Today was High Counselor Sunday. As kids, we used to call it Dry Counselor Sunday because the High Counselor usually gave a boring talk. But today's speaker was anything but dry. In fact, it was one of the best talks I've heard in a Sacrament meeting in recent memory.
His subject, given from the Stake President, was prayer. He structured his talk around an acronym ... A.S.K.
When we pray, we should:
A - be ALONE. He mentioned that when Joseph Smith went to inquire of the Lord, he went to the woods to be entirely alone. As the Savior taught in 3 Nephi 13:6, we should enter into our closets and shut the door to be alone. I think we are asked to pray in private so that we are honest in our prayers ... so that we feel we can say and express anything to our Heavenly Father.
S - SPEAK. When we pray, we should not keep the words in our minds. Although we can say a prayer in our hearts anytime, when we pray privately in our closets, we should pray out loud. He again referenced the First Vision and mentioned that Joseph Smith, when he entered the woods to pray, had never prayed out loud before. I've prayed out loud before as well as prayed in my mind and there is a distinct difference between the two. When I pray out loud, hearing myself speak to Heavenly Father is more sincere and humbling.
K - KNEEL. When we pray privately, we should kneel as an act of reverence to the Lord. I remember as a missionary we would put our flip flops on the floor and kneel on them because the cement was so hard. But now that I live in a carpeted home, I find myself not kneeling in personal prayer so often.
Amen - Another point he discussed in his talk was that when we say "amen" we are saying we agree with what was said. He discussed that fact that we need to say "amen" with faith. He suggested that when we say "amen" we should add a few words in our mind ... "go to work." So when we say amen, in our heart and mind, we should be saying "I agree to go to work." By doing this, we will exercise our faith more. I think it was President Hinckley (although I may be wrong on that) who said "pray as if everything depends on God and then work as if everything depends on you."
It was a great talk on prayer. I really needed to hear those words of counsel today.