a sort of nostalgia trip.

When I was 15, my family and I took a round trip on a train to Chicago where we spent several days sightseeing. I enjoyed Chicago, having never been to a big city before. But I loved the train trip. Part was overnight, but there was still time to enjoy the sights and the little glimpses into people's lives as we passed them. When I hear a train whistle, I think of how nice it would be to spend some time just riding trains around the country and doing some serious people-watching, as well as scenary-watching!

While in Chicago, we took a boat ride out on Lake Michigan. That was great--I'd never been on such a large body of water before (it was a vacation of firsts) and it was fascinating to see the water extend on to the horizon. Many years later, my mom and I took a boat ride up and down the river at Branson, Missouri. This was before it became so clogged with tourists. We went without reservations and had no trouble finding a good motel. We were able to see some great shows for $10 each. Imagine doing that now! And no traffic jams!

I didn't fly on an airplane until much later. I worked for a company that had it's home office in Dallas and they routinely flew people down for training of various kinds. I loved it! I was a little apprehensive that I would find myself afraid of flying, but that turned out to be my only fear. The acceleration of take-off is my favorite part. I loved seeing the tops of clouds and looking at the landscape far below. Soon after take-off, the view is the best--it's a bird's eye view, but you can still see people clearly and buildings and vehicles look like very realistic toys.

I enjoy car travel as well. You can stop and go as you please and enjoy the scenery. I enjoy it most when I don't have to drive. Then I can pay complete attention to the view. In fact, I think that letting someone else pilot the transportation is definitely the best way to go.

I enjoy sightseeing and visiting museums and other places of interest or just walking around a town and watching people, but the transportation is just as fascinating to me.