Sunday, February 12, 2012

Spiritual Creations

I recently finished reading Elder Bednar’s new book, Increase in Learning: Spiritual patters for obtaining your own answers. 

There are only four chapters in the book. At the end of each chapter there are several “readings” that help the reader learn more about the principles taught.  These readings are his previous related conference and CES talks.  The four chapters are:

  1. Our Individual Responsibility to Learn
  2. Knowledge, Understanding, and Intelligence
  3. Prayerful Inquiry: Asking, Seeking, and Knocking
  4. Doctrines, Principles and Applications
This book is power packed with some fantastic tools to help us learn through the Spirit better.  At times there were certain parts that seemed overly simplistic.  Yet, as I took the time to reread and pray I realized there was a great depth of “hidden treasures of knowledge.”  There is so much more for me to understand with this book, but two of the biggest lessons I learned were: spiritually creating your day and the why, the what, and the how of the gospel.

At the recent World Wide Training they talked a lot about the why, the what, and the how of the gospel, or so I’ve been told.  I hear the Training will be (is already?) available on line for us to listen to.  I look forward to that.  Included in the book by Elder Bednar is a DVD that helps with learning and understanding the principles taught in the book.  The interview was particularly helpful in understanding more concretely what Elder Bednar meant with the why, the what, and the how of the gospel.  I’m not going to write more about that only to say these principles have been very helpful in being a parent and also for myself trying to learn what the lord is trying to teach me.

I do want to write about the principle of spiritually creating our day.  On first glance the principle was basic and I thought I already had that down.  Ever think that?  On rereading it I realized there was much to it.  After rereading and rereading the chapter again I starting working through the talks.  His first talk, that I distinctly remember listening too, was from October 2008 and it was called, Pray Always.  He said:

“The patterns used by God in creating the earth are instructive in helping us understand how to make prayer meaningful.  In the third chapter of the book of Moses we learn that all things were created spiritually before they were naturally upon the earth.

“’And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth,

“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew.  For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth’ (Moses 3:4-5).

“We learn from these verses that the spiritual creation preceded the temporal creation.  In a similar way, meaningful morning prayer is an important element in the spiritual creation of each day-and proceeds the temporal creation or the actual execution of each day. Just as the temporal creation was linked to and a continuation of the spiritual creation, so meaningful morning and evening prayers are linked to and are a continuation of each other.”

Elder Bednar than gives some examples of how to spiritual create your day through prayer.  Basically you go through all the things you want to accomplish, say and be that day.  For example you want to interact with your kids nicely and happily all day.  You express this desire and you visualize yourself doing it.    We ask for help from the Lord.  We work the day through with Him with what he wants us to do.  Basically you play out your day with the Spirit guiding you through it in your mind.

Then you go to work.  As that spiritual creation becomes a physical reality you recognize the Lord’s help with your weaknesses in accomplishing otherwise impossible tasks like being patient or having the energy to do something.  With each realization Elder Bednar reminds us to thank our Father throughout the day for blessing us and lifting us higher.  When we do this he says we are keeping the commandment to, “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord” (Alma 37:36).

At the end of the day you review your day.  How did your spiritual and physical creations match up?  Thank Him again for working miracles in our life.  Repent for the things you did wrong.  Reflect what you could have done better in those situations.

That’s basically the main thoughts with it.  I learned from this HOW I can have the Lord much more involved in my life.

I have been earnestly trying doing this.  As I am letting the Lord lead me through my day each morning in prayer I have learned how I can apply this principle to other areas in my life.  For example, I now spiritually create my Sunday School lessons on Sunday morning, I strive to spiritually create my week, my husband is helping guide our family through spiritually creating our week as a family, I spiritually create specific goals or tasks-long or short, etc.  The list goes on and on.  The results are that I am seeing miraculous and AMAZING things happen.  I am doing and being in ways I seemed forever doomed to not bring about.

Another important concept I realized is how important it is to have solid evening prayers.  I have been able to recognize more specifically all the blessings God is pouring out on me and also I feel like I am repenting much better and completely.  After doing this I spent time spiritually creating my early morning wake up.  I pray for help to get up easily and quickly and I visualize myself doing so.  I ask for His help and tell him that as it is 10:30 PM and the thought of getting up at 5AM the next morning is very unappealing.  I say I am tired.  I ask Him to please help me and deliver me from these feelings and this insurmountable obstacle.  This is important to make sure I start my day off right. This is also important because for the first hour or two I don’t prayer beyond a prayer in my heart because if I did I would fall asleep.  So my evening prayers are my spiritual creation for the morning until I am able to say coherently my morning prayers.

Through my reading in this book I have realized the importance of asking the right questions in my prayers.  Joseph Smith could have asked any number of questions but he specifically asked, “Which church should I join?” After finding out that Nephi needed to build a boat he asked, “Where can I find ore to make the tools?”  Asking the right questions is very important.  The process of reading, pondering and prayer help us to learn what the right question is.  When we learn the right question to ask I testify the heavens will and do open!

 Here is one of my favorite statements about prayer found in the Bible Dictionary:

“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 are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them.  Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” (Emphasis added).

 As it says, this amount of mental effort given to prayer takes work.  We are so easily distracted with life that it is hard to quiet our minds enough to communicate with God.  It is worth it though.  All these things have very life changing for me.  I hope some of these thoughts and principles can help you.


Shauna said...

GREAT thoughts, thank you. I really need to do better with my evening prayers, and you've provided some inspiration and direction for me to work from.

Misty said...

I love this. Thank you for reviewing Elder Bednar's book. I think I would love it. I have been looking to find other people's thoughts on how they spiritually create their days, and it was nice to see your post on this.

Thanks again, for being inspired!

Christy said...

I love the concept to asking the right kind of question. I have noticed a difference in my life as I've tried to be more specific I'm my prayers. It is so much easier to recognize personal revelation, and therefore be able go give thanks and apply it.