June 25, 2011

Mighty Prayer: Praise

I came across the following quote from a website by Joe Vigliano entitled "Prayers of Praise" that gave an interesting definition that I really liked about praise as part of our prayers:

"Many people consider prayers of praise to be the “highest” form of prayer. Why? A prayer of praise is all about God. We ask for nothing, we seek nothing, we focus on nothing but God himself.

"Compare that to when we thank God for things we received. When we confess things we did. When we wait upon the Lord so that we may sense His presence or hear from Him. And when we ask for something, it’s either for us or we’re acting on behalf of someone else.

"But when we praise, it’s God and only God. At its best, it’s completely self-forgetting, the very idea of what it means to be a Christian."

Perhaps one of the best example's of the Savior giving praise in His own prayer is that of the Lord's prayer:

"Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen."

I find this aspect of prayer to be one of the hardest to apply, yet it seems that if we truly want to become more in-tune with God through prayer, we must learn this important aspect of mighty prayer.

June 20, 2011

Christlike Attributes: Experience

As I have thought about the last week of the Savior's life over the past few month, I have thought of the powerful message that the Lord "chose to experience pains and afflictions in order to understand us." [1] "He could have known how to succor us simply by revelation, but He chose to learn by His own personal experience." [2]

The fact that Jesus chose to know suffering is remarkably powerful.

My mind turns back to my own experience when I sat in the Church of All Nations, located in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. The Church is a beautiful chapel designed to feel like a garden. Trees are painted on some of the walls, and stars cover the ceiling. The room is dark and purposely so. As I sat all on my own, my mind turned to the many things that I had done, and the pain that I had caused the Savior. Yet, just as my mind filled with this pain, it was then replaced with a peace and power beyond description.

I can't help but think that one of the reasons His sacrifice has the power it does, is because he chose to experience. As I thought of this, it made me realize that this attribute of choice brought Him great power. Through His experience, He gained insight into our lives. Insight that not only made Him understand us, but most importantly for me, made Him more compassionate and forgiving. I wonder if part of the refinement that made Him who is, was the fact that He experienced so much pain. Had He never suffered I wonder if He would be the compassionate Savior I know Him as. And perhaps even more is because He chose to suffer, He is all the more compassionate.

This Christlike attribute is quite simple. Because Jesus chose to experience our pains, He likewise chooses to be understanding. He never uses His suffering to make Himself greater than us (though He is), He only uses His suffering to make us greater.

Why is this important to us? Because as we learn to suffer with those around us, we too have two choices to choose from. We can choose to make our similar suffering something that makes us better than others (pride), or we can choose to allow this suffering to help us make someone greater than they are. We can, like the Master, choose to see the greatness of trials and the refining power they have in making others great. We can see the true potential of a soul behind the sorrow and sadness.

How grateful I am that the Savior chose to experience my pain, and that He chose to then use this understanding to better understand me, and to lift by burdens, that my burden might be light. And most important, that He then choose to use His greater suffering, to make me greater!