Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Don't Deserve To Pray? WHAAAAT????

I was talking with my sista the other day.... Sista Beehive from the Sista's in Zion blog. And we got to talking about talking to God.
I have often heard from my friends who are down and out, depressed, off the straight and narrow, or whatever other undeserving feelings they might be dealing with day
"I can't pray, I don't deserve to pray!" It floors me that they think that way. I can't decide if it's pride talking or stupidity: "I dont deserve to pray.". I've been searching all my scriptures for that phrase that says... "I am the Lord your God! When you are in the deepest darkest places... DO NOT speak to me, you don't deserve it." I haven't found it yet. We ALWAYS have the right to pray. We have an obligation as his children to check in. Not just at meal time, on Sundays or times of trouble either. We are Heaven's Children so it stands to reason we need Heaven's help.
So why is it that when we are in the depths of dispair and need the Lord the most we turn our backs on him and try to dig ourselves out? If we could dig ourselves out would we be SO FAR in in the first place? There is no standard of worthiness to Speak to the Lord or pray. He does reserve the right to bless us and adminster to him as he sees fit. Maybe that's the key? Rejection. If we pray and dont' get what we want we tend to make excuses: The heavens are closed. He doesn't answer prayers. There is no God. I can't even fathem thinking the last one.
We often misunderstand that just because we call ourselves Christian that we should automatically receive the desires of our heart. We also misinterpret this to mean that the Lords is going to give us what we want, when we want it and on our terms. Do you know anyone like that? They often are waiting for jobs, houses, relationships to "fall in their lap" Just how THEY WANT and when it doesn't happen say... It's not of God. I can remember that kind of thinking about 20 years ago. Until I realized the REAL meaning of Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will grant you the desires of your heart."
I had to come to grips with reality. In order for me to be delighted in the Lord I had to trust in him and his plan and fuse my will with his. I had to have on of them "come to Jesus" meetings with myself. You know the kind where you figure out that you need to leave your will behind and jump on board with his will.

Think of it like a Sail boat: You're on vacation on your sail boat is in the middle of the ocean or lake going slow or going nowhere.

The Lord just sailed on by at a steady speed.

You call out to him... "Hey Lord, how's it going?"
"Absolutely wonderful Child, how's it going with you?"
"well, not so great, Lord."
"No? Well why not?"
"Well, Lord, I want my boat to sail as awesomely as yours and it's just going very slowly and sometimes not at all."
"Is that right child?"
"Yeah, so.. well... Lord, I was wondering... Can you make my boat sail like yours."

"Hhmmm! I have a better Idea, why don't you jump on my boat and sail with me! I have plenty of room and we're having are really great time!"

"Well, Lord, I kinda of want THIS boat to sail. See I just put in a lot of money, time and effort in it so I can get it to sail..."

"I see. Well, are you sure you don't want to hop onboard? I have an awesome Chef down stairs cookin up some shrimp and chicken.You can have your own state room. And we're having this amazing triple layer peppermint torte cake for dessert. We'd love to have you on board, you can stay with me as long as you want!"

"Well, Lord. That does sound great. But I still wanna stay with my boat. I just need a little wind to make it sail.."

"you're sure then?" Says the Lord.

"yeah, I just think I'll be happier this way" We say.
"Well, ok... child. here's a little wind to get you started on your way."
"Thank you Lord, I appreciate it."

And off you go oblivious to the fact that your sail started to tear a week ago, there's a slow leak under the seat getting worse that you don't even know about AND your rudder is about to fall apart from internal water damage because you never sealed the outter cracks from when you grounded it 2 summers ago. Continueing on your course is giving you complete joy and satisfaction now and temporarily. You've extended your sailing trip another 2 weeks!
He gave you what you wanted and how you wanted it even though before hand he offered to you what you NEEDED. What you ULTIMATELY would have been happier with.
Delighting in in the Lord, it's not just praising him and going to Sunday services and sharing/preaching the word. We have a desire gain enough faith to match our will with his and in doing so our desires become righteous and grantable.
Most times we're trying to get the Lord to change HIS will to ours. So busy wanting to be "The Boss."

Back on the subject of feeling too unworthy to pray, it is Lucifer who teaches us these kinds of things. "you are too messed up to pray, he won't listen to you." "too far gone." "you have no right to speak to him after all you've done."
Well guess what? The Devil is a Liar. If Lucifer has the bold audacity to speak with him, what makes you think you cant?

Seriously, even the Devil spoke to God AND Jesus Christ AND he believes in them both. And if the Devil can approach them and talk to them then I know I can FO SHO speak with them.
So the next time, for whatever reason, you feel too unworthy, lost, tired, afraid and ashamed to pray, remember it is just not so. This is one time you can say... If the devil can do it, SO CAN I!


manaen said...

