Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and serves as the Ward Mission Leader in the Annapolis, Maryland Ward.
It is of a certainty that this life is a continual test. There always seems to be something happening to try our patience and attempt to shake our faith. Just when we think that we have all the little fires in life under control, the alarm is sounded once again as we are called to fight yet another fire that is raging out of control. No doubt there are times in all of our lives when we get to the point where we feel that we have fought enough fires and we cannot handle having to respond to the alarm once again. We grow tired of breathing in the smoke from the ashes and rubbles of the pressures, stress, anguish, worries, and cares of day-to-day problems, and would just like a chance to breathe in some fresh air. We often find that it does not have to be big things that tend to get us down, but oftentimes it can also be small and insignificant things that can cause undue stress, worry, and anxiety. Prayer is a remedy. Prayer is divine. Prayer is a help given to us to make our way through aided by God, who lives and who is very real.
Why Pray? How to Pray
Let me share two reasons examples from my personal life to illustrate the reasons to pray, and that prayer is expression of what’s in our heart to a loving Father and Savior who know us personally and who respond. I received a telephone call about three weeks ago from the rental office of my apartment complex informing me that my toilet was leaking down into the apartment below mine. The lady from the rental office started the conversation by trying to make it seem that I had full knowledge of the problem and that we had discussed it previously, but, in reality, this was the first that I had heard of the problem. During the course of the conversation, she asked if I would be willing to move to another apartment. Now, keep in mind that I had already paid all of the bills for the month including the rent and so my immediate thoughts were, “There is no way that I can afford to pack up an entire apartment and move on a moments notice. Besides that, I am also under doctor’s order not to do any excessive bending, straining, pulling, or lifting of anything over 10 pounds due to the fact that it could cause the pressures in my eyes to go up. …Not to mention the fact that I would have to reestablish all services such as electric, cable, internet, and wireless network.”
I politely told her that moving was not an option and that management needed to come up with another viable option which she did not seem too happy about. I was taken aback by all of this and my mind began racing about what I was going to do. In my moments of frustration, a heavenly voice came to me asking, “Did you think to pray?” After I settled down, I prayed and asked Heavenly Father what I should do. Prayer is simple. Some wonder how to pray: We share our thanks and our thoughts after kneeling or bowing our heads, and calling Father by name. We then close our prayer “in the name of Jesus Christ” since it is by His atonement that we have Him to assist us and to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
Well, I was given the answer to not worry about it, but to let Him handle everything. I had received the calm assurance that I was not going to have to move, but He had a different plan that would be worked out in my favor. I was both satisfied and relieved. I heard nothing more from the rental office concerning the matter.
A few days ago, on 29 September 2011, I was faced with another issue. When I went to my mailbox to get my mail there was a letter from the housing office. Again, even before opening the envelope, my mind and heart began racing and my first thoughts were “Now what?” The envelope was postmarked 28 September 2011, and the address on the envelope was the address of the rental office which is about a 5 to 7 minute walk from my apartment building. However, when I opened the envelope the letter inside was dated 1 September 2011. The letter addressed the fact that the housing office had not heard from me concerning the renewal of my lease making it sound as if they had contacted me previously about the matter, which in reality they had not. The letter went on to say that they valued me as one of their tenants and wanted to renew my lease at an increase in price of 25%. I immediately walked to the rental office to find out what this was all about and to explain that there was no way that I could afford a 25% increase in rent. I also asked for an explanation as to why I was receiving a letter dated 1 September 2011 on 29 September 2011, 2 days before the rent was due and before the lease had to be renewed. The lady in the office said that she would make a telephone call the next day to the property owner, who was conveniently on vacation at the time, to see what could be negotiated. In my haste and frustration concerning the matter, I told her that I would settle for no more than a 10% increase in rent and even that was more than I had experienced in previous years.
I walked back to my apartment angry and frustrated. Once again a voice came to me asking the same question that I had been asked before, “Did you think to pray?” Once I calmed down I began to call on my Heavenly Father and again asked Him what I should do. And again I was given the calm assurance to not worry about it, but to leave it in His hands. He let me know that everything was going to be alright.
On Friday afternoon, 1 October 2011, I met with the lady in the rental office to discuss the renewal of my lease after she had made a telephone call to the property manager. She began the conversation by saying that the property manager had said that sent me a previous letter, but I assured her that I never received that letter. She then went on to remind me that we had previously discussed a settlement of a 10% increase in rent, and then she asked me, “How does a 5% increase sound instead?” Heavenly Father was true to his Word and had worked it all out.
While I was there she also brought up the issue of my toilet leaking into the apartment below mine and told me that they were making final preparations to get the repairs done. Then she said that they are going to have me stay in the guest suite for 5 days while the repairs are being made. In addition to the repairs being made, they are also going to do some remodeling in my bathroom. Again, true to His Word, Heavenly Father had worked out all the details.
Prayer: A Lifeline to God
We all at times have a tendency to want to take matters into our own hands and attempt to solve problems our own way without ever talking to our Heavenly Father about any of it. Prayer is our life line between us and Him. There is no prayer that is too large or too small for Him to handle. He is always there – ready to answer our every plea. He never turns a deaf ear to anything that we have to say. He listens and He cares.
Instead of becoming angry, irritated, frustrated, and bitter over life’s tests and challenges, may we always remember to spend some time speaking in earnest prayer with our Heavenly Father who always has a much better plan than any plan that we could ever devise. Let us ever be mindful to follow the admonition of the scriptures where we are taught to “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
Are you feeling lonely, distressed, frustrated, angry, or bitter about situations in your life? If so, did you think to pray? As someone has wisely said, “Prayer – It works!” I leave these thoughts with you humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
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Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints and serves as a High Priest
Group Leader in the Annapolis, Maryland Ward.