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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Song of the Righteous: Part 4

Song of the Righteous number 4 is hymn 145, Prayer is the Souls Sincere Desire.

"Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, Uttered or unexpressed,
The motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh, The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye when none but God is near.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try;
Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach the Majesty on high.

Prayer is the Christian's vital breath, the Christian's native air,
His watchword at the gates of death; He enters heav'n with prayer.

Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice, returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice and cry, "Behold, he prays!"

The Saints in prayer appear as one in word and deed and mind,
While with the Father and the Son their fellowship they find.

Nor prayer is made on earth alone: The Holy Spirit pleads,
And Jesus at the Father's throne for sinners intercedes.

O thou by whom we come to God, The Life, the Truth, the Way!
The path of prayer thyself hast trod; Lord, teach us how to pray."

I don't know if this seems selfish or not, but part of the reason I picked this hymn is because I need help building my faith and testimony of prayer.  Usually, when I write about something I end up learning more about it and Heavenly Father uses the opportunity to show me something I'm missing or just ignoring, even if I don't know I am.  I may end up taking the verses here a bit out of order looking for an answer to my own prayer for Him to help me with this particular shortcoming in me.

One thing I can say for sure is that I whole-heartedly agree with verse 4 calling it "the Christian's native air."  Even though I lack ability to recognize answers to my prayers as easily as I want to or even know what to pray for or if I'm even praying for the right thing, I at least know my knee-jerk reaction to go to God in prayer when I find myself at a loss for answers or peace is a good thing.

It's the same thing I'm sure with verse five's calling prayer "the contrite sinner's voice".  For those aren't familiar with my older entries here, I have Asperger's Syndrome, which for me includes a sort of social "dyslexia".  I so often lack the ability to tactfully and respectfully express how I feel or what I think to others that I inadvertently come off to people as the opposite of what I'm trying to.  Many times when I'm trying to amend something I've done or even trying to get it right the first time, I accidentally say something that actually makes it worse.

I have special gift in this area as well, however.  The instant I know I've done something wrong - which I usually find out pretty fast - I immediately feel bad about it want that much more to make it right.  I hate when I mess up.   I hate it.  I want so badly to become like Christ, meek, gentle, good, speaking with persuasion rather than compulsion and all that other good stuff in Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-42.  I'm just not nearly as good as I want to be or often think I should be.  Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by something that I fear or feel hurt about that I go off like a bomb, feeling completely unable process anything going on around me without spewing out what I feel without filter.  I hate when that happens because I'm not a Jekyll and Hyde type of person.  I'm aware of when I'm making a mistake and I want to correct it quickly.  The same applies to when my sin is just between my wife and I or God and I.  But I guarantee you I'll never stop trying to overcome.  That's for absolute certain.

Something I also find comforting about this hymn is that it portrays the most subtle and personal, even non-audible expressions as a form of prayer, from random expressions from "infant lips", a sigh, a tear, an upward glance even!  This shows how truly in tune and intimately involved God is in every little detail of our lives.

Then there's something in verse 6 that I never noticed before, even in the standard works, though now that I think about it's everywhere in them.  The power of prayer to unify us.  I had never thought of prayer as a principle of unity until now, but it's a really beautiful concept though.  I guess I always keep my private prayers so detailed that the and more focused that the concept of unifying with others in prayer isn't something I have paid as much attention to as maybe I should be.  At least that's one more thing I can work on to be more like Christ.  Come to think of it, He taught the principle of unity in prayer by His example in 3 Nephi 17.

Verse 7 actually goes further in how great of an example of prayer Christ is by reminding us that Christ is constantly petitioning the Father for our sake.  Doctrine and Covenants 19 may just be the supreme example of this when He says, "Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life."

His example is always the best thing for anyone to follow, especially in how to pray.