RE: So why is it that when we are in the depths of dispair and need the Lord the most we turn our backs on him and try to dig ourselves out? If we could dig ourselves out would we be SO FAR in in the first place?
When I was in that state, I didn't want to pray to God because I didn't know how to come to Him for help without also making some promises about changing the things that I just didn't feel up to changing even though I knew they were what drug me down. I was entrapped by them and the belief that going to God for help without being willing to change -- or the belief that I was not able to change -- the things that caused my despair seemed like running afoul of the warning that it is "counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such." (Mni 7:9). My addiction became my excuse for not asking for help to become free of my addiction.
One of my favorite hymns now is #117, "Come Unto Jesus."
Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden,
Careworn and fainting, by sin oppressed

[what grace, to say I'm oppressed by my sins, not condemned for them!].
He'll safely guide you unto that haven
Where ALL who trust him may rest.
Come unto Jesus; He'll ever heed you,
Though in the darkness you've gone astray.
His love will find you and gently lead you
From darkest night into day
Come unto Jesus; He'll surely hear you,
If you in meekness plead for his love
Oh, know you not that angels are near you
From brightest mansions above.
Come unto Jesus from EV'RY nation,
From ev'ry land and isle of the sea.
Unto the high and lowly in station,
Ever he calls, "Come to me."

(continued in #2)

manaen said...

(#2, continued from preceding comment)
When I finally came to the point of asking for help *in my sins*, I received all that I needed and more to break free. Then, to my great surprise, the Holy Ghost healed my soul! I'd only hoped for freedom: healing was far past the horizon of my vision.
I now believe that this is what the scriptures mean by the "broken heart and contrite spirit" that the Lord *requires*. When we finally come to that feeling of despair for our unworthiness, instead of delight in its pleasures, we are ready to *begin* the walk God called us to make: we, finally, have the humility needed to follow the Lord's will instead of our own. God knew all this would happen and, I believe, arranged things so that our "natural man" would eventually run into this mess, realize that he can't do it on his own, and turn in humility to where we need to *start*: to the Lord. When we feel his love through our sins, we gain the hope that breaks the despair (3).
My experience taught me that this depths of despair actually is a signal that we finally are ready to go to the Lord for His saving grace, freedom, and healing. The bishops and stake presidents that helped me gave *no* rejection, only kindness and a helping hand once I was ready to start the journey home. They know and understand this and they welcome the opportunity to walk with you through it. If you're the prodigal son or daughter, go home to the welcome that awaits you.
I hope that this helps
(1) "And after their temptations, and much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them." -- D&C 112:13
(2) "Most of all, you should pray to be filled with the love of Christ. This love is given to those who are true followers of Jesus Christ, who ask for it with all the energy of their heart. This love is the fruit of the tree of life, and tasting it is a major part of your conversion because once you have felt your Savior's love for you, even the smallest part, you will feel secure, and a love for Him and for your Heavenly Father will grow within you. In your heart you will want to do what these holy beings ask of you [ending the source of that unworthiness thing]. Go often to your closet, your secret place, your wilderness. Thank God for your blessings; ask for His help; ask Him to bestow upon you the pure love of Christ. Sometimes fasting will help." -- D. Todd Christopherson, GenCon 4/2004
(3) "And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity. And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me [like become free of what entraps you!]." -- Mni 10:22-23

ShaBANG said...

Thank for reminding us we can ALWAYS come to Jesus Manaen. "Behold his arms are stretched out,still"

manaen said...

I was surprised and relieved to learn that -- as the hymn in the first comment teaches -- He and His called servants are eager for us to feel His love even before we're ready to repent. I experienced that His called servants understand His direction to serve the *least* of us (Mt. 25:40,45), which includes those of us in the depths of despair. We can't ever earn His love and the good news is that we don't have to earn it: it's always there regardless of how much we do to dis-earn it. We don't have to walk a single step alone even if we're not walking home.
Although feeling His love is different from gaining His presence, it can be enough to get us over the hump to begin our repentance. As Elder Christofferson explained (note 2 in second comment), after feeling His love, even in the smallest part, we will feel secure and then we will *want* to do what He asks of us --> It's that feeling His love enables us to do what is right, not that doing what is right enables us to feel His love.
Selfishness dies and like Father Lehi in his vision of the Tree, having tasted the superabundant love of God, we immediately want to give it to others instead of seeing how much love we can get from them.
A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone but ranges the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race. -- Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 174
Sorry, if I've taken too much space. The healing power of God's love is a miracle that sustains me daily from where I've been. I now have this nagging sense of well-being, instead of dreading the despair that always returned after sin's momentary respite, and it's difficult for me to withhold this miracle-for-all when I know so many are in pain.
I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.
- 2 Nephi 33:6
Who could have supposed that our God would have been so merciful as to have snatched us from our awful, sinful, and polluted state?
- Alma 26:17

Sista Laurel said...

Whenever I have an "I don't deserve to pray" moment, I remind myself that I am actually being "selfish." My Heavenly Father wants to hear from me, and deserves to hear from me. How ungrateful it is to not pray, and thank him for all the blessings he has given me. So when I think that I don't deserve to pray, I remind my self that the my Lord Deserves My Praise!

ShaBANG said...

Thank you for such a Wonderful point of view Sista Laurel. AND just as we respect our earthly parents enough to check in on a regular basis. Our Heavenly Parent deserves no less. We should be OBLIGATED to pray.

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