Sunday, June 23, 2013

Farewell Talk Kegan

The Gift of Prayer

      Good morning/afternoon. For those of you who are not here to listen exclusively to me speak, my name is Kegan Enright and in little more than one week I will be on a plane heading for the Mexico City MTC preparing to teach The Gospel in the Chile, Vina del Mar mission.  Where I will teach and preach in whatever form of Spanish I find myself capable of.
I have been asked to speak on How I can make my prayers more meaningful.  We have been given the gift of prayer by our Heavenly Father because he loves us and the gift of prayer is as priceless as any. As a child I remember praying in thanks for my pillow and my blanket and I doubt living in South America for almost two years will dampen my gratitude for such possessions.
The late Apostle of the Church, James E. Faust, gave a brilliant talk on prayer at the 2002 General Conference, in which he said  “When God placed man on the earth, prayer became the lifeline between mankind and God...Each of us has problems that we cannot solve and weaknesses that we cannot conquer without reaching out through prayer to a higher source of strength. That source is the God of Heaven to whom we pray in the name of Jesus Christ” The gift of prayer is divine and has been given to us by a loving Heavenly Father and it is essential that we use it.
     James E. Faust defined prayer as, “...A humble acknowledgment that God is our Father and that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer...a sincere confession of sin and transgression and a request for is recognition that we need help beyond our own is an opportunity to express thanksgiving and gratitude to our Creator.  Understanding the magnificent gift of prayer is the first step in making our communion with our Heavenly Father more meaningful.  The gift of prayer has been given to all of us as God’s children, “It matters not our circumstance, be we humble or arrogant, poor or rich, free or enslaved, learned or ignorant, loved or forsaken, we can address Him.”

How We Pray
     As you pray, recognize that Father in Heaven is near and He is listening.  If we simply go through the movements of prayer without thought then the power is lost.  It is not an honest and sincere prayer but a check mark on a list.  The gift of prayer, though given liberally to all men, is not to be taken for granted.  Richard G. Scott stated in his 2007 conference talk, “I wonder if we can ever really fathom the immense power of prayer until we encounter an overpowering, urgent problem and realize that we are powerless to resolve it. Then we will turn to our Father in humble recognition of our total dependence on Him. It helps to find a secluded place where our feelings can be vocally expressed as long and as intensely as necessary.”  I know I have made the mistake of often times taking prayer for granted, but there have certainly been times when I have been witness to the power of prayer in some of the simplest ways.  I distinctly remember one night when I was desperately trying to fall asleep despite the thunderous snores of an anonymous roommate.  I had almost decided to move upstairs to sleep when I realized I hadn’t prayed for help.  I proceeded to kneel beside my bed and pray that I might be able to get to sleep so that I could work early in the morning.  No sooner had I finished praying then the snoring ceased and I was able to sleep soon afterwards.  I also remember an imminent rain storm at my last Aaron’s Camp almost disappearing completely after the opening prayer for our fireside.  Whether our needs be great or small, Heavenly Father is there, we just need to remember to ask sincerely and in faith. 

Search for Answers
     The restoration of The Church and Joseph Smith’s first vision is a testament to the power of meaningful prayer.  Joseph Smith, a young man living in Palmyra, New York prayed alone in The Sacred Grove in the year of 1820.  Joseph Smith asked in faith and with a sincere desire to know the true gospel of God.  His prayer was answered by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who helped him to restore the full and true gospel of Christ.  Just as Joseph Smith’s prayer was answered so can we receive answers to our prayers.  Although we will probably not receive a vision like Joseph Smith did, Heavenly Father would never leave us without an answer to our prayers. Richard G. Scott put it perfectly when he said “He will always hear your prayers and will invariably answer them. However, His answers will seldom come while you are on your knees praying...”   Our prayers will be answered through the Spirit,  “He will prompt you in quiet moments when the Spirit can most effectively touch your mind and heart.” 
Answers to our prayers can come in many ways. It was Richard G. Scott who said “Often when we pray for help with a significant matter, Heavenly Father will give us gentle promptings that require us to think, exercise faith, work, at times struggle, then act. It is a step-by-step process that enables us to discern inspired answers...Seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time...”  “It is true that the answers to our prayers may not always come as direct and at the time, nor in the manner, we anticipate; but they will come.”  They will come not when we believe we are  ready but when God is ready and when he knows we are ready.  Patience is a key to finding the answers to our prayers.  Doctrine and Covenants 4:6 reads -”Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.” - Patience is up there alongside faith, virtue, and godliness and by patience it  does not mean we are expected to ask and merely wait, it means we are expected to have the endurance to search continually even if our answers are not found immediately.  Without the patience to wait for a full answer we can misinterpret an incomplete answer.  In fact we must be thankful that we are allowed to struggle for a time before an answer comes. Our character will grow;  faith will increase and we will better understand the answers that are given in time.
     When searching for an answer we must obey our Heavenly Father’s  counsel to “study it out in our minds.  Often you will think of a solution; as you seek confirmation that your answer is right, help will come. It may be through your prayers, or as an impression of the Holy Ghost, and at times by the intervention of others.  Leaving on a mission in a few days I know I will act as the answer to other peoples prayers and they to mine.
     Learning about missionary work throughout my life and even more so in recent months.  A missionary’s role is not to convince investigators of the gospel’s truth but to bring the gospel to others and let the spirit testify to them.  The spirit can also testify to us as an answer to a prayer Richard G. Scott defined the way the Spirit answers prayer by saying, “...He will reply in one of three ways. First, you can feel the peace, comfort, and assurance that confirm that your decision is right...Second, you can sense that unsettled feeling, the stupor of thought, indicating that your choice is wrong. Or third—and this is the difficult one—you can feel no response.  What do you do when you have prepared carefully, have prayed fervently, waited a reasonable time for a response, and still do not feel an answer? You may want to express thanks when that occurs, for it is an evidence of His trust. When you are living worthily and your choice is consistent with the Savior’s teachings and you need to act, proceed with trust.”  There will be times when we pray for a confirmation of our choices.  Remember feeling nothing does not mean your answer is not worth your Father’s time or the Holy Spirit’s, it is because they trust you, because you are going in the direction and making the decisions that God wants you to. 

       By using the gift of prayer every day we show gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the gift of prayer and we can use that gift to thank him for everything that he has given to us.  Prayer gives us the ability to speak with God, it is not a one way communication.  We would not press our earthly parents with questions and requests before simply walking away.  Take the opportunity to express your love for your Heavenly Father and allow Him to help you through your life here on Earth.  Search the scriptures, pray in locations and atmospheres where you can feel the Spirit.  Remember prayer is your time to speak to God, in faith and with love so never forget
     I know that in the next couple of years I will be more grateful for prayer than I ever have before.  I am leaving family and friends to teach in a place I have never set foot.  I will miss all of you and my brother and sister up here with me on the stand.  I am scared and excited and honestly a little depressed that I will miss the baptism of my baby sister.  But I know for a fact that it is all more than worth it.  Through the power of prayer Joseph Smith was able to commune with God and Jesus Christ and he was able to restore this Church and we can all pray to our Father in Heaven just as he did.  Because we have been given the ability to pray we are not alone in this life and we can always turn to our Heavenly Father in times of need and he will answer us.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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