Tag Archive for: prayer

Running on Empty?

Our car doesn’t run at all when the fuel gauges show empty.
Yesterday, as I filled up the tank, I was reminded that it has two separate fuelling sources to power the engine and run more efficiently.
It’s a hybrid vehicle.
The engine combines unleaded fuel and electricity, to provide energy.

Soul Power

Similarly, we have two fuelling sources to power our souls.
Everything we do in life requires energy, and we too have a constant need for fuel.
Scriptures tell us that “The spirit and the body are the soul of man.” – Doctrine & Covenants 88:15
Your spirit and body don’t run at all well when their fuel gauges are on empty.
We fuel our physical body through the things we eat and drink.
Just as your body needs to be nourished with good food, your spirit needs fuel too.
Combing the two, you will run more efficiently.
The soul combines physical fuel and spiritual fuel, to provide energy.
We can fuel our spirits through prayer, studying the scriptures, partaking of the sacrament, making covenants at baptism and in the temple.
I’ve found that one of the best sources of refuelling our souls, is time alone with my Heavenly Father in quiet morning reflection, study, and meditation.

Examples

Whenever I’m in need of refuelling, instead of looking to the example of the world, I look to the example of Jesus Christ.
In John 6:35, we read that we must feed on Him; “…I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
C. S. Lewis expressed it this way: “God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.”
Our faith in Jesus Christ is the fuel that feeds and sustains our spiritual needs.

Spiritual Fuel

“What is required to maintain a sufficient store of spiritual fuel? We must acquire knowledge of God’s eternal plan and our role in it, and then by living righteously, surrendering our will to the will of the Lord, we receive the promised blessings.” – L. Tom Perry.
My invitation today is to allow Jesus Christ to share your load and to fill up your spiritual fuel tank.
If you’re running on empty, speak with the missionaries, they can help refill your tank.

Connections

You are not Alone.
Despite having a companion, sometimes I am confronted by the fact that missionaries can feel alone.
Serving in a foreign land, far from home, with a different language and culture can create feelings of homesickness.
It is not easy for some as they wrestle with loneliness and discouragement.
Being homesick isn’t at all bad.
It is natural after all to miss those you love most.
Similarly, it is natural to miss the familiar places you know best, where you feel safe and secure.
Being disconnected can and does bring feelings of loneliness.

Connections

And in my experience, connection is something we all strive for in our lives.
Missionaries, however, always have many people for them to connect with.
Knowing that people love and care, is so important.
Parents, siblings, other family and friends are only a call away via technology or regular mail.
More especially, mission leaders, companions and many other missionaries are always on hand to connect with.
And most of all, there are two people always willing to connect with us, at all times and in all places, no matter what we may be going through, namely Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Each of us, can always turn to Them.
They know us, personally.
Jesus Christ has said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18).

Overcoming Loneliness

Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I believe that for most of us the best medicine for loneliness is work, service in behalf of others”.
We read in Proverbs, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).
Listening ears and an understanding heart comes for missionaries and for you and me), as they take time, to serve, to slow down, to study, to talk and to pray together.
Recently, I have enjoyed doing just that with many missionaries.
Making time for those special connections, really does make a difference.
Who can you connect with today?

The Mission Presidency

“What’s the function of the Mission Presidency?” – I was asked.
Arriving during covid times in June 2021, it was November before counsellors were appointed.
Over those few months, after discussions with several candidates and after taking it to the Lord in prayer, it was abundantly clear that I should have Chris Kleijweg and Jurgen Hoole serve as my Counsellors.
Both Chris and Jurgen have a wealth of knowledge and experience of the church throughout Belgium and the Netherlands.
Two counsellors are always called to assist a mission president with his responsibilities.
We meet regularly, usually weekly, either using technology or in person, to counsel about missionary work, and talk together almost daily.

Counselling

The wise writer of Proverbs tells us that “in … counsellors there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14.)
Counselling together with one another is constant.
When problems arise, when difficult decisions face us, it is wonderful to be able to talk together in confidence and trust.
When the three of us unite in prayer to discuss a concern, we seek the impressions and direction of the Spirit. We counsel together in order to reach a united conclusion, to help us know that the decision is in harmony with the Lord’s will.
We each have specific responsibilities including teaching, finding, social media, office administration, working with local leaders, service missionaries, finance, leadership, youth, young adults, new members, senior couples etc.
Each of us have a sense of responsibility for the whole mission.
We are united.

