“Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1)
All too often our hearts and our minds are troubled, and understandably so. At times, life can be hard…really hard. Depression and mental illness intensify the challenges and difficulties of life, but it is during these difficult times that we need more than ever to follow the Saviour’s counsel to let not our hearts be troubled. How is this possible? When pain, sorrow, heartache and depression encompass our very being, how do we set our hearts free? Honestly, I don’t have the perfect answer to this. You see, the solution will always be as unique and individualized as the person experiencing the problem. There is not a “one size fits all” solution to mending a broken heart and mind afflicted with mental illness and depression. There is however, a very good starting point…prayer. When pain and sorrow overwhelm you, pray. When darkness engulfs you, pray. When life is too hard to stand, drop to your knees and pray.
Prayer, the means by which God’s children can commune with him on an individual basis, is one of our greatest blessings. Through prayer, we are blessed with comfort, healing, inspiration, and for a moment are able to experience just a small portion of the overwhelming love that our Father in heaven has for each one of us. God does not want to see his children suffer. He eagerly waits to extend his love and grace to every single one of us if we but ask. Our Saviour Jesus Christ promised the following:
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
What is it then that prevents us from calling upon God in prayer? I think there are two main reasons that prevent us from exercising sincere prayer. The first is doubt…does God really hear and answer our prayers, or are our prayers in vain? The only way to overcome this obstacle is to go ahead and pray anyways…don’t let doubt stop you. I promise that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So go ahead…pray. The second reason that prevents us from praying is the false belief that we are unworthy of God’s love and attention. When encompassed by the pain and darkness of depression, it is easy to feel of little worth or value, but this is when prayer is needed the most. There is no one who loves you as unconditionally and perfectly as God. He knows of your infinite worth…you are priceless and loved beyond measure. So go ahead…pray.
My relationship with God is what I cherish above all else. Prayer is an essential part of my physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing. Through prayer, I am able to pour out my heart…every pain, every sorrow, every fear. God hears and answers me in the most beautiful of ways. At times, I feel comforted in His warm and loving embrace…an undeniable physical sensation of warmth that engulfs my entire being. Other times, my prayers are answered through others. Specific needs of mine have been met by the help and kindness of others who have acted as instruments in the Lord’s hands. Lastly, answers to my prayers have come as I silently wait and listen. Answers have come in the form of thoughts, ideas, feelings and at times quiet whispers to my soul. Prayer is for me a consistent source of peace and joy.
This ends my sixth day of my challenge to experience joy, and what a much needed source of peace and comfort it has been. Here is my diary entry and reflections for day 6:
“This past week has been filled with its share of challenges, and I am grateful for my focus on prayer and meditation. I can say with absolute certainty that prayer is of significant help and comfort to me. I read “The Privilege of Prayer” by Elder J Devn Cornish and I really appreciated the following quote that he shared:
“To those within the sound of my voice who are struggling with challenges and difficulties large and small, prayer is the provider of spiritual strength; it is the passport to peace. Prayer is the means by which we approach our Father in Heaven, who loves us. Speak to Him in prayer and then listen for the answer. Miracles are wrought through prayer” (Thomas S Monson)
I made an effort to play calming and uplifting music throughout the day and found that to be helpful in preparing my mind and heart for sincere prayer. I also participated in a yoga class and found it to be very therapeutic and relaxing. I am looking forward to completing my challenge with day 7 where the focus will be on the Joy of Friendship.”
Day 7: The Joy of Friendship
- Pray for a friend who is struggling.
- Write a note to a friend.
- Do something nice to show appreciation for a friend in your life.
- Get together with friends for a social outing. Have fun!
- Be accountable.
- Reflect in your journal.