Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Song of the Righteous: Part 10 - Finale

For the finale of my 10 part Songs of the Righteous series I want try and take something that seems overused and make it exciting again.  I know that often times we as mortals tend to get bored when something is heavily repeated, but careful observation of the scriptures will show that when the Lord wants us to pay particular attention to something He repeats it several times.  Well, I don't know of any gospel truth repeated more often than the reality of our eternal identity as children of God.  This time I'm not taking the song from the hymn book but from the Primary Children's Song book because there is a fourth verse that I feel needs to be included that isn't in the regular hymn book.  Besides, I think many of the songs in the Primary Children's Song book teach gospel principles much more simply and beautifully than many of the hymns.

"I am a child of God, and he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear.

"Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way
Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday.

I am a child of God, and so my needs are great;
Help me to understand his words before it grows too late.

I am a child of God. Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will, I'll live with him once more.

I am a child of God. His promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be mine if I can but endure."

To be totally candid, I don't see a need to expound much on this hymn so my comments here will be brief.  One of the beauty's of simple doctrines is that they don't need much explanation.  All of humanity is one big family with a Heavenly Father and Mother and the fact that they are the most loving and powerful beings in the all the universe says more about our potential and our purpose than can be adequately expressed in mortal language.  It's no wonder this song can say things like "His promises are sure" and "rich blessings are in store".

I love Him and am forever thankful to Him for His Perfect Son, Jesus Christ and the chance I have because of Him to "live with Him someday".  I know this is true and I testify of it in the Holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Song of the Righteous: Part 9

Second to last Song of the Righteous is hymn 293, Each Life That Touches Ours for Good 

"Each life that touches ours for good reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above thru words and deeds of those who love.

What greater gift dost thou bestow, what greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

When such a friend from us departs, we hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory, bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

For worthy friends whose lives proclaim devotion to the Savior's name,
Who bless our days with peace and love, we praise thy goodness, Lord, above."

I know this hymn is usually meant for funerals (not always the happiest of occasions), but the message has a wonderful reminder for all of us.

Today (3-26-2017) in Sunday School the subject matter was missionary work and there were several examples given of people who's efforts to share the gospel might have seemed relatively fruitless at the time.  One was of Samuel Smith, the prophet Joseph Smith's brother.  On his mission he found Phineas Young who accepted the gospel and Phineas' brother, Brigham, read the same Book of Mormon that Samuel gave to Phineas.  As is well known, Brigham became the President of the Lord's church and lead the saints to establish Zion in the Western U.S.  I might be wrong, but if I recall correctly, Samuel felt that his efforts didn't amount to much at first because Phineas was the only person received the truth from his efforts.  You can read more detail about that story here.

Another example of this is Abinadi in the Book of Mormon.  He taught the gospel to a people who didn't care about it and had nothing but contempt for the word of the Lord as he (Abinadi) was tied up and interrogated by a wicked king and threatened with death.  One, just one, of the the kings corrupt priests, Alma, felt the truth of Abinadi's words and escaped the kings soldiers when they pursued him for speaking out in favor Abinadi.  He wrote down what he heard, repented, became the prophet of the Lord's church and was the means of fulfilling the Lord's promise to Nephi that the sacred records of his people would be preserved and come forth in our day as the Book of Mormon.  So really, partially because of Abinadi's efforts, we have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ today.

These are just two examples of countless more of how one life can touch even millions of others for good.

I'm sure this story has been told in many Christian congregations throughout the world, but it's worth repeating here.  During World War II, a statue of Jesus Christ in a German town had been destroyed by bombing.  After the war was over, the people of the town where the statue resided found the pieces among the rubble and were saddened with the destruction of this great symbol of their faith.  Some skilled men were able to restore most of the statue, but the hands were so badly damaged that they could not be repair.  So the towns people decided they would simply leave the hands off the statue and ad an inscription as the bottom that read "You are my hands."
This story is quite the effective reminder of how much good we can do for others by simply living a Christ-like life.  Sometimes when I'm picking up groceries or running errands at our street corner and I see a miserable looking cashier I use a line I heard in college to help snap them out of it and hopefully brighten their day.  Pointing downward, I say "excuse me Ma'am/Sir, you dropped your smile!"  They usually take a split second to catch on to what I did but the smile they always respond with gives me opportunity to say something like "There ya go!  There's always something to be happy about!"

