Sunday, January 24, 2010

I See... How to Say Really Long Prayers

“For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.”

The Mormom Third Eye is a veritable treasure trove of practical advice, and today's post was pulled from that trove. We've taught you how to shake the very powers of hell; do something successfully you've never done before; know if you are really funny; end an argument with your wife; name a rock band; keep male and female teenagers apart during dates, tame them, and teach them about money; buy a new car for 200 dollars; efficiently sin and repent; and make a ward grow. Now it's time to learn how to say really long prayers.

If you're a normal Mormon guy or gal, every once in awhile you may prompted by a combination of circumstances and conscience to pray for a really long time. Perhaps you're experiencing a testimony crisis, like Enos; or maybe you are facing an impossible challenge, like a teenager that won't listen or a spouse that won't talk. In any event, when life becomes impossible, and your only hope is God, it is only natural to turn to Him, and many times that prompting includes a true desire to pray for a really long time, because you know that at a minimum it will make you feel better, and it will.

But there are only so many words in the human vocabulary, and only so many of those are worthy of divine conversation. It is possible to fill a few minutes of prayer with meaningful repetition, but after that, it is easy for a focus to wander to more mundane, less ethereal interests, such as the great hamburgers at Five Guys or that great sale at Shoe Warehouse. What is the secret to praying a really long time, long enough to virtually guarantee that your heart is open wide enough to accept the comfort God has to offer?

The secret lies in the “song of the heart.” The Savior revealled to the Prophet Joseph that the “song of the heart,” or the “song of the righteous” is a “prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” In other words, when righteous people listen with their hearts to sacred music, it is prayer!

I know that this is not breaking news to many members who have endured many Sunday School/Priesthood/Releif Society lessons and Sacrament Meeting/Conference talks about the power of sacred music to bring us closer to God, but how many of us really take it seriously?

I did last week. During my one-hour one-way commute, I listened attentively to talented pianist Paul Cardall's creative collection of sacred hymns with an open heart, and I ended up logging about 10 hours of prayer in a five-day work week. Now I'm just hoping that my head can bear all the blessings coming my way!

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