Mighty Prayer


It has been a hard couple months, and I apologize for not keeping up with the UnBlog. You have all been kind and patient with me, and I thank you.

Last Sunday I taught the priesthood lesson on prayer. It was interesting because the Stake President was in attendance. He is one of my favorite people because he understands the Gospel so well, (which means, the same way I do) and his contribution to the class is to bring every discussion back to Christ.

I think there are two very powerful tools we have to bring us from our routine prayers into prayer that soars to the heavens and calls down great blessings.

This first is to take the Holy Spirit with you into prayer. The scriptures are full of examples of great people literally parting the veil with this type of prayer. The first and greatest step is to take the Holy Spirit to be your guide in your daily life. I don’t believe it is possible to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit during the day, and then suddenly reverse that for prayer at night. We must learn to “hear” the things of the Spirit in order to “pray in the spirit” (D&C 46:28, 30), and we develop our spiritual ears through the walk of our lives.

Once one is attuned to the voice of revelation we can invite that grand and divine gift into our prayers. It requires kneeling and waiting, pondering and devotion, not speaking of our own mind, but waiting until the revelatory voice comes. Then, feelings of worship and praise become inspired words. Such words do not always frame themselves in our native tongue, but have the tendency to soar from our souls without a need to form into language. Often such non-language is beautiful, has poetic form, sometimes meter and melody. The scriptures refer to it as “Singing the song of redeeming love.”

Prayer of this caliber is called “mighty prayer” in the scriptures. It is the precursor of everything revelatory. I believe, and it is my experience, that every mighty gift from heaven begins as this type of prayer.

The second step is to pray often and long. I consider it unlikely that a mortal could conquer this type of prayer without praying often and sincerely, as best we are able, at least 20 minutes per day. When the heart is drawn out in prayer, such prayers go on through the day, finding surface in quiet moments, devotional thoughts, moments of repentance and consecration, whispers of gratitude and silent longing all through the day. Then when we take a whole day of informal prayer and punctuate it with 20 minutes of “mighty prayer”, the heavens begin to part.

As a final thought, I want to say most emphatically that these lofty things await you. No matter where you are, or what your present spirituality is, you can ply the seas of grace and arrive at mighty prayer. It isn’t something you will conquer in one or two attempts, but over years of effort. God wants us to dedicate and consecrate our lives to finding Him so that He can heal and redeem us. Consecration isn’t just in a willingness to abandon our “things” as God requires, but to give our time and devotions and hours of prayer to find Him.

Why does He ask such devotion and dedication of us? It is because He ultimately wants to invest in us His great creative power, His power to form worlds and create universes and to continue the work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of the inhabitants of those worlds. He cannot invest such glory and power in the hands of imperfect souls, and this life is the little moment of eternity where we get to choose and demonstrate our devotion to those very laws and perfections which define Father, Himself.

Brother John

© May 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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13 Responses to Mighty Prayer

  1. Annalea says:

    I’ve often wondered why it is that many people, myself included, feel so led to call you Brother John . . . and reading this, today, it came to me clearly. You typify, in your peaceful walk, your earnest testifying, your gentle voice, one who deserves that honorific. I can’t imagine calling you by any other name, should I ever have the pleasure of hearing you speak in person.

    Have a blessed Sabbath, Brother John. This post has blessed mine.

    Like

    • Thank you so much. I have wondered why people tend to call me Brother John for years. I moved into a new ward two years ago when we moved to Utah. I introduced myself by my full name many times and people just started calling me Brother John. It has happened over the years pretty consistently. I am not able to analyze my own life clearly enough to know if what you suggest is why, but I am humbled that you would think so.

      When I began writing the UnBlog I was planning to do it anonymously by signing things “Brother John”. But, the Spirit instructed otherwise before I published the first article. Now, I sign things “Brother John” just to indicate that I am writing as a disciple of Christ, giving the glory to the source of the inspiration that moves me rather than to my own name.

      Thank you, and Happy Sabbath to you as well,

      Brother John

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      • Robin Carlson says:

        Dear Bro. John;
        I really liked Annalea’s comment. She put into words what I couldn’t except that from the time I started reading the UnBlog it just seemed “right” to address you as “Bro John” (I admit I’m one to try to save effort by abbreviation). Apparently I still have some work to do in learning to translate
        “feelings” into “words” (thought).
        Anyway, again thanks, your writings have made a number of Sabbaths for me. A lot of other evenings when I’m pestered with insomnia/chronic pain problems I’ve been glad to have your positive take on a number of Gospel
        subjects.
        May the Lord bless you.
        Sincerely,
        Robin Carlson

        Like

  2. Chris says:

    This is a particularly powerful post for me. Thank you so much.

    Chris

    Like

  3. David P says:

    I have reached this level praying that you describe and it is dead on what I have experienced. These prayers have dialog and many instant answers when I am asking questions that are relevant to the here and now and I am totally open to the response, especially when I am corrected. I quite often get a chuckle out of how simple the solution is compared to how anxiously I had pondered it. The frequent repetition of that has developed my faith into having an expectation of revelation.