I have been the thankful recipient of an encouraging favor or remark on countless occasions as well and while you sometimes may not think it is worth much, I can tell you that with the kinds of things that go on in the lives of my wife and I, small things like that often make all the difference between the rest of my day going rotten or getting better.

I also love the mention of "hallowed memor[ies]" in verse 3 of this hymn.  It goes along very well with 2 Nephi 9:14 where it mentions the righteous having "a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness" at the resurrection.  As I mentioned in another blog post, "I love having even the smallest reminders of His love for us.  I'm not as good as I want to be at keeping those memories fresh, but when they are there, even only if for a small moment, I'm home."

The last verse has a message that is very personal and particularly meaningful to me because of how often I feel like a loner spiritually. "For worthy friends whose lives proclaim devotion to the Savior's name, Who bless our days with peace and love, we praise thy goodness, Lord, above."  When I find someone who's experiences are as deeply spiritual and wonderful or, conversely, devastating, it serves as a relief and a breath of fresh air for me because I don't feel a need to 'sugar coat' or socially 'tip-toe' with anything I say because those friends lives "proclaim [the same] devotion to the Savior's name" as I feel in my heart and I know they'll understand what I mean no matter what I say.

I will forever be thankful for those many people who served as both a "balm of Gilead" for me in rough times and a pleasant reminder or enhancement of truth, goodness and love during days of peace.  And, of course, when it comes to the most important life that touches all for good, God be thanked for the matchless gift of His Divine Son, Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Song of the Righteous: Part 8

Song of the Righteous #8 goes along very well with President Packer's statement about hymns in part 1, "If we will listen, they are teaching the gospel, for the hymns of the Restoration are, in fact, a course in doctrine!"  It is hymn 272, Oh Say, What is Truth?

"Oh say, what is truth? ’Tis the fairest gem that the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when the proud monarch’s costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.

Yes, say, what is truth? ’Tis the brightest prize to which mortals or Gods can aspire.
Go search in the depths where it glittering lies, or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies:
’Tis an aim for the noblest desire.

The sceptre may fall from the despot’s grasp when with winds of stern justice he copes.
But the pillar of truth will endure to the last, and its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast
And the wreck of the fell tyrant’s hopes.

Then say, what is truth? ’Tis the last and the first, for the limits of time it steps o’er.
Tho the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst, truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore."

This hymn is correct when it says that truth is "the fairest gem that the riches of worlds can produce."  You see, truth does not change to align with cultural, social, political, or economic fluctuations.   It does not bend to accommodate fads or whims of special interest groups.  It cannot be diluted by public opinion and is not in the eye of the beholder.  To be honest, I don't understand why anyone would even see any value in truth if it was.  We mortals always crave something and someone that is forever reliable, completely honest, always perfectly and infinitely fair and loving, flawlessly just and merciful and in all ways imaginable immune to any shadow of wavering or temptation to be anything else.  So it's just irrational that anyone would want truth to become subject to our ever changing, unsteady, unreliable, often self interested desires.

So where do we find the truth?  What did the Lord Jesus Christ say? "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  So one of His names is Truth.  So, as Jack R. Christianson pointed out, when Pilate asked Jesus in John 18:38, "What is truth?" What's he really asking?  Who. Are. You?  You want to know truth?  Come to know the Master.  He is the truth, the very embodiment of it.

Well does this hymn recommend that we "go search in the depth where it glittering lies, or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies."  If there is truth, we need to find it.  For only it will guide us to what we truly want, peace in this life and eternal life and love in the world to come.  There was a video I watched on youtube just yesterday where a returned LDS missionary said "When Nephi talks about how he pondered the things of the gospel ... I think ... if I just read the scriptures [as opposed to studying them], there's not really a lot to ponder about... I believe it was President Eyring who said 'If we become casual in our study of the scriptures we will become casual in our prayers.  We may not cease to pray but our prayers will become more repetitive, lacking real intent, our hearts cannot be drawn to a God we do not know, and the scriptures and words of living prophets help us to know Him.'"

