Friday, June 20, 2008

Virtue in Prayer

I was reading from the Joseph Smith lesson manual about "Prayer and Personal Revelation" (chapter 10). Yes, I believe I am a week behind, and no, I didn't read all the previous chapters. I jumped right into a juicy chapter that happens to go along with some scripture studying that I have been doing. Bill and I serve in the primary so give me a little slack. None of you got to (try to) teach 6 year-olds about reverence last week. Seriously, the title of the lessone was "I Can Be Reverent". Well yeah I can, but can they?! Once we got them to stop eating their ties and flipping their skirts over their heads I think we made a little progress.

Anyway, enough comic CTR 6 relief, back to my original point. On page 131 it reads:

"Virtue is one of the most prominent principles that enables us to have confidence in approaching our Father who is in heaven in order to ask wisdom at his hand. Therefore, if thou wilt cherish this principle in thine heart, thou mayest ask with all confidence before him and it shall be poured out upon thine head."

The above quote is from the Prophet in 1840 and has a scripture reference to D&C121:45-46. The word that caught my attention was the word virtue. I hear the word used often: "Patience is a virture"; by virtue of...; or people declare things virtuous. Even one of our Articles of Faith tells that we seek after things that are virtuous and lovely. But I was intrigued by the reference above that virtue is a principle required to talk with our Father in heaven. Not that I doubt it, I just wanted a little more insight into what it might mean.

The best fitting definition that I could find in Kyra's student dictionary was "the right way of thinking and acting; good living; morality." Without getting into a long debate over what the "right way" would be, for the sake of my post I would like to suggest that there may be many right ways. Even when it comes to the gospel, there are many ways of approaching projects, callings, and topics, and they may all be ways that can be seen as good and right in the way the Lord would have us do them. I think this is why callings shift from person to person as the needs of the ward and stake changes; the virtues of one person may be necessary during a certain point in time, while another person's virtues are needed at another time.

So how does all of this work in the realm of personal revelation and prayer? Well, I think the virtues of each person are what makes personal revelation possible and necessary. The fact that we all have different strengths and weaknesses is why the Lord can answer all of our prayers in a manner that is right for us. Isn't it possible that 2 people could go to the Lord with the same question and get 2 very different answers? I believe they could. I believe that 2 people could be living equally virtuous lives and following the Lord's commandments, and that the Lord could require very different things from each of those people.

Apparently I am having Relief Society withdrawals. I need to have real life adult conversations with people on gospel topics. Thanks for "listening" to my churchy post and let me know what did or did not come up during the lesson that I missed. Maybe I'm way off and would have sat in the back of RS all disturbed and wishing I was in Primary. Now I'll go prepare my lesson for Sunday titled, "Blessed are the Peacemakers." Hmm, I'll save all my witty comments on that topic...

1 comment:

The Turley Times said...

I wanted to explore that quote about virtue in relation to prayer and revelation in my lesson but we ran out of time. I feel bad. Sometimes I walk away from lessons knowing they were really good, and sometimes they just happened. That's how I felt on Sunday, so I'm glad you read the lesson on your own and got something out of it!