Wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart. (1 Nephi 2:16)
When I first joined the Church, I was taught to pray very formally, to show a respectful attitude toward the Lord. While respect is certainly deserved, and formal prayer has it’s place, I had no idea that they were also keeping me from full recovery, and therefore, salvation.
My overly formal and arms-length attitude toward the Lord kept me from feeling His love and presence in my life. In my prideful judgement of myself, I avoided coming to Him directly, personally, one-on-one. Instead, I relied entirely upon other people’s testimonies of Him. As a result, I didn’t know Him. I only knew about Him.
As I began to learn and apply the principles of recovery found in the Twelve Steps, I descended into the terrible darkness that truth sometimes brings. I had to face the truth about my condition—that I didn’t just have a bad habit with emotional eating. I had a full blown addiction to food.
Fortunately, as I continued in recovery, I began to see myself as I really was in mortality—lost without the Savior’s friendship. At that point, I became willing to cry unto the Lord, as did Nephi. Without measure or hesitation, I poured out my heart’s deepest need and desire—to know Him for myself.
Before that prayer was over, I experienced the presence of the Lord. It came in a similar way as I had read described by other addicts. I did not seen anything—at least not with my physical eyes. I did not hear anything with my physical ears. But, I knew—I really knew for the first time—that God lives.
I experienced His living presence. I perceived His loving words whispered into my mind, causing my body and spirit to respond. I knew I had been visited by the Lord, and that He had done for me what I could not do on my own. He had softened my heart and strengthened my desire to recover.
Nothing could ever again be a sufficient substitute for having this degree of consciousness of His living reality and His specific, direct love for me.
Prayerful thought: Lord, for so long I was afraid to cry out to Thee, really pour out my soul to Thee. I don’t know why, except that I was deceived by the Liar. I pray I will never, ever forget the sweetness of conscious contact with Thee.
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