Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chapter 4 - Pour

In Alma chapter 34, Amulek admonishes us to "pour out our souls."  This counsel was given in the context of prayer.  I looked up pour in the dictionary.  Pour, again is a verb.  A call to action.  Here are some details of the definition:
to cause to flow in a stream
I was amused by this one.  It made me wonder if my prayer might arrive in Heaven like a streaming video arrives on my computer.  While it is impossible to comprehend the power and capacity of our Heavenly Father, the Internet has made the seemingly impossible task of hearing and answering all of our prayers a little more conceivable to me.  Not that I think God requires technology to accomplish the task, just that this example helps me understand His capacity a little better.  What we see today was utter inconceivable 50 years ago, even less yet we take it so much for granted in the present moment.  Even as advanced in communication as we've become, we haven't even scratched the surface of what God can do.
to dispense from a container
Therapeutically speaking, keeping our troubles bottled up inside has never been good counsel.  Counselors  now-a-days often suggest getting it out by talking, writing and even art.  My experience confirms this.  My experience has been that opening up and really dumping my load on an attentive Father in Heaven is miraculously cathartic.  Sadly, I spent most of my life, telling Him what I thought He'd like to hear.  It was hard at first to expose myself that way.  After all, my own choices had caused most of the misery I was bellyaching about.  It didn't seem right to burden Him with my junk.  Eventually, I accepted this need and willingly opened my smelly can of worms and invited Him in to help clean it up.  I had to pour it all out there before He would help me with it.  The process emptied me of the burden and like we spoke of in an earlier chapter, opened up space for Him to pour light and virtue in to take it's place.
to supply or produce freely or copiously
Have you noticed that you don't have to make an appointment with God?  Rather, He invites us to pray always.  There is no limit to the volume of garbage He won't receive from us.  Christ's Atonement is infinite after all.  There is no limit to the praise He deserves or will accept either.  "I will...praise..thy name forever.." declared the Psalmist.  Copious.
to give full expression to, VENT
It's funny how, though we are aware that He knows and sees all, we still try to hide the details from Him in our prayers.  At least that is a tendency I'm susceptible to.  How unproductive it is to keep things back from Him.  We should neither assume He knows our weaknesses and sorrows nor presume He knows we love Him.  Part of the blessing of prayer, the revelation of prayer, is the understanding we arrive at when we actually express in detail what it is we seek or desire.

Have you ever thrown a tantrum in a prayer, or really went on a tirade?  I have.  I've been so frustrated that I even used foul language as I tried to get the sense that God was listening and had the power to help.  Later, of course I felt ashamed, apologized and asked for forgiveness.  Forgiveness was freely granted and a sense of Father's appreciative understanding flooded over me.  I felt as if He was thankful that I would bring my problem to Him.  I guess that shouldn't be a surprise.  After all, He gets it and was willing to sacrifice His Son to fix it.
to move or flow continuously 
We are invited to pray always.  I've always found this difficult.  Then one day I happened upon Alma's counsel to his son in Alma Chapter 37.  He said, "...let thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord..."  My thoughts were, especially at that time, always directed unto me.  And mostly it was negative self talk.  Directing my thoughts unto the Lord was like a complete about face.  Thinking to Him rather than to myself changed the entire nature of my thinking, my attitudes about prayer, my whole life.  Negative self talk is often referred to as Stinking Thinking.  I wish I knew who to credit for that telling couplet.  It would be fun to invent a positive version.  I couldn't come up with anything cute that fit.  No need.  Mary set the example for us when she pondered in her heart.  (I'll have to look that word up in my Lexicon.) (See Luke 2:19)

Are you beginning to see how this works?  I believe God selects carefully the words He chooses with which to communicate with us.  For example in the first chapter He might have used rescue rather than deliver, but if He had He would certainly not have conveyed the same message to me.  Here Amulek could have said pray in your closets, but we wouldn't have discovered the wonderful power that is found in the word he chose by revelation, pour.

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