While studying Jesus Christ’s final week, I looked for general steps on the covenant path to conversion in His journey from His triumphant entry into Jerusalem to His triumphant exit from the tomb. I found the steps to conversion in faith to accept Jesus as the Messiah, various opportunities for repentance in the money changers and Peter, and ordinances of the Gospel in His discussion of baptism, initiation of the sacrament, and great discourse on the Holy Ghost. And I found conversion in His disciples as true faith and understanding in Jesus Christ’s divine role and mission became clear to their minds and hearts. I thought that would be an interesting post to write about, but the revelation about what I’ve been studying and pondering on my personal path to conversion overtook thoughts of the other.
Scriptural examples of mighty prayer include commanding elements and armies, visions and prophecies, and also the conversion of souls.
Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great , whose arm of hath for your sins; Who will his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer.
The words of Christ, which he spake unto his Ye shall ; and after ye have done this ye shall have on the Father in my name, in mighty prayerAnd he called them by name, saying:
And my soul I and supplication for mine own soul…. unto him in mighty; and I down before my Maker, and
I’m amazed that we’re instructed to pray in the name of Jesus Christ—with name signifying, to me, by His power and authority. If I’m truly praying in the name of Jesus Christ, every prayer could be/should be mighty prayer.
I’ve pondered personal, family, and group prayers. I’ve analyzed houses of prayer, prayer circles, and altars of prayer. I read the Savior’s intercessory prayer every Sunday during the sacrament, diving into the words of Jesus Christ’s mighty prayer.
For a long time, my personal prayers generally seemed like a checklist for God to get to today. When I realized that problem, my prayers kind of felt flat as I struggled to find my voice and attention span to truly communicate with the Lord. A prayer journal became a turning point to me. I wrote my thoughts and questions and the divine responses. I grew in confidence and that propelled me on my quest for regular and consistent mighty prayer.
This week while randomly listening to a podcast someone suggested to me, I heard the quest for mighty prayer beautifully described by Anthony Sweat in the FollowHIM podcast.
“Are we really praying for God’s will or are we praying for the Garden of Eden?”
Here’s a snippet of Dr. Anthony Sweat’s conversation from the FollowHIM shownotes:
Who really is Jesus? … And the reason why I think it’s so powerful on this last week as we celebrate his life is because he’s going to go into this last week with throngs celebrating him and he’s going to go out of this last week with nobody standing by him. Even his own apostles will run away from him. Listen to what Elder Holland said about this. “A very great multitude throng to meet him saying, ‘Hosanna to the son of David. Blessed is he that come in the name of the Lord.'” And then at the end of the week Elder Holland says, “Where were all those people now? Can one lose that many friends in seven days?” And I think one of the reasons why is because people imagine Jesus or they want him to be one thing, but he turns out to not be what they want him to be.
For example, on the first week … And on the church’s website, if we want to start getting into the last week of his life, one of the very first things Jesus does is he cleanses the temple. And Jesus could have come into Jerusalem, gone over to the Antonia Fortress and wiped out the Romans. And he doesn’t do that. The very first thing he does is he cleanses the temple. And it shows that Jesus … He’s not going to be the kind of Messiah that the people necessarily wanted him to be. He’s going to be the kind of Messiah that his father told him to be. He’s here to cleanse hearts, not to cleanse Romans out of the city. He’s here to make God’s house a holy house, not to make our houses perfectly comfortable. And I think this is really important for us as we reflect on who Jesus is around Easter is again we say, who is he to me?
Who is this? And I was even commenting to somebody recently, when we say our prayers in simplistic prayers, it’s like, man, are we really praying for God’s will or are we just praying to be in the garden of Eden? Everything is bless me to be safe, bless no bad things to ever happen, bless nobody to ever get sick, bless nobody to ever get hurt, bless me to get A’s on all my exams, bless me to succeed at my job, bless everything to be fine all the time. Even my own kids when they say their prayers, I think the phrase blessed that we can all be happy and all be safe is said about a hundred times per prayer. And it makes me wonder where I’m like the point of life isn’t to be back in Eden. The point of life is to learn to be celestial. I’m probably soapboxing a little bit too much here right now up front, but I think people might lose their faith when Jesus doesn’t turn out to be who they want him to be, which is a deliverer from metaphorical Rome or making the external life perfect. And what he wants to do is make our internal life holy through his holiness. That’s so crucial for us.
I think as we progress in our own spirituality and really coming unto Christ and really hearing his voice, our prayers go from make everything in my life perfect to help me internally to become more holy, help me to become more like thee, help to change my heart, help to mold my character, help not deliver me from the difficulties of life but deliver me from sin. We shift from this is everything I want to, what is it that you want for me? And I think those who stay with Christ, the disciples who do testify of him and are there with him and rejoice in him and love him, they’ve made that shift from the external, deliver me from the Romans and the automatic meal maker, bread deliverer, heal my broken bones. They’ve had an experience with the Lord where he’s healed their hearts and changed their lives and made them more Godlike people that they can therefore testify of his divine grace and of his divine sonship, not just as an external miracle worker.
Everybody listening right now has their own stories, their own tensions right now on levels that probably we can’t even understand, but there’s always this tension of what is my will and what is God’s will and who do I want Jesus to be and who is Jesus? Who is this? And learning to come to know him and submit ourselves to his divine will and ways.
[A]s you go through the last week of Jesus’ life and you look at holy week, ask yourself those four questions. What am I learning about who he is, what his mission is? What does he really want me to understand? What does he want me to do? And what is he really promising that I need to hear and submit myself to?
Seeking Jesus through Mighy Prayer
Prayer changed for me when I sought to know Jesus Christ and His will for me. I’m still seeking the ultimate outcomes of mighty prayer I read about in scripture. But I am on that path and I know that God fulfills all of His promises to us.
And now, I would commend you to of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth this Jesus of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.