Monday, May 14, 2012

1 Nephi 1:5 - The Prayer with "Heart"

1 Nephi 1:5

Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his aheart, in behalf of his people.

This is one of those short verses, that often get overlooked because it seems so simple.  Yet it tells us a lot about Lehi.  In the previous verse, we learn that he had just heard many prophets telling the people of his beloved town that they would be destroyed if they did not repent.  His heart is likely filled with anxiety for his people.  Did he have brothers and sisters, in-laws, neices, nephews, cousins that lived in this great city, Jerusalem?  Business partners, friends in the community, even parents to worry about?  His heart was full, surely, and he took his full heart to the Lord in prayer.  Can you imagine the words of that prayer?  The emotion?  The pain and worry he felt? The pleading for their welfare, and for God to perhaps spare them? 

Yesterday in church we had a lesson on prayer.  It seemed as though several in our group had many comments.  I had a comment too, but the others were far more eager to share than I was, such that I didn't get a chance to think about raising my hand. ;) Regardless, they emphasized how powerful prayer was.  I have no doubt that prayers are heard and answered, although not always as we are taught, or expect them to be answered.  I have one friend who thinks God is her personal wish-grantor, and if she keeps buying Lotto tickets, one day, He'll pull through for her.  An interesting view, indeed.  On another website, I read a girl forsake her faith, because she said God was never there for her.  I'd beg to differ.  But that's a whole other topic. 

I do have a few thoughts that were not mentioned in class about our end of prayer that I'd like to share.  They revolve primarily on King Benjamin's sermon in the beginning of Mosiah.  The main points?  We need to always acknowledge our nothingness, our unworthiness, and our dependence on God for everything we have, including even the breath we take in.  This is a well-known concept in many Christian churches, and a turn off to some.  But in LDS circles, this is rarely discussed, and this kind of talk is often frowned upon.  Yet I think it's exactly what we need.  (See "All is Well" for more on that thought.)  We boost one another up in our talk of "self-esteem", but we forget that without God, we are nothing.  And without humility and a contrite and broken heart, it is hard for Him to reach us.  This is the case here, with Lehi.  Was his heart broken, after hearing the words of impending doom for those he loved?  Was his spirit truly contrite, in seeking for God's mercy upon them?  Was Lehi praying for their hearts to be softened, made humble and contrite?  One can only guess.  But we do know that at very least, he prayed with all his heart.    

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