Wednesday, October 23, 2013

President's Weekly Letter #57

Pray for the Spirit

As you go forward doing missionary work with The Total Mind Shift, it is essential that you understand and accept your dependency on the Holy Ghost – the Spirit.  The Spirit will guide you in all your actions, it will guide you to those who are prepared to hear and receive your message, it will give you what you must say and do to best allow the Spirit to influence people.  Through the Spirit you will teach with power and authority.  You have been promised this sustaining association with the Spirit.  This communion with the Spirit is revelation.

Joseph Smith said, “Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it” (History of the Church, 3:389). You will succeed in your work as you learn to receive and follow personal revelation. Joseph Smith also taught that revelation is vital for your daily work: “This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed” (History of the Church, 5:135).
God loves you and all His children. He is anxious to support you in your practical and specific challenges. (PMG p.89)

The challenge to missionaries, and everyone for that matter, is to continuously:  look for, feel, recognize and then follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  To do this starts by doing your best every day to never offend the spirit; in actions, thoughts and words.  Effective personal scripture study, personal worthiness and sincere prayer are important to increase your ability to do this.  Continually looking for promptings is an act of faith after prayerfully requesting such guidance.  Feeling the spirit requires sensitivity to the still small voice that can easily be discarded as a fleeting hunch or dumb idea.  The ability to recognize spiritual nudges is enhanced with practice and experience. Following the promptings can require courage and is also an act of faith but promptings can stop if you refuse to follow them.

“And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel…and inasmuch as ye shall find them that will receive you ye shall build up my church in every region…And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.”  (DC 42:6,8,14)
“… Ye are…sent forth … to teach the children of men … by the power of my Spirit;
And ye are to be taught from on highSanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power…”  (DC 43:15-16)

From this it is evident that the power of the Spirit is given unto you by the prayer of faith.  The Spirit is necessary because the Holy Ghost will loosen your tongue, bring things to remembrance and make you a powerful teacher in the Lord’s way while it testifies of the truth of your teachings in the hearts of those who receive you.  Prayers should:  (p. 93 PMG)

1.     Express Gratitude.  Always express gratitude for your blessings.
2.     Request Guidance.  Pray specifically for the guidance and help of the Holy Ghost - where to go and what to do.
3.     Express Understanding.  Recognize that your Heavenly Father knows what you need better than you do.
4.     Debrief.  In your prayers at night, give the Lord an accounting of your day’s activities.  Then review with Him your plan for the next day. Listen for the promptings of the Spirit.
5.     Ponder.   Pray about and ponder the scriptures. The scriptures open the window to revelation.  We talk to God through prayer; he talks to us through the scriptures.
6.     Believe.  Believe in and trust that God will answer your prayers.

In the Bible Dictionary we learn that answers to our questions or trials or requests are not forced upon us but are given only subsequent to your knocking and asking through prayer.  The agency of man is thereby maintained.  And, requests in prayer should be in alignment with God’s will not simply our selfish desires.

“The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them… Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent His mind but spring out of the selfishness of man’s heart.”  (BD p. 753)

One of my favorite scriptures that enlighten my understanding of the kind of spiritual power we can have as missionaries is a description of Ammon and his companions.  They were just missionaries as you and I are.  But, they had the spirit of prophecy and the spirit of revelation and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.”   (Alma 17:3)  This was a result of much prayer and fasting.

In any success you receive in missionary work, you are dependent on the Holy Ghost. The Spirit will guide you in every aspect of your work; finding, teaching and conversion to baptism.  Your faith must be in Jesus Christ regardless if you are confident or lack confidence.  You must rely on the spirit not your own talents and abilities.  You should stay alert every day to look for, feel, recognize and then follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost is the Silver Bullet.  By its influence, I hope we will astonish the members in our Mission with the growth similar to that recorded in the Book of Mormon during the time of Nephi, the son of Helaman.

“25 And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure.
 26 And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands.” (Hel 3:25-26)
President Robinson

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