Please let me apologize for this recent silence. As the months pass and Phil’s ALS grows more and more debilitating, I find my scripture capturing (personal application and journaling) from the He Did Deliver Me excercises becoming more and more one-on-one in seeking the counsel of the Lord and recording it.
Recently, I did find this precious entry in my April 1990 journal, though, and felt immediately to share it here. It describes the original “mighty change” (humbling awakening) I had 29 years ago when I first heard (with a humbled heart) President Benson say . . .
“Put God first . . .”
How easy and simple that sounded.
Put God first? But how do we do that?
The answer’s so simple it gives you chills to realize it. By getting up early enough in the morning to spend quiet, private time in attending to Him, reading the written scriptures, opening our hearts to receive our own personal instructions (scriptures).
How early? That’s each person’s call. Each of us knows our own life.
How long? Again–your answer. Only you know your own attention span–your own circumstances.
I would counsel you, though, to avoid the pitfalls of perfectionism and the “all-or-nothing” syndrome. It’s as deadly to your spiritual growth as any physical malfunction could be to your physical self.
Remember the power of the little bit, as in Alma’s testimony about the power of just a desire. If ye have so much as a desire, then let that desire work in you (take some action on it–even if it just the smallest bit.)
I had to learn that here again my pride was standing in my way. It was, in Truth, me who was too proud and perfectionistic to settle for a little prayer uttered or only a few minutes of exposure to scripture.
In my estimation it had to be at least 20 or 30 minutes long for the prayer to my “mighty” enough and another half hour or a whol chapter in the scriptures to be effective enough.
And yet Alma said even a desire was enough if I would put some–put any amount of faith (action) into it.
Then I began to realize that a “mighty” prayer has virtually nothing to do with time–with length–and everything to do with a sincerity, with real intent. Even a single phrase uttered or a single phrase read of God’s word was worth all the other words I might bombard my mind with in a day.
For example, to take just the phrase, “Having been born of goodly parents,” or “having seen many afflictions . . . yet having been highly favored of the Lord” was sufficient food for pondering and prayerful thought all day.
So, put God first in my life,” became put God first today–just for today–one day at a time.
That was “easy” enough . . . at least easy enough to think about. Doing it took another degree of willingness altogether. Long remembered phrases like Stephen Covey’s classic, “mind over mattress” began to haunt me again.
I certainly had the will, but I just as certainly lacked the power. Now what to do?
Then I heard someone say, “It has to be my will, but God’s power.” And suddenly, I found myself gifted with power not of my own connected somehow to my will. It was like suddenly my “self” was unplugged and God was plugged in. It was like going form a model T to a Porsche, from Kitty Hawk to “The Eagle has landed.”
Now, when I wake up in the morning and feel the willingness to get up, if I just had the power–I know when to start praying. Right there on my back.
“Good morning, Heavenly Father, Dearest Savior, Holy Spirit. I’m willing . . .