Loneliness, worry, apathy, and uncertainty. These are just some of the feelings that accompany the challenges of the human experience—things like old age, struggling children, natural disasters, suicide, questions about God, and providing for the needs of a family.
They are challenges bigger than us. Bigger than the advice we can get from the best books. Bigger than the assistance we can get from people and programs. They are the obstacles for which God promised, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). We may not find that our difficulties are taken away, but through prayer we learn to walk through our trials with God and, line upon line, find greater peace, hope, and understanding.
Prayer Fuels Our Daily Activities
Jesus taught us that we should look to God each day for the direction and help we need in that particular day. But do we?
Like a popular hymn asks:
Ere you left your room this morning,Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ, our Savior,Did you sue for loving favor
As a shield today?
Prayer can fuel our daily activities as a shield from temptation, a rest from the weariness of fear and uncertainty, and a vehicle to “change our night into day” as His light and love more fully fill our hearts.
Author C. S. Lewis described 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."
Through prayer, God will fuel our marriages, our children, our jobs, our decisions, our testimonies, our feelings, and our goals. His fuel may come in such forms as wisdom, eternal perspective, courage, or peace. And His fuel not only helps us with our problems; it helps us to be our best selves, “to repent, improve, and eventually reach ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.’” Elder D. Todd Christofferson reminds us that it is because we can appeal to God for the help we need each day that we can become better.
Prayer Fuels Our Remembrance
Prayer reminds us that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father who grants us personal access to Him and His eternal realities.
As President Henry B. Eyring said: “It is not a matter so much of which words to use. . . . It is an approach to your Heavenly Father with the intent to be recognized by Him personally. He is the God above all, the Father of all, and yet willing to give undivided attention to one of His children.”
An example of this is when Joseph Smith, while in Liberty Jail, pleaded in desperate prayer, “O God, where art thou?” A loving Father replied, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1, 7; italics added).
That personal acknowledgment likely gave Joseph needed fuel to endure a little longer.
From Joseph Smith to Moses and Mary the mother of Jesus, there are numerous examples in the scriptures of God using His voice or the voice of His servants to speak to His children by name. Each communication was personal. Each communication was special. Because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, those personal communications continue still. They can fuel our remembrance that each of us has a personal relationship with God.
It is both simple and profound, something President Gordon B. Hinckley reminds us of in a few short sentences:
You are in very deed a child of God. He is your Eternal Father.
He loves you.
You can go to Him in prayer.
He has invited you to do so.
What a wonderful thing this is.
He is the greatest of All.
He is the Creator and Governor of the universe.
And yet He will listen to your prayers.
It is that personal relationship with God that gives us the strength we need to weather the storms of life. Every joy is a blessing, and every trial is an invitation to draw closer to Him and rely on His grace as we move forward.
Prayer Powers Our Progression
With God, through prayer, all things are possible, and without prayer we lack the power to progress. Prayer is the portal to progression. As Elder Kevin W. Pearson taught: “Without prayer, there is no possible return to the Father. Without prayer, repentance, forgiveness, and the cleansing power of the Atonement are unattainable. Without prayer, sufficient faith to understand and keep the commandments is impossible. Without prayer, the necessary spiritual power to avoid temptation and overcome trials and adversity would be unavailable.”
As we navigate the obstacles and opportunities of this earthly experience, we can do so in partnership with God, who said, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Prayer is the vehicle through which He fuels our lives, grants us His personal and undivided attention, and makes our progression possible. All we need to do to “fill up” is ask of God.