By: Caroline Trusty
This year, I’ve been trying to have better prayers. The genesis of this goal is thanks to a church leader who told us last week at Institute that he prays for at least 30 minutes each night. At the time, that seemed like a lot of minutes to spend on your knees talking to someone you can’t see. But, as I’ve applied the principles he spoke about (haha, in the past three days since he spoke about them) I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my life.
1. TIMING: I’ve committed to praying for at least 15 minutes each night. If I can spend countless and mindless hours playing FreeCell or Candy Crush on my phone, I can spare 15 minutes at the end of each day to talk to Heavenly Father. As this church leader suggested, I’ve started using the stop-watch feature on my phone, and if by the time I’ve lifted my head it’s only been 14 minutes and 29 seconds, I bow my head right back down and think of something else to say.Setting a time minimum makes me go slower in my prayers. It allows me the time to really calm down and invite the Spirit into my prayer. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I’ll be up to thirty minutes or more.
2. SUBSTANCE: I’m guilty of the five-minute laundry list of things I’m grateful for and an even longer list of all the things I’m wishing for. While I’m sure God loves to hear that I’m grateful for my parents and maybe He doesn’t mind listening to all of the boys I wish would notice me, I think He wants more from my prayers. So, as this church leader suggested, I now start each prayer with a question. How can I serve my parents today? How can I magnify my calling as a Gospel Doctrine teacher today? Is there a specific person who could use a kind word or gesture from me today? Then, I just wait. I listen, waiting for the thoughts and impressions that always come.
3. ACTION: Now what? To make sure those 15 minutes don’t go to waste, I keep a notebook and pen on my bed while I pray. And when those thoughts and impressions come, I write them down and commit to following through.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I’ve only been following this pattern since Wednesday after Institute, so I can’t promise perfect results. I can say, however, that I can feel that the Spirit around me is strong. I feel better about myself, more attuned to the Gospel, and more focused on the important things in my life.