It is so important to know the truth, to know Him, that He took on the infinite weight of all things evil and overcame it so that we could.  "The most knowledgeable farmer with a horse and a plow is no match for an equally proficient farmer with a high tech tractor at his command.  The mathematician with a slide rule is no challenge to his colleague with a high speed computer.  A Galileo with a handheld telescope will never discover the universe like a Galileo with the most advanced telescope at his disposal.  The Lord must expect much more of us in gospel scholarship than he did of previous generations, because we have so much more at our disposal.” (The Infinite Atonement, pg. 21)  

We have so much more access to truth than anyone else ever did in the history of the world that to not seek it like "horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed [Elder Holland, New Era, October 1980]" to obtain it is not only is not only a dismal and selfish waste, but a direct antithesis to our purpose on earth, to prepare to meet and become like our Father in Heaven, which means therefore to become, ourselves, embodiments of truth.  We can't do that if we don't continually make the truth a part of who we are, our very nature.

I think that, quite possibly, many in the world today view the concept of absolute truth as unfeeling, discordant, cold, sterile, or lifeless.  If they'd look closer at the Embodiment of Truth (the Savior), what did He say about His purpose?  "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."  Absolute truth, if adhered to, results in that "abundant life".  As Parley P. Pratt said of the conduit by which all truth flows to us, "The gift of the Holy Ghost... quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands, and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use.  It inspires, develops, cultivates, and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature.  It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity.  It develops beauty of person, form and features.  It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feelings.  It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man.  It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves.  In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being."

I'd hardly call that sterile, cold or unfeeling.

To be honest, the fact that truth is so universal and unchanging should be an ultimate comfort to us.  As the last verse reminds us, "Then say, what is truth? ’Tis the last and the first, for the limits of time it steps o’er. Tho the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst, truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst, Eternal, unchanged, evermore."  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Song of the Righteous: Part 7

Now in the last few "Song[s] of the Righteous", hymn 7 on the list is #240, Know This, That Every Soul is Free.

"Know this, that ev'ry soul is free to choose his life and what he'll be;
For this eternal truth is giv'n: that God will force no man to heav'n.

He'll call, persuade, direct aright, and bless with wisdom, love, and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind, but never force the human mind.

Freedom and reason make us men; take these away, what are we then?
Mere animals, and just as well the beasts may think of heav'n or hell.

May we no more our pow'rs abuse, but ways of truth and goodness choose;
Our God is pleased when we improve His grace and seek his perfect love."

Though this one is relatively short, it is packed with wonderful messages about the second of two forces that make God's plan possible.  The first is the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the next is our Agency, our ability to choose.

This concept goes all the way back to the reason I began blogging in the first place.  I gave a talk on agency in church, I think... 4? 5 years ago? Preparing my comments changed my perspective completely on the importance of agency in relation to the Atonement of Christ and helped me want to be like Christ enough that preparing that talk wasn't enough.  I had to do more.  Since I can't give a talk in sacrament meeting whenever I want, I thought I would just write about my thoughts elsewhere and just share them with the world.  Doing so has been such a huge help to me and I hope to my readers.

The most profound thing to me about agency is that it is the gift that will either damn us or, because of Christ, save us.  Not even God in all His mighty power can intervene with that.  As the hymns says "God will force no man to heav[e]n."  Instead He "call[s out to us], persuade[s us], and direct[s us] aright, ... bless[es us] with wisdom, love and light."  In other words, He follows the very word He gave us in Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-43, to lead by "persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge,"

Choice is part of what makes us children of God.  He entrusted us with the same ability that makes Him God, the power to choose.  Of course, the reason it makes Him God is because He uses that ability perfectly, but, it's value is still incalculable.  "Freedom and reason make us men; take these away, what are we then? Mere animals..."  We humans are the race of God and in order for us to become like Him (note that "become" is a verb) we must choose so and coupled with the Savior's power, granted us because of His atonement, we can!

