Prayer & Gratitude

(Stake Presidency message week 16 … Joanne Teal Stake Relief Society President)

Often our lives don’t go the way that we planned. Things happen that abruptly stop us and make us take an alternative path than the one we had originally planned and which we thought was the best and maybe only option.

A few years ago I had to decide if leaving a job/career that I enjoyed was the best decision for me and my family. I did all the ‘studying out in my mind,’ I made lists of pros and cons and then took my decision to my Heavenly Father. After being on that same path for nearly 30 years I left that path and found a new one or even several new ones.

This wasn’t easy. I still miss my work friends. I miss being part of a team and I miss being able to try and help people in their lives in practical ways. But, I know that our Heavenly Father always knows not only what’s best for us, but when the timing is best for us too.

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” is a scripture that comforts me and helps me when I sometimes question my choices.

During lock-down John and I have had the opportunity and blessing of having weekly zoom study chats with our sister missionaries. These are wonderful and give us an opportunity to discuss and share our thoughts about a chosen study topic. If you haven’t had the chance to speak the your missionaries recently I encourage you to try and do so. The things that you discuss and share will bless and change your lives. In one of our recent chats we discussed a talk by Elder Bednar called ‘Pray Always’ from October 2008. In this Elder Bednar discusses principles that will help make our prayers more meaningful. Following our discussion, the sisters invited us to do something that Elder Bednar talked about. He said that ..

“Prayer becomes more meaningful as we express heartfelt gratitude” then the invitation; “Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts”

This isn’t an easy thing to do when we have so many things we want to also ask for during these unexpected and tricky times. We may be making big life decisions and want reassurances and answers as I did those few years ago, and one of the hardest things I found was as a mum was not asking for blessings for my children. But as I did what Elder Bednar and our sisters asked me to, I found that I could thank Heavenly Father in ways and for things, that I hadn’t done in a long time. It really helped focus my mind and my gratitude on what is most important. I felt and was reminded that He could and would bless my family and those who I knew needed His help and that He always knows best!

We are told in Alma 37:37 “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.”

I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is always there, always listening and always leading us along the paths that we should take and when we should take them, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sister Joanne Teal

Stake Relief Society President

All the presidency messages can be viewed HERE

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