For My non LDS friends and Family. In our church we don't have a minister like other church's do. We have a bishop that presides over the Ward. Well he doesn't get up and give a sermon, he picks members to give talks from the congregation. He gives you a topic and sometimes a talk one of the church leaders has given in the past and you get up and talk about it. Well Ryan and I haven't had to do this in a really long time. I can't remember if we didn't have kids yet or if Hailey was a baby but either way its been at least 7 years. So when Ryan called me from the church on Wednesday to tell me the Bishop had asked us to Speak on Sunday. I told him well tell him no. and he told me to late I already told him yes. I said well go back in there and tell him no. But Ryan didn't back down and told me something like if you want to say no then you'll have to give the bishop a call and tell him no yourself. Well of course I didn't do that. I just grumbled and complained for 3 days about not wanting to do it. I have a really hard time getting started on my talks. It is very overwhelming for me but once I get going I do OK. I don't feel so stressed but then I remember that I have to stand up in front of everyone and actually give the talk and then I get all stressed out again. After I wrote it I timed it and it was 16 1/2 minutes before I bore my testimony. So I figured that would leave Ryan plenty of time to give his talk but when I actually gave the talk in ended up being 22 minutes long so poor Ryan had to cut time out of his. I didn't think it was that great but everyone for the rest of the day kept coming up and telling me how great I did. So here is the talk you missed if you don't go to church with me.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Vicki Owens. My husband is Ryan. We have been together 14 years and married for almost 12 years. We met when I was in High school, I was 16 and he was 19. 6 months later with his mom’s encouragement, I was taking the discussions and Ryan had returned to church. I was baptized in April of 1997, we were married in March of 1998 and we were sealed in the Mesa Temple in May of 1998. We have 3 kids. Hailey is almost 8, Jacob is 5, and Baby Ben is 2. And he's a lot of 2. So good luck Grandma (Jammie was sitting with the kids) Ryan and his business partner own an aviation business. And I work for my friend that’s a dentist, but luckily he lets me do most of my work from home, so I can be with the kids. We have lived in our house for 5 years, but we’ve been in 4 different wards during that time. And 2 or 3 Stakes I'm not sure on that one.
I know everyone always says how happy they are to be giving a talk… well Heavenly father has asked us not to lie so I won’t be saying that. The bishop is on my list now; I may ask him to substitute in Primary every week. I was hoping to get everyone to turn around in their benches and not look at me while I gave this talk but Ryan thought that might be too much of me to ask of everyone.
The bishop has asked me to speak on President Boyd K Packer’s October 2009 Conference talk on “Prayer and Promptings.”
President Packer said that “No father would send his children off to a distant, dangerous land for a lifetime of testing where Lucifer was known to roam free without first providing them with a personal power of Protection. He would also supply them with a means to communicate with Him from father to child and from child to father. Every child of our Father sent to earth is provided with the spirit of Christ, or the Light of Christ. We are, none of us left here alone without hope of guidance and redemption.”
This can also be found in D&C 48:46
46 And the Spirit giveth blight to cevery man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.
We just had this discussion with our kids during scripture study the other night, about how we can always talk to our heavenly father by saying our prayers and how heavenly father is always listening to us when we pray. It touches my heart to listen to my young children pray. Their sweet spirits are so thankful. They do a really good job of saying what they are thankful for and they never ask for toys and candy and games. The only things I ever hear them ask for is to have a good day, or sleep well, or for someone to feel better. Sometimes I wish my prayers could be so selfless. And to focus on what I’m thankful for instead of what I’m in need of.
Elder Packer shared a story of one his small children’s prayers. He said When I was first called as a General Authority nearly 50 years ago, we lived on a very small plot of ground in Utah Valley that we called our farm. We had a cow and a horse and chickens and lots of children.
One Saturday, I was to drive to the airport for a flight to a stake conference in California. But the cow was expecting a calf and in trouble. The calf was born, but the cow could not get up. We called the veterinarian, who soon came. He said the cow had swallowed a wire and would not live through the day.
I copied the telephone number of the animal by-products company so my wife could call them to come and get the cow as soon as she died.
Before I left, we had our family prayer. Our little boy said our prayer. After he had asked Heavenly Father to “bless Daddy in his travels and bless us all,” he then started an earnest plea. He said, “Heavenly Father, please bless Bossy cow so that she will get to be all right.”
In California, I told of the incident and said, “He must learn that we do not get everything we pray for just that easily.” There was a lesson to be learned, but it was I who learned it, not my son. When I returned Sunday night, Bossy had “got to be all right.”
