Posted by: elderleach | August 30, 2010

A Simple Lesson on Simple Prayer‏

There were so many wonderful experiences this week, but I feel as if to highlight something very simple and direct today:
I realize this will be a common thing on mission: high days and low days, happy days and sad days, sick days and healthy days, but one thing I was taught before going on a mission was to use prayer to my advantage. Prayer is our free, anytime gift, which enables each one of us to have a personal conversation with our Heavenly Father.
Heavenly Father loves to hear from us. “If ye then…know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11) And that’s really all there is to it: ask and you will receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. This concept is so easy that too many people ignore it and set it aside as a thing of naught.
This week has been hard, as was last week and the week before. I suppose I had the wrong impression of South Africa: with 80% of the population at least some form of Christianity, I expected it to be easier. But, to my surprise, this mission has it’s difficulties that can be found all around the world. Very few issues here are unique to South Africa. I have used prayer in many occassions this week that has made a difference in varying degrees.
“…by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” (Alma 37:6)
I have had a pretty bad cough lately (stop worrying, mother!!!…I already regret sharing this information ;)) because of the high levels of pollution that can be found layering the air in township. I have never had persistent coughs before, so this was a new thing. I tried sipping honey, drinking hot chocolate before bed, drinking my 8 glasses of water a day…but nothing seemed to work. I would wake up every night and cough, cough and cough some more.
A week ago I decided “No more with this cough!” I knelt down by my bed and asked God, in between my hacking, to relieve my cough so I could carry on His work with all the energy that I possess. I thanked him for keeping me safe and for offering me such a beautiful place to work, but I asked Him to help me get a decent night’s rest so I could do what He needs me to do. I went to sleep that night and woke up to the birds chirping outside, never once waking up in the middle of the night to hack a hairball. I smiled to myself and immediately offered up a prayer of thanks.
Every night since then I have prayed for his help when I go to sleep. And every night I have slept beautifully with the cough non-existent. A few nights ago, however, I forgot to pray specifically for my cough. That night I was up for about an hour or so with a coughing fit. When I prayed for his help to close my eyes and guide me to sleep, I immediately did so.
This, of course, is just one small example of the power of prayer. How often we set it aside, thinking either 1) God doesn’t care to hear from us, 2) God already knows our thoughts therefore we don’t HAVE to pray or 3) There is no God, therefore why should I pray? (#3, by the way, is a lethal thought!)
My testimony is this: I love prayer. I love it to death. And what’s more, it works every time! Of course, in God’s own way and time, but I’ve quickly learned His timetable is always the better and wiser one 😉 The steps are easy:
1) Address our Heavenly Father (ex. “Our Dear Heavenly Father…”)
2) Thank him (Essentially, don’t be an ungrateful brat ;))
3) Ask for guidance, help, support, etc
4) Close your prayer in the name of Jesus Christ (Christ being our intercessor)
I would ask all of you to make your prayers more meaningful, and if you aren’t praying, start now. Have that conversation with your Father in Heaven and see if you won’t see miracles blossom in the Garden of Life 🙂
Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission

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