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Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Day 11: Ether 2 – 7 Go To Work and Build: pages 490-500

Meaningful daily prayer has always been a great challenge for me. Unless the family or I are in crisis, my prayers consist of a sleepy nightly gratitude-check-in while lying in bed and another reclining sing-songy morning invitation to the Lord to bless and protect me and mine that day. When I'm feeling needy or guilty, I kneel by my bed, but the quality of my prayers doesn't improve much.

I've felt terribly guilty about this for years, and even have a hard time admitting it now. I rationalize this serious flaw in the fiber of my spirituality by reminding myself that I'm no chatterbox in real life, a trait I inherited from my father, that my Father in Heaven knows this. Heck, didn't he even make me this way by letting me inherit my Dad's quietness? God will accept me as I am.

While part of me wants to take the easy way out and hope that God accepts me with my faults and flaws, I know he also gives us weaknesses so that we will partner with him, overcome them and grow. I'm anxiously awaiting the day when Ether 12 comes in my daily reading since it contains my favorite scripture, Ether 12: [27] And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. *** end of quote

I apply that scripture to many parts of my life. I have the serious weakness of being the mother of a practicing Muslim family, yet I refuse to give up hope, be discouraged or use that as an excuse for not living the gospel to the best of my ability. I even hold myself and my life up to others to invite them to hold on to hope, and live the Gospel no matter what hardships exist in their lives. I see too many women weighed down by self doubts, shame and low esteem because they feel their lives don't fit into what they perceive as the "Mormon mold."

Okay, let's get on to today's reading. How does this apply to what I read today?
In Ether 2:13-15 we read: And now I proceed with my record; for behold, it came to pass that the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years.

[14] And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.

[15] And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins;
but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. ***

Why did the Jaredites spend 4 years waiting on the seashore? Was it because the Br. of Jared was a quiet kind'a guy who wasn't into much verbal communitation with his Lord? Was he wondering, "Gee, how is the Lord going to get us to the Promised Land? It's going to take some mighty miracle." Did they sit there wondering what to do next while the Lord patiently waited for the Br. of Jared to approach him in meaningful and heartfelt prayer to get further instructions?

Carol has been waiting quietly for the past 28 years for the Lord to swoop in and convert her family. After a few years of meaningful and heartfelt prayers for her family, she gave up asking. "Maybe it's not the right time," she rationalizes to herself. "Maybe I'm angering God by continuing to implore."

But I think that in reality, I gave up because it takes a lot of effort and faith to pray meaningfully for something that isn't coming. It takes too much time. It hurts too much.

The Lord chastised the Br. of Jared for three hours, then accepted his repentance and told him to get to work building barges. Has my family been waiting on the seashore for 28 years because I haven't repented and asked for my work orders from the Lord? Instead of praying for a sweeping miraculous conversion, maybe I'm supposed to be asking the Lord each day, "What should I do today, Lord, to move my family an inch closer to accepting Christ?"

I guess I've just given myself an new goal for my Book of Mormon reading: I have to "Go to work and build" (Ether 2:16) a meaningful prayer relationship with the Lord so that I may know and do the Lord's work for and in behalf of my family who are dead to the Lord. They may be dead to him, but he isn't dead to them.

This little tidbit of personal revelation has been brought to you by our sponsors: President Hinckley's Book of Mormon Challenge and the Holy Spirit. Put the challenge into your life and see where it leads you.

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