Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How to Pray and Stay Awake

Came across a gem of a little book about prayer.  It was in one of those old dusty boxes in an old garage in an old house.  The version I have wasn't available online anywhere.  There is however a facsimile reprint on Amazon, and a hardcover version that was published in 1949.  I found truth in here, so I want to preserve it, and share it.  The book is by Max B Skousen, brother I believe of Cleon Skousen.  

Gata love those moments when you unintentionally pull out an old dusty box that no one has looked through in who knows how many years. Then notice an insignificant looking book out about prayer and find out it's something you really needed to read.....  Maybe it was just me but I thought that was cool.

So the next few posts will be some experts from the book.  The title is How to Pray and Stay Awake.  This has more than one meaning.  One reference could be the prayer most people offer before going to bed.  The title may suggest the content will help improve a persons prayers so that they will not find themselves dozing off while praying any longer.  Another meaning is possibly "how to pray".  How to really pray, not just talk to your pillow and wonder if what your doing is a waste of time.  Going along with that is the idea of "staying awake".  Not just holding off our nightly sleep, but spiritually remaining awakened.  The scriptures often refer to waking up (Alma 5:7).  Once a person begins to "awaken" unto God, there will be a need to remain awake and not drift or doze off.  So all of that may be implied by the title.

With that said here are some experts.  The back of the book says "One of the most loved books in the Church, thousands have testified that what is presented has been a turning point in their spiritual lives".  See what you think.

"Let us stop for a moment and think about ourselves and our praying.  So often we say our prayers but do not pray.  Was not Christ talking to us when he warned men not to pry as the hypocrites do? (Matthew 6:5).  Take for example the blessing of the food at our meals.  Is it being used as a signal to eat? Or as a benediction and thanksgiving?  When we pray in public , do we think too much about the audience and their reaction (Alma 33:8) and forget the divine person we are addressing?  We we say our silent prayers at night, have we sometimes realized that our minds have wandered?  And many times, after we have finished praying , does it seem as though we have just said so many words?

                      I often say my prayers, but do I really pray?
                      And do the wishes of my heart go with the words I say
                      I may as well kneel down and worship gods of stone
                     As offer to the living God a prayer of words alone.
                     A prayer uttered without faith, the Lord can never hear
                     Nor can he to those lips attend whose prayers are not sincere
                                                                                                       (Author unknown)
It is no wonder that we pray so little if a prayer is something to be taken care of rather than a blessing to be enjoyed."

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