I'll be honest. Sometimes I think my life is awful. But even in the hardest, most stressful moments of life, there is always meaning, hope, and light... gifts from God to help me be happy when happiness seems impossible. There is always hope, and there is always happiness available for those who seek it. This is the first post on some of the things that help me with life and help me be happy.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:22).
Having a relationship with God has been the most important thing that has helped me with life. And He helps me in every way. No matter what problems I face in life, I can pray to God, ask Him questions, and get answers to my prayers. I can tell Him my failures, and He will never love me less. I can talk about my trials, and He will do everything in His power to help me. And in my darkest hours, I can turn to Him and simply ask if He is there... and He always answers. Sometimes it's through another person, or in a feeling of peace, or in a beautiful sunset, or words spoken directly to my heart and mind... but it always comes eventually, as long as I ask in faith... and the knowledge that He cares and is involved in my life is enough to help me be happy no matter what I face.
The basics of prayer are the same for everyone, but each of us is different... and so is our relationship with God. So I thought I'd share a little about how to pray... at least, how I pray.
How to Pray:
Learning how to pray comes from understanding Who I am addressing. Just as I speak to a professional colleague differently than a neighbor, I pray to God differently than I speak to anyone else. Who is He? He's my Father... He loves me more than I could ever imagine... Will always listen, no matter what I've done wrong... And He wants nothing more than to help me with life and help me be happy.
Most of my prayers are part of everyday life. I see something beautiful and call upon God silently, thanking Him for the blessing I've seen. I see someone in need, and after I've done all I can, I silently ask Him to grant blessings I can't give myself. I find myself up against a challenge, and look to Heaven, asking for help to succeed. I hit all the stoplights green and give thanks that I wasn't late to my meeting. And then, each morning and night... and many times between, I close my eyes and simply talk with Him. I share what happened that day, the frustrations I've felt, the successes I've seen and ask for blessings on the people I've met. I ask Him to help me be happy - to help me with life and all of its trials. The Primary song that teaches children how to pray gives a decent outline:
"I begin by saying, 'Dear Heavenly Father,' then thank Him for blessings He sends. Then humbly I ask Him for things that I need, 'In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.'"
But I think that prayer is a lot more than just following the pattern... It comes with practice. I know it did for me. For me, prayer isn't a telephone call to Heaven. It's part of an always-on communication... where I'm checking in with God constantly... far more often than I check Facebook or my email account. Sometimes I actually voice my prayers, but throughout the day I feel like it's a continual conversation - a back and forth on what is happening (and what I should be doing) in life. And, in return for praying, the Lord gives me hope, happiness, and peace each day.