Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book of Mormon Scripture Activity 2: Prayer

  1. Read Ether 1:34-39, 43 and write a statement about the role prayer played in the Jaredites' early history.  
     During the time of the Tower of Babel and all the ensuing confusion which seems like a major trial or disruption, Jared and the Brother of Jared looked to the Lord for assistance and directions. The Brother of Jared prayed and received answers to his prayer, which indicates his belief and faith in God. The word cried is used to describe  the manner in which he prayed. I believe this indicates his prayers were heart felt and emotional, in comparison to a family prayer closing out the day. The question Jared asks in connection to where the Lord may lead them leads me to believe their relationship to God is positive in that they had the hope that even though being driven from their homeland, the place we may end up will be better and choice above all others. Had they focused on the confusion surrounding them and attached or blamed God their expectation of help from him would have been less optimistic. Overall, I believe they had an established relationship with God through prayer. They had faith he would bless them. They enjoyed miracles after the test of their faith.
  1. Verse 34; The Brother of Jared was highly favored of the Lord.
  2. Jared, his brother asked his to Cry unto the Lord so their language would not be confounded.
  3. Verse 35: The Brother of Jared cried unto the Lord
  4. The Lord had compassion on Jared
  5. The language of Jared and his brother was not confounded.
  6. Verse 36:  jared asked his brother to pray again to the Lord to turn away God's anger so their friends language would not be confounded.
  7. Verse 37: The Brother of Jared prayed to the Lord.
  8. The Lord had compassion on their friends and family.
  9. Their language was not confounded.
  10. Verse 38: Jared asked his brother to pray and inquire if they were to be driven out of the land.
  11. If they were to be driven out of the land, where were they to go?
  12. Jared said, "Who knoweth but the Lord will carry us forth into a land which is choice above all the earth?" 
  13. Jared then says, "if it so be, let us be faithful unto the Lord, taht we may receive it for our inheritance."
  14. Verse 39: The Brother of Jared followed his brothers instructions and cried unto the Lord.
  15. Verse 43  They are promised they will be blessed, as well as their posterity, also those that travel with them.
  16. They will be a great nation.
  17. These blessing come from their devotion to the Lord.
  1. In response to requests from Jared, the brother of Jared "did cry unto the Lord"(Ether 1:34-39). Read Ether 2:14 and write your answer to the following questions:
    • Why did the Lord chasten the brother of Jared?
    • Why you think God wants us to come to Him often in prayer?
    • What is the difference between crying unto the Lord and merely saying our prayers?
    • What can you do to make your prayers more effective?
1. The Brother of Jared was chastened because he had not remembered to pray.
2. I think we are reminded to pray often for several reasons. When we kneel to pray and bow our heads we are in a position of reverence and humility to whom we are praying. Humility is defined in True to the Faith, "to be humble is to recognize gratefully your dependence on the Lord." Praying in reverent obedience shows the Lord we are sincere and humble of heart. We are also weak and easily distracted by the vain things of this world. We learned from the student manual that, "We are subject to temptation and struggle. Each of us experiences personal weaknesses. Nevertheless, the Lord clearly teaches that as we come unto him in humility and faith, He will turn weakness into strength." Frequent prayer protects us from the temptation we are so distracted by and prone to as fallen beings. I also believe praying to Heavenly Father keeps our pride in check. We are not the master of our universe and recognize from whence we came, continually.
3. Praying to the Lord happens in most group settings. We pray in church, we hold family prayer, a cowboy prayed at the rodeo last night for the safety of the participants. I believe crying to the Lord happens more often in a personal setting, where all pretense is laid aside, from the depths of a persons heart and soul. Yet, even this would not be the best definition of the difference. To illustrate I will use a personal experience. A few years ago my granddaughter aspirated on a kernel of popcorn. After CPR, first aid from a police officer,she was taken by ambulance to our local hospital then life-flighted to Primary Children's. I thought she was not going to live. With a laying on of hands as she was passed from police to ambulance, she took her first breath after many long minutes. As family members gathered at the hospital we cried to the Lord for the doctors and nurses caring for her and for her life. Through the night as we camped out in a conference room at the hospital, I cried to the Lord in my heart and I believe every other family member did as we tossed and turned in sleeplessness waiting for the dawn to bring news of hope. This is my best example of the difference between praying and crying to the Lord. We cried to the Lord personally and as a group. Crying to the Lord has more to do with the depth of our soul as we pray, while being stripped of pride. We sincerely acknowledge that we will accept His will. We were very grateful when Jayne was released from the hospital a few days later. We recognize the power of the priesthood. We are grateful for miracles.
4. This semester and last I have scrutinized my prayers. As I read my assignments I look at the examples of those in the scriptures for ways to improve my prayers. I can pray more often. I am fairly consistent with my morning and evening prayers, but not perfect. I recently found myself repenting in relationship to my prayers, that they are not sincere enough. That thought has rattled around for a week or so. I was glad to read the story in the student manual of the student in Brazil that vacillated between paying her tithing or her school fees. After making up her mind to pay her tithing and turning it in to her Bishop she asked forgiveness for her indecision. I felt like her feelings of repentance were similar to mine and it is okay to express awareness of weakness even when the weakness is contained in something I should be doing, like prayer. Then I chastise myself for my lack of faith. I struggle believing I am worthy of what I am praying for. My prayers will improve if I am Sincere, pray Often, with Faith andTestimony my prayers won't be soft, which lack devotion. As I lay on my soft pillow I will listen for answers and remember this commitment to avoid soft prayers. 

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