But only if we learn to use it perfectly, like He does. "May we no more our pow[e]rs abuse, but ways of truth a goodness choose."  Citing Cecil B. De Mille, "[God] did not create man and then, as an afterthought, impose upon him a set of arbitrary, irritating, restrictive rules.  He made man free and then gave him the commandments to keep him free.  We cannot break the Ten Commandments.  We can only break ourselves against them or else, by keeping them, rise through them to the fullness of freedom under God."

Do you know why God called Christ His "Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"?  Well, of course there are many reasons why, but one of them for sure is that He was totally obedient to His Father.  There is a part of the missionary manual Preach My Gospel where a story is told by one missionary of a man who had "hemmed and hawed" about baptism, delaying it as much as possible for fear of what everyone else would think of him.  Eventually the missionaries read the account of the Savior's visit to the Americas as the resurrected Lord in 3 Nephi, where the Father uses that phrase, "well pleased".  According the the manual, conversation was as follows. "...he looked up at me and said 'Heavenly Father was really proud of His Son, wasn't He?' 'Yes,' I said. [The man] looked back at his book again and stared at the open pages as if in deep thought.  Finally he said, 'I would want Heavenly Father to be proud of me too.  I wonder how He would introduce me.  I guess, if I ... well, if I want Him to be proud of me then I had better do what He wants me to do.' 'Yes, I think that would be important,' I replied. 'Well', [the man] continued. 'I think I've been worrying too much about what everybody else thinks and not enough about what God thinks.'  After a brief pause [the man] nodded and with a determined look said, 'I think I had better be baptized.'"

No wonder the hymn ends with "Our God is pleased when we improve His grace and seek his perfect love."  He is pleased when we use our agency correctly because it brings us closer to the happiness that He enjoys.  Using agency the way God asks us to is the best way to happiness, no matter what anyone else says.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Song of the Righteous: Part 6

Coming in at number 6 of 10 is Hymn 220, Lord I Would Follow Thee:

Savior, may I learn to love thee, walk the path that thou hast shown,
Pause to help and lift another, finding strength beyond my own.
Savior, may I learn to love thee--Lord I would follow Thee

Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see.
Who am I to judge another? Lord I would follow Thee

I would be my brother's keeper; I would learn the healer's art.
To the wounded and the weary I would show a gentle heart.
I would be my brother's keeper--Lord I would follow Thee

Savior, may I love my brother as I know thou lovest me,
Find in thee my strength, my beacon, for thy servant I would be.
Savior, may I love my brother--Lord I would follow Thee.

The first verse of this is an excellent reminder of what it means to love.  For my more frequent readers, sorry if I refer to Tad Callister's words too much, but his point that charity is the quintessence of Godhood makes this verse even more wonderful.  The crowning spiritual gift, as well as the culmination of all spiritual gifts, is Charity, the pure love of Christ.  If we truly love, we will live as the embodiment of all that is love did.  We will live as Christ did and act towards others the way He acted towards others, "paus[ing] to help and lift another, [and through Him] finding strength beyond [our] own."  When we live our love Him, loving others and living in love for others will naturally follow.

That also means acknowledging how dependent we are on Him and hopefully letting that fact permanently distract us from any comparison to how we are doing relative to others or how far ahead or behind we think they are from us.  As Jack R. Christianson said, "I'll leave final judgement to ... Christ. ... He's the Judge.  You and I need to quit judging each other and ourselves.  And, you see, if you care about pleasing the Father you don't have to worry about ever carrying the burden of being a judge, unless you're a Bishop or a Stake President or a General Authority or a Mission President.  They're the only judges there are with ordained authority to judge people, you don't have to do it!  Isn't that a relief?  You never have to judge anybody else.  I mean, as in, whether they're going to make it [to heaven] or not.  You still have to judge their character if you're going to date [th]em."  There's another article that talks more about this here if you're interested.

Now the message of the next verse can be taken one of two ways.  Either one in excess is unhealthy and unChristlike.  On the one hand you have those who take the concept of being their brothers keeper as an invitation to take charge of every decision they make, giving every effort to dictate how wrong or right they think people are and what they should be doing at every turn.  Their claim is that they do it out of love, always misusing the idea of "I will not help you one inch to hell."

