Friday, September 3, 2010

2 Nephi 32: 9

"But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."
Another significant reminder by a prophet of what is needed.
The great passage from Alma on prayer is an echo of Nephi. (Alma 34: 17-27.) Nephi said it first.
What is involved with "performing anything unto the Lord?" How much of what we do in our daily responsibilities ought to be performed "unto the Lord?" (Rom. 12: 1.)
Do not "perform any thing" for the Lord until you have "in the first place" prayed to consecrate your performance. Here Nephi teaches you how to live the law of consecration. You don't need others to join you. You don't need a city to live where all things are held in common. You only need your own pure intent, acting no hypocrisy, consecrating your performance to the Lord for the welfare of your soul.

If you "must not perform any thing unto the Lord" before praying and consecrating it "for the welfare of thy soul," then how should you proceed? How much thought should you take about the Lord and your relationship with Him daily? How careful should you be about your words, thoughts and works? (Alma 12: 14.) It is again, a reminder that we should always remember Him, and keep His commandments which He has given us, that we may have His Spirit to be with us. (D&C 20: 77.)
What does it mean to "pray always, and not faint?" What does "praying" have to do with "fainting?" What does it mean to "faint?" Can you "faint" in your spiritual life? Is a physical "faint" merely an example of what happens to us in the spirit? If so, what must you do to avoid becoming "faint" in your prayers?
How many of your prayers have ended by your mind drifting away? No certain conclusion to the prayer, just a distracted mind becoming occupied by something other than the prayer being offered? Is that to "faint?"
What does "fainting" tell you about your vulnerability? What precautions do you need to take to be able to "pray always" and not be vulnerable to "fainting?"
Is the primary difference between the outcome of the lives of Nephi and Jacob on the one hand, and Laman and Lemuel on the other, how they regarded prayer?
What does having prayer as a priority say about an individual?


  1. How would you fit in "He who is commanded in all things is an unwise and slothful servant" with this post?

  2. I've always interpreted that as "Don't wear out your Bishop, Stake President, Prophet, etc. with things that you should be taking to the Lord."

    After all Jesus was clear that he did nothing except what his Father in Heaven had done/wanted him to do.

  3. Wow! This post was an immediate answer to my own pleadings to the Lord last night. After the last few posts, [for years actually] I have been working more diligently on overcoming the flesh in my own personal life. Trying to overcome the greatest weakness of the flesh that my spirit gives in to on a regular basis that is hindering my ability to draw near to the Savior. That is the weakness of impatience/anger...especially as I perform my daily tasks associated with raising 7 children and all the accompanying demands. After succeeding most of the day at handling things appropriately, I once again failed at the end of the day as my body tired and the stresses of the day accumulated. I cried to Lord, "Please help me understand what more I need to do to be able to overcome this. I have tried and desired and desired and tried and desired. I don't know how I could feel more sorrowful, or desirous to overcome a weakness...and yet I still fail. Please help me know what I am missing. There is something I need to be doing that I'm not seeing." (something to that effect).

    To wake up and see this blog, was absolutely an answer to that prayer. I had NEVER linked consecration as attached to prayer by Alma and Nephi as relating to the covenant of consecration I made in the temple. All of a sudden, I had a revelation that I need to approach EACH aspect of my day with this actual prayer of consecration, that I might approach each separate task with an attitude of actually consecrating that performance to the Lord for the benefit of my soul. (not just the morning/night half faint approach I fall into too often)

    Getting the children ready and off to school in a loving, patient manner should be a consecrated task. Sitting with them to help them practice the piano should be consecrated. Helping with their homework... and so on.(with an actual prayer) I don't see a conflict with "He who is commanded in all things is a slothful servant" because you are not asking the Lord WHAT you need to do in every detail of little things in your day...rather you are asking him to help you do whatever you are involved in, in such a manner as it will be as Christ would do and as a relection of your commitment to follow him in all things. You are devoting your conduct/thoughts/words to HIM in your daily doings.

    Thanks Denver, this was a most meaningful blog for me and I truly felt the Lord's voice giving me personal direction as to how I need to proceed in order to overcome my deficiencies of flesh.

    I usually sign my name, buy I'll be anonymous this time.

  4. Thank YOU, anonymous (11:13 a.m.) for your comment. It meant a lot to me. Although I am edified by much of what Denver says, sometimes I end up feeling discouraged because I can't truly ponder and read the scriptures and pray as much as I should.

    It certainly shouldn't be impossible to truly live the gospel while simultaneously raising a houseful of small children, but it often feels that way!

