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How can we become better at praying? It is a question that most of us ask ourselves as serious disciples of Jesus Christ. In these chapters from the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Himself teaches us how to pray. If the Lord says this is how we should pray, then, there is something deep to learn.
Other interesting questions arise in these chapters. What does it mean to judge not? How can I beware of false prophets without making judgment calls? And what is my duty to forgive others? These are meaty question to discuss, so come join us for this 30-minute podcast by Scot and Maurine Proctor.
Scot and Maurine Proctor have researched the Savior’s life extensively, written about Him in books and articles, and have spent a great deal of time in Israel, walking in Jesus’ footsteps.
You can listen to the podcast in the link below on SoundCloud.
You can also find the podcast on the following platforms (click on the platform of your choice):
References Used in the Podcast not in Matthew 6 and 7.
18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is amighty to save.
19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in aprayer unto him.
20 Cry unto him when ye are in your afields, yea, over all your flocks.
21 aCry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your aenemies.
23 Yea, acry unto him against the bdevil, who is an enemy to all crighteousness.
24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
26 But this is not all; ye must apour out your souls in your bclosets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your ahearts be bfull, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your cwelfare, and also for the welfare of dthose who are around you.
President Henry B. Eyring and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland talk about what they’ve learned about prayer—March 2017, Face-to-Face https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/face-to-face/eyring-holland?lang=eng
This entire discussion is inspiring to hear.
President Henry B. Eyring, “I’m absolutely convinced, if we will prepare and really see ourselves as coming to the throne of God, then remarkable things can come.”
“Sometimes there are silences, at least for me.”
Elder Richard G. Scott “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer” April 2007
I have discovered that what sometimes seems an impenetrable barrier to communication is a giant step to be taken in trust. Seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time, in packets, so that you will grow in capacity. As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer. That pattern requires you to exercise faith in our Father’s capacity to respond. While sometimes it’s very hard, it results in significant personal growth.
He will always hear your prayers and will invariably answer them. However, His answers will seldom come while you are on your knees praying, even when you may plead for an immediate response. Rather, He will prompt you in quiet moments when the Spirit can most effectively touch your mind and heart. Hence, you should find periods of quiet time to recognize when you are being instructed and strengthened. His pattern causes you to grow.
… Be thankful that sometimes God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. Your character will grow; your faith will increase. There is a relationship between those two: the greater your faith, the stronger your character; and increased character enhances your ability to exercise even greater faith.
A key to improved prayer is to learn to ask the right questions. Consider changing from asking for the things you want to honestly seeking what He wants for you. Then as you learn His will, pray that you will be led to have the strength to fulfill it.
Prayer is a supernal gift of our Father in Heaven to every soul. Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, the most all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful personage, encourages you and me, as insignificant as we are, to converse with Him as our Father. Actually, because He knows how desperately we need His guidance.
Should you ever feel distanced from our Father, it could be for many reasons. Whatever the cause, as you continue to plead for help, He will guide you to do that which will restore your confidence that He is near. Pray even when you have no desire to pray. Sometimes, like a child, you may misbehave and feel you cannot approach your Father with a problem. That is when you most need to pray. Never feel you are too unworthy to pray.
Once I had an experience that caused me immense anxiety. It had nothing to do with disobedience or transgression but with a vitally important human relationship. For some time I poured my heart out in urgent prayer. Yet try as I might, I could find no solution, no settling of the powerful stirring within me. I pled for help from that Eternal Father I have come to know and trust completely. I could see no path that would provide the calm that is my blessing generally to enjoy. Sleep overcame me. When I awoke, I was totally at peace. Again I knelt in solemn prayer and asked, “Lord, how is it done?” In my heart, I knew the answer was His love and His concern
JST Matthew 7:17
What man among you, having a son and he shall be standing out, and shall say, Father, open thy house that I may come in and sup with thee, will not say, Come in my son; for mine is thine, and thine is mine.
Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry and he shall say, Here I am.
President Russell M. Nelson “Lessons from the Lord’s Prayer”, April 2009https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/lessons-from-the-lords-prayers?lang=eng
His request for “daily bread” includes a need for spiritual nourishment as well. Jesus, who called Himself “the bread of life,” gave a promise: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger.
JST Matthew 6:13
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass again us.
Doctrine and Covenants 64:9-10
Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive ona another, for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
President James E. Faust, “The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” April, 2007https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/04/the-healing-power-of-forgiveness?lang=eng
In the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania, a devout group of Christian people live a simple life without automobiles, electricity, or modern machinery. They work hard and live quiet, peaceful lives separate from the world. Most of their food comes from their own farms. The women sew and knit and weave their clothing, which is modest and plain. They are known as the Amish people.
A 32-year-old milk truck driver lived with his family in their Nickel Mines community. He was not Amish, but his pickup route took him to many Amish dairy farms, where he became known as the quiet milkman. Last October he suddenly lost all reason and control. In his tormented mind he blamed God for the death of his first child and some unsubstantiated memories. He stormed into the Amish school without any provocation, released the boys and adults, and tied up the 10 girls. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding five. Then he took his own life.
This shocking violence caused great anguish among the Amish but no anger. There was hurt but no hate. Their forgiveness was immediate. Collectively they began to reach out to the milkman’s suffering family. As the milkman’s family gathered in his home the day after the shootings, an Amish neighbor came over, wrapped his arms around the father of the dead gunman, and said, “We will forgive you.”1 Amish leaders visited the milkman’s wife and children to extend their sympathy, their forgiveness, their help, and their love. About half of the mourners at the milkman’s funeral were Amish. In turn, the Amish invited the milkman’s family to attend the funeral services of the girls who had been killed. A remarkable peace settled on the Amish as their faith sustained them during this crisis.
One local resident very eloquently summed up the aftermath of this tragedy when he said, “We were all speaking the same language, and not just English, but a language of caring, a language of community, [and] a language of service. And, yes, a language of forgiveness.”2 It was an amazing outpouring of their complete faith in the Lord’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”3
The family of the milkman who killed the five girls released the following statement to the public:
“To our Amish friends, neighbors, and local community:
“Our family wants each of you to know that we are overwhelmed by the forgiveness, grace, and mercy that you’ve extended to us. Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need. The prayers, flowers, cards, and gifts you’ve given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you.
“Please know that our hearts have been broken by all that has happened. We are filled with sorrow for all of our Amish neighbors whom we have loved and continue to love. We know that there are many hard days ahead for all the families who lost loved ones, and so we will continue to put our hope and trust in the God of all comfort, as we all seek to rebuild our lives.”4
How could the whole Amish group manifest such an expression of forgiveness? It was because of their faith in God and trust in His word, which is part of their inner beings. They see themselves as disciples of Christ and want to follow His example.
Hearing of this tragedy, many people sent money to the Amish to pay for the health care of the five surviving girls and for the burial expenses of the five who were killed. As a further demonstration of their discipleship, the Amish decided to share some of the money with the widow of the milkman and her three children because they too were victims of this terrible tragedy.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.
JST Matthew 6:14
And suffer us not to be led into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
JST Matthew 7:2
Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment.
Doctrine and Covenants 11:12
And now verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do god—yea, to justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
And then will I profess unto them, ye never knew me.