I was reflecting on a time when music brought such inspiration to my prayer life and wanted to share this experience from five years ago. Man, I miss singing in church…
We sang Did you think to Pray in the ward choir today. I’ve found that music is one of the easiest ways for me to worship God, receive inspiration, understand the gospel better, and feel the Spirit and this experience was no different.
We sang an arrangement of this hymn, put together by our director, and this is what made all the difference. Usually, after singing hymns on a regular basis, we don’t always pay as much attention to the words we are singing. So when we have a new arrangement, a new perspective, old phrases and words can become new again.
I have always loved this song. It makes me happy. But just like the scriptures, every time you read a verse again, you get something new out of it.
I have always known the words to this song. I have always known that I should pray when I am having trouble. I have always known that prayer is how we ask God for help. The words that always stuck out to me were “did you think to pray” because that is the name of the song and it encourages you to act, which I love. When I was 13 or so, our young women group did an activity where we made this little sign to hang next to our bed, so we would remember to pray each night.
Even better….. it glows in the dark!! So when you turn off the lights and think its time to head off to dream land, you can still remember to first get on your knees.
I’ll admit it doesn’t always do the trick for me…… Sometimes I ignore the glow-in-the-dark PRAY. Sometimes I am upset and don’t feel like praying (which is really when I should be praying more) and sometimes I smile and take a few minutes to say my prayers.
When we made this, each girl did theirs in a different way. Some put lots of decoration. Others put none. Some wrote out, “did you think to pray,” or “say your prayers,” but I just stuck with “Pray.” I felt it had more weight and more command to it. Like, “Melissa, Pray. Come on. You know it’s the right thing to do.” And that was great! And it worked–for the most part. When I was a teenager. But now I need more. I need a reason. Not just because I am supposed to, or because the glow-in-the-dark paint is telling me to. I needed a “why.” And when we sang this song for our Sacrament Meeting, that is what I got.
“Oh, how praying rests the weary! Prayer will change the night to day.”Did you Think to Pray – Hymn 140
This is why I need to pray–no–why I want to pray. Because prayer will change the night to day.
Yesterday I was in a rotten mood. And for no good reason either. I was feeling selfish, entitled and angry and just scrambled–like a scribble you make when you can’t get a pen to work. That’s how my heart was feeling. Luckily, I did my best to keep it in until my husband left for work (lucky for him). And then I sat down to figure this out. I have been trying hard to figure out where my negative feelings come from lately. So I thought a quiet afternoon of reading and reflection might do the trick.
I pulled out the book I have been reading, the book of BYU Women’s Conference from 2014 and started the next chapter. It talked about how the best way to improve your marriage is to look at what you can improve instead of what your partner needs to improve. Pretty easy, right? Ha…. wrong. Especially with my scribbly heart. And I began to get frustrated with myself. Which made it worse because I started out in a bad mood, and when I can’t get out of a bad mood (even by reading a great book), I get upset with myself for still being in one. And then the speech made me feel angry with my spouse because I couldn’t look at myself and then I felt angry with myself again, because I realized I was being that person who couldn’t see or change their own faults. And then I started to cry.
See? Scribbly…..scrambled…..no good.
As I reached for my tissue box, do you know what I saw next to it?
The unglowing PRAY. But do you know what I said to myself this time?
Melissa, you really don’t want to feel this way right now, and you should pray, because prayer will change the night to day. Prayer will change your scribbles into beautiful flowing cursive. Prayer will change the cloud over your head into a lightbulb.
So I prayed. I pleaded. I did not want to feel this way anymore. And so I asked. I asked Him for help. And you know what he did? He helped. In a way I cannot explain (but will try to) and a way I cannot entirely understand.
My scribbles went away and my worries went away. I stopped feeling worked up and felt at peace. I felt His love and His warmth. He helped me remember that I am of worth, I am His daughter. And that He will always be there. The rest of my day was amazing. I continued to read…with the right attitude and then I got out some other books and old notes from a college class about home and family and then I realized what I needed to do. I needed to focus on what is important. On what matters. I stopped worrying about the next wedding cake I was going to make, about my job, about little things that don’t matter, about possessions that matter much less than people and I realized how powerful I am when I know that I am capable of much and I can make a difference in my small little sphere. And how much loving others can make the world of difference. Night and day even.
He is always there. He always will be. We just have to ask for His help. Because He wants to help. He wants to hear from us. He wants us to pray. Because prayer will change the night to day. Will you let it? Will you let Him?
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”Matthew 7:7, KJV