I had to share this lesson with my mom a few years back when she was having a very hard time in her life. She was very ill and had almost died, my mentally unstable grandmother was living with her and my mom was working a job that she was really not physically able to do. She kept complaining to me that God was not answering her prayers. At first I let her vent to me but finally I told her “Mom, God always answers your prayers just sometimes the answer is no, or not right now.”
President Packer said “The Restoration began with the prayer of a 14 year old boy and a vision of the Father and the Son.” What a powerful tool prayer can be for ourselves and others.
“The Restoration of the gospel brought knowledge of the premortal existence. We know of the council in Heaven and the decision to send the sons and daughters of God into Mortality to receive a body and be tested.
And because of the war in Heaven we were given our free agency” We must use our free agency wisely and remain close to the spirit; otherwise, we foolishly find ourselves yielding to the enticement of the adversary.
We know that through the atonement of Jesus Christ our mistakes can be washed clean, and our mortal body will be restored to its perfect frame.
As stated in D&C 101:78
78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
So to me that means that through Christ’s Atonement we have been given the chance to return to heavenly father. What a great gift that is for each of us. But we have to be worthy of that gift. We are held accountable for our actions, so if we want to return to live with our heavenly father we have to make good choices. I look at it like I look at my kids. I’ve told Ben not to hit his sister in the head with his sippy cup or he’s going to time out. Well if he makes the choice to still hit her then he still has to face the consequences and go to time out. So if we don’t want to be in time out for the rest of eternity we need to do what the lord has asked of us.
Elder Packer quoted 1 Corinthians 2:10
10 “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God”
Following baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there comes a second ordinance: “Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost”
That sweet, quiet voice of inspiration comes more as a feeling than it does as a sound. Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind. The Holy Ghost communicates with our spirits through the mind more than through the physical senses.4 This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings through promptings and impressions.5 We may feel the words of spiritual communication more than hear them and see with spiritual rather than with mortal eyes.6
I did not grow up in a religious home. We went to church one year but that didn’t last long and we would go to church with my grandma every now and then. One summer we went to vacation bible school while staying with my grandma, so I knew less at 17 when I started taking the discussions then what my 7 year old knows now. So in my family we always said “Something told me not to go there” or “something told me to go check on my kids” I always thought that was an odd statement growing up. And always wondered what the something was. Well now I know that “something” my family always spoke of was actually the Spirit. And when the missionaries taught me that after baptism I could have that with me always I was so excited.
Elder Packer shared a story he said “I served for many years in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with Elder LeGrand Richards. He died at the age of 96. He told us that as a boy of 12 he attended a great general conference in the Tabernacle. There he heard President Wilford Woodruff.
President Woodruff told of an experience of being prompted by the Spirit. He was sent by the First Presidency to “gather all the Saints of God in New England and Canada and bring them to Zion.”
He stopped at the home of one of the brethren in Indiana and put his carriage in the yard, where he and his wife and one child went to bed while the rest of the family slept in the house. Shortly after he had retired for the night, the Spirit whispered, warning him, “Get up, and move your carriage.” He got up and moved the carriage a distance from where it had stood. As he was returning to bed, the Spirit spoke to him again: “Go and move your mules away from that oak tree.” He did this and then retired once again to bed.
Not more than 30 minutes later, a whirlwind caught the tree to which his mules had been tied and broke it off at the ground. It was carried 100 yards through two fences. The enormous tree, which had a trunk five feet in circumference, fell exactly upon the spot where his carriage had been parked. By listening to the promptings of the Spirit, Elder Woodruff had saved his life and the lives of his wife and child.8
Think of how easily it would be for any of us to ignore those promptings to brush them off. It’s easier to ignore what we don’t want to do than to listen to the Spirit sometimes.
Elder Packer said “This process is not reserved for the prophets alone. The gift of the Holy Ghost operates equally with men, women, and even little children. It is within this wondrous gift and power that the spiritual remedy to any problem can be found.
As stated in Alma 32:23
23: “And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned”
A few months ago I was bathing the kids and when I went back in the bathroom to clean up, Hailey had picked up all the towels and hung them back up. So I told her “Thank you for picking those up with out being asked” and she said to me “you did ask me to” when I said “no I didn’t” she said but I heard someone say “Pick the towels up” so we had a talk about listening when the spirit speaks to you and that she was in tune with the spirit.
Another example in D&C 8:2
2:The Lord has many ways of pouring knowledge into our minds to prompt us, to guide us, to teach us, to correct us, to warn us. The Lord said, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart”
You can know the things you need to know. Pray that you will learn to receive that inspiration and remain worthy to receive it. Keep that channel—your mind—clean and free from the clutter of the world.
I know I struggle with this. Trying to keep all the things straight that I have to do or didn’t get done, or completely forgot about. Trying to keep them out of my mind while I’m praying. For me they tend to sneak back in after I’ve pushed them out.
