Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pray Always

I have often wondered at the Lord's command to "Pray Always." I don't think He literally wants us to spend every second of every day in prayer. That would be impossible, really. So what does He mean?

I taught a lesson on prayer in church a few weeks ago and in the midst of preparing, I talked to a few old friends who wanted to know about my kids. In describing Steven I caught myself saying, "He is always eating."

Well, he's not actually eating every second of every day. But it is still correct grammatically to say he is always eating. It is something that characterizes him. It is something he enjoys, that he does every chance he gets. He is excited and anxious to eat. He never passes up an opportunity to eat. And he will eat anything at any time.

He eats all-ways. Any time. Any place. Any food. With anyone.

Here's a little sample of his excitement. Every single bite looks like this:

There are many insightful ways to interpret this commandment, but I think this is a powerful idea of what the Lord may have meant when He asked us to "Pray Always." How would my life be different if I were always praying?

I hope prayer will be something that comes to characterize me. And I hope I can have the same kind of excitement to commune with my Father in Heaven that Steven has to eat, for truly kneeling at His feet is a spiritual feast.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Flirting with Sin

Jane is a master negotiator and justifier, with phrases like, "Can I please have just one?" "Do you want one and I can have one too?" "I'm not eating it, Mom. I'm just holding it." "I'm not touching them; I'm just looking at them." "I'm not climbing on the counter, just one knee is one it." "I'll just be really careful."

A few weeks ago she really outdid herself. I told her she'd had enough raisins and she needed to put them away. This is the conversation that ensued:

Jane: "Can I have just one more?"
Me: "No, Jane. You've had enough."
Jane: "Can I just have one bite?"
Me: "No, Jane. You've had enough."
Jane: "Can I just chew on it?"

As funny as this is, it's a dangerous mortal mentality. As humans, we're really good at getting as close to the edge as possible (or even completely over the edge except for one little toe) and convincing ourselves that we're still in safe territory. We're not actually eating the raisins, we're just chewing on them!

I love this quote from George Albert Smith, a latter-day Apostle of Jesus Christ:

"There is a division line well defined that separates the Lord’s territory from Lucifer’s. If we live on the Lord’s side of the line Lucifer cannot come there to influence us, but if we cross the line into his territory we are in his power. By keeping the commandments of the Lord we are safe on His side of the line, but if we disobey His teachings we voluntarily cross into the zone of temptation and invite the destruction that is ever present there. Knowing this, how anxious we should always be to live on the Lord’s side of the line.

How anxious we should always be to live on the Lord's side of the line! Complete obedience is a powerful thing. 

On that note, here is a wonderful video from Jeffrey R. Holland who can say things much better than I can.