Disclaimer: This blog is a way of expressing my personal opinions thoughts and anecdotes, as well as my personal understanding of the scriptures, and conference addresses. It is not meant as a statement of doctrine, and may not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, or doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
23 July 2015
The Power of Premeditated Prayer, Part II (Gospel Doctrine Lesson 25)
I was realizing that my very first blog post was around this time, four years ago. That post, "the Power of premeditated prayer" was a reflection of thoughts as a learner in Sunday school. This past week, I had the opportunity to cycle back through that particular block of scripture, but this time as a teacher (as well as a learner).
The significance of the Savior's mission has expanded greatly since that post. I have been able to teach the Old Testament, as well as current Church History, since then. Seeing the power of the faithful covenant-keepers in the Old Testament (as well as those who struggled) and their faith in a redeemer, the Lord's constant desire to draw His people close to him, and the promise of redemption, culminated in the last week of the life of Jesus Christ. The power of the meaning behind the various festivals (discussed in an earlier post) and the love and power that Jesus taught to his disciples are seen in strong relief in the week of the suffering in the garden (initiating the atonement by being reckoned with the transgressors) and the crucifixion.
The prayer in the Garden was a focal point in the lesson, just as it was in looking at it four years ago. I found a few additional points of interest in the process. Peter, who was commanded to strengthen his brethren after being converted, brings questions about what true conversion is, and what the fruits of it are. He finds the trusted three (Peter, James, and John) asleep three times during his suffering in the Garden (known as the place of the olive press, significantly). He asked them to stay awake more than once, knowing that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Before we judge them too harshly, we must ask ourselves what we have slept through when the Lord has asked us to do something. Are not those tasks just as simple in many occasions? "Stay awake and Pray" "stay awake and study My word" and "stay awake and love one another"
There is a recent general conference address called "sleeping through the restoration" and questions similar to the ones above are mentioned. "Awakening and arising" are the first part to true conversion. He calls Peter out specifically in the Garden to stay awake.
In the original post, the primary focus was on the ability to pray with purpose, and in a place that is familiar, or where one is used to communing with God. This is significant, and an additional insight comes in John 18:2. We can and should be prepared to feel revelation, but the adversary also knows our hopes to commune, and will either prevent us from so doing, or will attempt to attack us in the moment of our hope. Jesus was able to be fortified by Angels (symbolizing the Aaronic Priesthood, caring for the temporal needs) and the Apostles (signifying the Melchizedek Priesthood, or
Administrating the spiritual needs) and through the power of Christ, eventually overcame the adversary, the final enemy being death.
We can gain strength in overcoming adversity as we partake of similar ministering. Honoring covenants given through the Aaronic priesthood such as baptism and the sacrament, and the Melchizedek through following the prompting of the Spirit and the Temple.