On the other side of it, you have those who think being our brother's keeper means that we are to be there to help someone at their every beck and call, even if what they want isn't what they need.  Indeed we should be willing to put our more trivial pursuits on hold to lift another.  For priesthood holders in the LDS church, this also means always staying worthy and willing to provide a priesthood blessing whenever the request comes.  However, this does not mean we go as far as giving requested "help" if it means enabling something dangerous or otherwise harmful to... well... anyone.  Situations like that are times where "I will not help you one inch to hell" is more of a loving stance than a rude and mean one.  Kindly offering a better alternative to their request that actually will help them is the more loving option in those situations.  Being our brothers keeper, I believe, simply means keeping the Savior's best interest for them at heart.  Notice how I did not say their best interest, but rather the Savior's.  His will for us is always the best thing to pursue, even and especially if it doesn't match the desires of our hearts.

The easiest way to let the message of this hymn truly sink in to our hearts and become a part of our nature, I think is to consider the message the Lord gave us in 3 Nephi 27, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;" as well as chapter 12, verse 48 where He commands us to be perfect.  More about that here.

The more we are like Him, the easier it becomes to follow Him and vice versa.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Song of the Righteous: Part 5

At least one sacrament hymn had to be in the list, so for Song of the Righteous number 5, #185, Reverently and Meekly Now.

Rev'rently and meekly now let thy head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one; Think what I for thee have done.
With my blood that dripped like rain, Sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree I have ransomed even thee.

In this bread now blest for thee, emblem of my body see;
In this water or this wine, emblem of my blood divine.
Oh, remember what was done that the sinner might be won.
On the cross of Calvary I have suffered death for thee.

Bid thine heart all strife to cease; With thy brethren be at peace.
Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be e[v]en forgiven now by me.
In the solemn faith of prayer cast upon me all thy care,
And my Spirit's grace shall be like a fountain unto thee.

At the throne I intercede; For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend, with a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore, prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me, that thy Savior I may be.

Aside from the New Testament and the Savior's personal ministry among the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, I don't know of many places where we have large concentrations of the His words to us as a whole in this manner.  Hymns where the idea is that the Savior Himself is speaking to us are something to which I believe we should pay special attention.

As encouraged in the sacrament prayer, this one starts out by setting the tone for us to "always remember Him."  There are so many times where I know my choices would be very different I would simply remember that I will be contributing to His pain in Gethsemane and making myself more a part of that awful scene if I make what I know deep down is the wrong choice.  As W Cleon Skousen noted, "The [capillaries] of His [blood]stream couldn’t even contain [His blood] and it spilled out into the sweat glands and poured out on His skin as ... great drops of blood."  Only Christ could have done it and He only could have done it if motivated by His perfect, infinite love for us.

Jack R. Christianson once referred to a few of the words of "This is the Christ" as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, "How many drops of blood were shed for me?", and responded "far, far too many".  The same goes for me and I echo brother Christianson further when he expressed how sick and tired he was of being a part of that scene.  I hate it.  I want to be, as my dad has paraphrased Nephi's sentiments about sin, "scared spit-less" of being a part of that any more.  I want to be better at remembering what He did and letting that knowledge and His love determine my desires and choices instead of the loud, rude, immature screaming demands of the flesh.

After reminding us to put Him first, He reiterates His second great commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.  "Bid thine heart all strife to cease; With thy brethren be at peace. Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be e[v]en forgiven now by me." There was a letter written, I know not by whom, meant to sound like it was coming directly from Heavenly Father.  A part of it says "My child, be a peacemaker.  It breaks my heart to see so many of my children fighting.  If they could only see what I have hoped, planned and wished for them, but you, you faithful child, are my hope.  It is through you that my work must proceed.  You haven't much time.  There is so much to be done.  I beg you to get started, accomplish the mission I gave you before you left me.  I'll help you.  I'm always nearer to you than you might suspect.  I'm never too busy or too far away to come to you."

The beautiful end to the hymn is a reminder of His constant and close relationship and love for each of us, followed up by Him urgently begging us ("imploring") to stay "constant to Him" so that His sacrifice for us may take full effect and that "[our] Savior [He] may be".

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.