    You are right that it definitely requires the Holy Spirit to be present, because we speak to the Father, but the Spirit gives the answers. It’s a one-way conversation if we aren’t involving the whole Godhead. The Savior guides us in knowing what to ask for and adding his testimony when we close in his name.

    A little trick that I have learned when I start a prayer and don’t feel the Spirit is to bear my testimony to my Heavenly Father. I tell him the things that I know are true, and it immediately invites the Spirit to confirm and testify, which also helps to reinforce my testimony.

    I have also learned that getting answers has two major components that I have found that many people overlook. The first to tell the Lord what you want. There’s no need to ask what he wants you to do, because we already know that he wants us to serve him in all things. Ask him what will make you happy, because he already knows that serving him will make you happy, but that certain circumstances will be more rewarding for you.

    That may mean you get adversity at first, because you can’t see the view until you climb the mountain. It is easy to mistake that for either a wrong answer, or no answer. Employing this type of prayer will leave you with confidence and assurance even in adversity, because you can be certain that the Lord is guiding you to something great.

    The other component is also faith-related. Ask, being really open to the answer, and if it requires an answer that can’t be delivered within the prayer it is especially important to take the Spirit with you. Then forget about what you are seeking, and any preconception you have made about what the answer is. Then just do whatever feels “right” to do, even if it doesn’t make any sense at all to you. Just trust the feeling, like Pres. Packer said in Conference.

    I guarantee that you will be blown away by the results. You WILL believe in miracles, not because they are big and showy, but because they are nearly constant, though they may be very small. What happens is that the Spirit doesn’t just guide you to the one answer, but guides you in everything, even things that seem unimportant but they make you happy, and that’s what our Heavenly Father really wants for us.

    The key is to be completely trusting. As soon as you start rejecting things because they are inconvenient, or not what you would rather do at that particular time, the Spirit respects your agency and stops telling you what to do.

    The most critical promptings are the ones that tell you not to do something. If you are about to buy something and start to doubt whether you really should, guess what? You shouldn’t. I can’t tell you how many times it turned out I got a better deal somewhere else, or that I had an expense that I forgot, or didn’t know was coming. It may be something that you genuinely need and see no logical reason to not buy it. Trust the feeling and wait to be amazed.

    I used to be reluctant to try this, as it is submitting completely to the will of the Lord. I thought it would be hard and that I would be required to change all my faults instantly. As my mother would say: Pish-Posh. Every decision I have made following this direction has made my life easier and more rewarding, especially the ones that “look” hard and require more sacrifice than I want. I learned the hard way that when you are told to do those and you put it off, you get no guidance at all until you do, and it’s never been as bad as I thought it would be. Those are the ones that bring the greatest rewards.

    My life has changed profoundly since I started this and my testimony has become rock-solid. Yeah, satan will make me prove that, but does he ever do any differently? I know the Lord is with me, and the only thing I should fear is not listening to him.

    Like

    • David,

      This is a wonderful testimony. Thanks for sharing it even thought it exceeds the 250 word limit :-). I published it all because it is so encouraging and on the mark.

      Thanks!

      Like

  4. Sharon says:

    Welcome back! Glad you’re feeling better. Once again, this is a true and inspired post. Some time ago I had asked you for suggestions on how I could be in the world but not of the world as I was having a hard time focusing on Christ while focusing on my job.

    Since then, I have multiplied my efforts to keep my heart drawn out in prayer and I think its working! Like you said here, I am finding that in my determination to consecrate my life to Him, prayers and devotional thoughts do surface during quiet moments and surprisingly, I seem to have more quiet moments during the day at work than I thought I had…;-)

    Thanks again!

    Like

  5. Matt E says:

    I would guess I’m not the only one who sometimes runs out of things to say before 20 minutes has passed. Any practical suggestions for when this occurs? Think of more things to express gratitude for? Repeat requests for things we deeply desire? Other?

    Like

    • You know, that is a common experience. I think the best thing to do is quit talking and just be quiet. This is when the answers come. If we’re constantly talking, it isn’t a conversation. I find that just being quiet and pondering some blessing, or feeling grateful for the atonement or other blessings is a powerful mode of prayer.

      Like

  6. Elizabeth says:

    “It isn’t something you will conquer in one or two attempts, but over years of effort. ”

    Brother John,
    I read this quote and my first impression was how discouraging this process can be if it takes YEARS of effort. While personally I know what you are talking about and I agree, someone who does not have the experiences may be overwhelmed with that thought and think why bother? So, if I may be so bold to say, that the process, which takes years to develop, is not without significant rewards along the way. To this I testify, in the name of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

    Like

  7. Scot Jones says:

    John-

    As usual, you frame into words the perfectly how I feel. I am so thankful that you share your gifts and talents with your friends. I hope that you are feeling better. 2 Timothy 2:21-22

    Scot

    Like

  8. dave says:

    Amen.

    Like

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