    Lately, I've been wondering what percentage of His time the Savior spent serving others vs. meditating and praying, etc.
    I'd like to follow the example that he set. 80% serving others and 20% time dedicated to personal growth? I'm not sure.

    It seems ironic that when I have a stronger desire to study the scriptures and pray than I ever have before, I find myself with hardly a moment's quiet time to do so!

    I know that I can't put off spiritual growth until after the children are grown, so I am trying to find a balance.

    I just appreciated your thoughts, and they made sense to me. Much of mothering is repetitive and dull, but if every task is consecrated, we can feel a witness that we are doing the right things.

  5. Thank you to the wonderful mom's who have posted here today. Thank you for clarifying and helping me understand more what prayer can do. It’s so comforting to know that other mom’s feel the same way I do spiritually. It’s hard sometimes because I wish I had more quite time to work on my spiritual self, but the spirit often whispers to me that I am working on that part by serving my children and husband. Serving them is one of the best ways to know the Lord. When you have 24 hour companions you are given the opportunity every day, to put yourself aside, pray for help and practice following the spirit.

    The reason for the "unwise and slothful servant" quote was that I have often felt that I should always pray about things and have a pray in my heart. I've been given an argument with this scripture by another person that I shouldn’t pray about all things. That we need to come up with our own plan and then pray. I do agree with this to some degree. With this new understanding, that has come from these comments and post, it’s all starting to make much more sense.

    Thank you to Denver for following the spirit to know what to post. I've been reading a book that you recommended and the past few posts have gone right along with the book. I love watching the spirit work.

  6. I hate the idea to "come up with our own plan and then pray," because it is so often used by those who never really want to know what the Lord's will is in the first place. We are supposed to work out what the Lord's will is, then get confirmation that we've discovered His mind in a matter, in my opinion.

  7. I also feel that His will does not dictate minute details. The more we know His character, the more our individual creativity finds expression while we seek to find out if our general direction conforms to His principles.

    Those who say "come up with your own plan, and then pray" seek to use this fact about creative expression to excuse themselves from seeking the Lord's direction at all, in my opinion. Because of the abuse of this phrase, and the phrase's technical meaning, I think it ought to be canned because it creates too many ambiguities.

    It is not technically correct to say it is "your plan", even if your own creativity finds expression in it. The overall direction is so paramount that it makes the plan the Lord's because they are His principles.

    Under that definition, those who seek their own plan will fail, and their prayers will receive no response because they've already decided what to do.

    They mistake the intellectual high they have for a response from the Spirit while they are merely worshiping the works of their own hands. Of course, not everyone fits this description, but the phrase remains dangerous because of this tendency, in my opinion.

  8. Two examples of where "come up with your own plan" might not have worked out too well.
    (1) Nephi's boat: just how much experience did Nephi have ship building? Apparently not much because his brother's didn't have much faith in his capability.

    The Kirtland temple: How much experience did Joseph have with building anything bigger than a family home?

    On the other hand, the brother of Jared did apparently come up with his own successful plan for lighting the barge. Was he already just that much in touch with the Lord's desires? Apparently.

  9. re: consecration... it is a commandment. United orders were a good way to live it. We should not look at living in them as something we need or forced to do... but we should understand the blessings and brotherhood that would come from living it. Living in a more united community will enable a people to have the character traits necessary to be a Zion people, or God's people again. I don't think you should try to overlook these things. I do belive we can live it the best we can. And I guess you could say that every material asset we get will be passed off to our posterity anyway. I for one would love to have the opportunity to lived in a united order community. We need to see these things as blessings, better ways than our own. We shouldn't try to weasle away or out of them like we do.

  10. For a long time I've wondered what is the Lords definition of phrases like "pray always", "pray continually", "pray without ceasing". I often pray mentally throughout the day and I wonder if I tire the Lord sometimes. Though I don't understand exactly what is meant by these phrases, I have found the meaning of the thing that is said at the end of the Alma verses sited above - Alma 34: 17-27 "27. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually..."
    That is to keep your thoughts and actions such that you can feel the burning of the Holy Ghost in your heart continually. I haven't been able to do that yet but sometimes I can go for a day or two when that happens. But sometimes the Holy Ghost might leave me and I have a difficult time getting it back, sometimes it might feel like wading through stone to recover the burning in the bosom and not because of any great sin that I'm aware of. I think that the Lord wants me to work hard to have it or exercise greater faith in order to have the constant companionship.


What Say You?