Service

Over the last 18 months we have developed strong bond of friendship. We are very different, with different family situations and life experience, yet we love being together, especially at Zone Conferences!
We laugh, we cry, we help, we support, we travel, we share, we teach, we interview, we listen, we problem solve, we attend meetings, and we are always on call 24/7, prepared to drop everything at a moment’s notice and go and assist missionaries wherever they are.
Interestingly, in the church, we have a lay ministry.
Chris, Jurgen or I never sought out these assignments, we were simply asked by a church leader to serve, giving many hours voluntarily every week. It’s wonderful!
We invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.
In summary, the function of the Presidency is to prepare, counsel, teach, minister, and lead the Belgium Netherlands Mission.

Hear Him

It’s been a busy week of interviews for us, in Leiden, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
I mentioned preparing for General Conference in all my interviews.
A common theme was about hearing and following the voice of the Lord.
I shared an experience with a few that I had with prayer some 15 months ago.
In my blog of 3rd January 2022, I recorded the following:
“Arising from my knees early this morning, I asked myself had I simply been “saying a prayer or had I 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒖𝒏𝒆𝒅 with God?”
I paused and reflected upon the question.
I slowed down.
I sunk deeply into my very comfortable chair.
I noticed all of the distractions around me.
The ticking of a clock.
The buzzing of an electric light.
The whistling and howling of the wind.
A car engine roaring into life.
The chirping of an early morning bird.
I noticed my breathing, in an out and the physical sensations of my breath.
I became much more 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒕.”

Can I invite you to do an experiment today…

Turn off the television, the radio, your podcast, put your mobile device down, and switch off anything else making a noise in the room where you are sitting.
Listen to the silence.
What can you hear?
The ticking of a clock perhaps?
The sound of traffic from outside?
Someone making noise in another room?
Had you heard those noises before?

Why not?

If our lives are filled with noise, we won’t hear the still, small, whispering voice of the Lord.
Likewise, it’s only in the silence of our little experiment, that we hear the quieter sounds.
We have to learn to quieten both our inner and the outer noise to find stillness.
Henry B. Eyring said “Your problem and mine is not to get God to speak to us; few of us have reached the point where he has been compelled to turn away from us. Our problem is to 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫.”
Some 5 ½ years ago, our dog Fawn, found a quiet, still place to rest her head on mine, for half an hour watching General Conference.
I hope that all of us will take the time to tune in to General Conference this weekend and listen for that still small voice that whispers, as we hear from those who have been called to speak about Him.
In our lives, how can we demonstrate what we think of Him?

Sifting

“Would you like a hot chocolate?”

That’s a favourite phrase I use when missionaries arrive at the mission home for an overnight stay.

Each cup of hot chocolate is made with all the usual ingredients, but above all, it is filled with lots of love.

The most delicate part of the process is the 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 of the chocolate powder, for the final touches, to make it perfect.

To 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭: “put a fine or loose substance through a sieve so as to remove lumps or large particles.”

“To make a close examination of all the parts of something in order to find something or to separate what is useful from what is not.”

At zone conferences last week, I commented on how we are all being “𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒅.”

In Luke 22:31-32, at the Last Supper, calling him by his given name, Jesus said…

31. “…Simon, Simon behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭 you as wheat.”

To 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭 as wheat means to sperate the good grain from the chaff.

In other words, “You’re going to be run through the 𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 Peter. Indeed, you’re going to find out what’s in you Peter.”

In essence, you’re going to be shaken up and bounced around and go through a tough ordeal.

Like Peter, that is especially true in the mission field, where we are all 𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒅 as wheat – daily!

The 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 is done to refine us, and, in the process, we find out what we are made of, by discovering our many weaknesses.

Before that night was out, Peter had denied Christ three times.

32. “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

As Christ prayed for Peter, likewise many, many others pray on our behalf every single day, “that thy faith fail not.”

For example – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, church members and leaders, missionary companions, and many others of other faiths too, pray every day for you.

Throughout life, all of us will be 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐝 and refined.

You will be shaken, stirred and cleansed to make the perfect you.

Yet, like Peter, I know that by following Jesus Christ, you will not fail.

How are you being 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐝?

Discouraged?

𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 – 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭?
Yet, sometimes life happens and it can be discouraging.
At times things we hope for and dream about just don’t turn out that way.
– the pay rise didn’t happen
– you didn’t get the expected exam grade
– the relationship you worked hard at didn’t work out
– you didn’t get the job
– the house purchase fell through
– redundancy became a reality
– ill health sets you back
– you just can’t understand that new language
– its just been a really tough day
When things don’t turn out the way you expected, then discouragement can settle into our minds and can make us feel sad.
None of us are immune from discouragement and especially in these difficult times, reality frequently does not conform to our wishes.
Discouragement does not have to mean defeat!
See it as it really is and don’t blow things up out of proportion.
Overcoming discouragement is absolutely critical for all of us if we are to bounce back and move forward in life.