He told of another story
Elder Graham W. Doxey, who once served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy, told me of an experience. His mother, who was later a counselor in the Primary general presidency, also told me of this experience.
During World War II, he was in the navy posted to China. He and several others went by train to the city of Tientsin to look around. Later they boarded a train to return to their base, but after more than an hour, the train turned north. They were on the wrong train! They spoke no Chinese. They pulled the emergency cord and stopped the train. They were put off somewhere in the countryside with nothing to do but walk back to the city.
After walking for some time, they found a small pump-handle car, the kind that the railroad workers use. They set it in the rails and began to pump their way along the tracks. It would coast downhill, but it had to be pushed uphill.
As they came to one steep downhill slope, they scrambled aboard the car and began to coast. Graham was the last to get aboard. The only place left for him was in the front of the car. He ran alongside and finally climbed aboard. As he did so, he slipped and fell. He was bouncing on his back with his feet against the car to keep from being run over. As the car quickly gained speed, he heard his mother’s voice say, “Bud, you be careful!”
He wore heavy military boots. His foot slipped, and the thick sole of his boot caught in a gear of a wheel and stopped the car just one foot from his hand.
His parents, who were presiding over the East Central States Mission at the time, were sleeping in a hotel room. His mother sat up at about 2:00 in the morning and awakened her husband: “Bud’s in trouble!” They knelt by the bed and prayed for the safety of their boy.
The next letter he received said, “Bud, what’s wrong? What happened to you?”
He then wrote to tell them what had happened. When they compared times, at the very time he was bouncing along that track, his parents were on their knees in the hotel room half a world away, praying for his safety.
These experiences of prompting and prayer are not uncommon in the Church. They are part of the revelation our Heavenly Father has provided for us.
One of the adversary’s sharpest tools is to convince us that we are no longer worthy to pray. No matter who you are or what you may have done, you can always pray.
I have never felt unworthy to pray but I have felt like a spoiled brat, and I will be really upset or stressed out about something and Ryan will suggest to me that I pray and I will say to him “I don’t want to”. So then I have to stop and realize that that’s what Satan wants, he wants me to be stressed and grouchy so then I stop acting like a spoiled brat and say a prayer so I can be comforted and feel better. And wouldn’t you know it always works. Don’t tell Ryan he was right. He’ll get a big head.
President Packer said When temptation comes, you can invent a delete key in your mind—perhaps the words from a favorite hymn. Your mind is in charge; your body is the instrument of your mind. When some unworthy thought pushes into your mind, replace it with your delete key. Worthy music is powerful and can help you control your thoughts.10
In D&C 25:12
12 For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.
I like this idea I think I will try to implement it in my own life. I shouldn’t admit this to everyone but I have a really hard time with having judgmental thoughts about other people and I’m always trying to push them out of my mind. That’s Satan preying on my weakness but I think I will try to replace those thoughts with the words from the hymn “A child’s prayer”, because that’s my favorite.
President Packer said Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees. Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil. And I have learned to conclude all my prayers with “Thy will be done”
Do not expect to be free entirely from trouble and disappointment and pain and discouragement, for these are the things that we were sent to earth to endure.
We have a routine at our house at night. P.J.'s Book, scripture, family prayer. and my sweet Jacob our 5 year old he won't let us skip a step. Especially if it's late and were trying to get in to bed quicker part of that is his OCD, which I don't know where he got that couldn't be from me. But he'll say to us Prayers important right? Then when he crawls into bed if one of us don't come to help him say his prayers he'll call to us from the room I need help. I hope he carries this on with him in to adult hood the importance of daily prayer both family and personal.
When I went to church the first time with Ryan’s parents I didn’t even know how to pray, and when we were in Sunday School the teacher asked me if I would give the prayer and I said “No Thank you” He looked so shocked but I’m sure if he would have known I didn’t even know how he wouldn’t have asked me. Ryan’s mom said to me later “I’ve never seen anyone say no before” I told her I don’t know how. She then took it upon herself to teach me. I have not been including “Thy will be done in my prayers but as I have matured in the gospel I have changed my wording from “Heavenly father please give me the job I applied for” to “Heavenly father please help me find what you think would be best for me” I word it so it is His will not my own demands or wants.
This is a conversation I’ve had with both my mom and my kids. Just because you want something real bad and pray for it a lot doesn’t mean Heavenly father is just going to give it to you. Like I said before sometimes the answer is “NO”
The scriptures promise in 1 corinthians 10:13
13:“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it”
The Savior said, in D&C 88:63
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”
Then I bore my testimony. But I couldn't tell you what I said because I was so overwhelmed with the spirit at this point that I was crying and in tears. But I do know that I forgot to bear my testimony about my talk subject. But oh well it's to late now.