So, what can you do?

First and foremost – you can change your attitude. Rather than focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do.
Secondly, find something that you are good at right away, get on with it and dispel any negative self-talk, feelings or emotions that may be impacting upon you.
Thirdly – don’t compare yourself with others, remember you are on your own unique path in life.
Fourthly – turn to a friend.
Fifthly – count your many blessings, name them one by one.
Finally – pray about it, to understand and find the lesson.
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am” (Isaiah 58:9).
To receive comfort and guidance from our Father, we simply need to reach out to Him. I know He is always listening.
It is through the experience of disappointment and discouragement that great treasures and pearls of wisdom in life frequently appear.
What do you do when you feel discouraged?

Prayer – an act of faith.

“𝐈𝐟 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝, 𝐤𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐥” said Gordon B. Hinckley.

Prayer itself is an act of faith.

One of my favourite verses of scripture on prayer is found in the Book of Mormon, when Alma the Younger, is counselling his son Helaman…

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 37:37)

What a powerful verse about prayer, isn’t it?

And even more so that it’s counsel from a father to his son.

People of integrity say what they mean and mean what they say.

Answers come by submissively aligning our will, to God’s will.

God does not give us what we can handle; He helps us handle what we are given.

Throughout the scriptures the term fasting is frequently combined with prayer.

Sometimes we can forget the power of fasting. Yet it is a precious tool that allows us to change lives.

Fasting magnifies our ability to pray.

“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” asked Paul in the book of Acts.

We should persistently ask that question in our daily prayers, in order to know what to do.

An act of Faith

As a Christian and as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am so thankful for the powerful gift of prayer and commend it to all.

Hymns 140, the closing verse reads;

“Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.”

I have found so much comfort and solace through prayer.

So can you.

Thomas S. Monson said, “Prayer is the passport to spiritual power.”

Why not commune with your Heavenly Father.

Remember, no one stands taller, than when they kneel in prayer…

Why not kneel in prayer to start your day – you won’t regret it!

Transfers

“𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫?”
It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot recently.
Transfers in the mission field come around every six weeks.
And they come ever so quickly!
They are always on my mind.
In our missionary service, this is already our 10th cycle, of 27.
Questions to consider include…
What area should they serve in?
Who should be their companion?
What do they need?
Will they bring out the best in each other?
You simply don’t know all the factors that determine who should serve with whom.
Preparing for and planning for transfers in the mission field is time consuming.
There are a lot of moving parts and factors to consider, but ultimately it is a spiritual process.
Prayer is a constant.
It is always the best solution.
Seeking the guidance of the Holy Ghost is critical.
Remembering that it is the Lord’s transfer of missionaries is vital.
I am comforted by a verse of scripture in Matthew 6:8 “ for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
Considering the needs of each missionary and thinking about each of them, one by one, is also key.
Information precedes revelation.
Regular interviews and weekly communication really help.
Hence the question “𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫?”
Life moves so swiftly.
In the lasting things of life, do we help each other to be at our best?

What does it mean to commune with God?

Arising from my knees early this morning, I asked myself had I simply been “saying a prayer or had I 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒖𝒏𝒆𝒅 with God?”
I paused and reflected upon the question.
I slowed down.
I sunk deeply into my very comfortable chair.
I noticed all of the distractions around me.
The ticking of a clock.
The buzzing of an electric light.
The whistling and howling of the wind.
A car engine roaring into life.
The chirping of an early morning bird.
I noticed my breathing, in an out and the physical sensations of my breath.
I became much more 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒕.
I became less concerned with time.
Consciously, I had moved from simply getting my prayer done, into a much deeper immersion and was now ready to “commune with God”
𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐞 – “to communicate intimately”
I returned to my knees.
I yielded myself to Him.
I began, slowly “Dear Heavenly Father…”
I expressed thanks and gratitude for a while.
I listened.
I listened some more.
I asked for guidance and help.
I trusted.
I communed with God.
I listened again.
Time was irrelevant.
I closed “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen”
I waited.
I waited some more.
I listened for a while.
I listened, quietly, paying attention, listening……
Answers came.
Are you simply getting your prayers done?
Or are you communing with God?