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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Have you been forgetting this in your evening prayers?



What is *not* known by most members of the church are three words which, when heeded and lived, will transform your life significantly and practically ensure daily spiritual experiences for the rest of your life: RETURN AND REPORT.

When I was on my mission -- and I don't know where I learned it, I just did -- I learned the importance of 'return and report'. In my nightly prayers, I went to Father and said, 'Here's what I did today. Here's what I was proudest of. Here's where I think I botched things up'. What was interesting was when I'd wait to 'sense' feedback. It was so beautiful. I'd sense enthusiastic words and phrases at my accomplishments, and gentle and tender understanding at my failures. It was almost as if I were sensing, 'That's okay. What are some of the things WE can work on to turn this into a success?'

After discussing options with Heavenly Father, I would notice my heart would change. I would want to do better. I would then recommit myself to do better when that situation arises again, and ask Father to bring to my recollection that I am re-encountering a scenario which I had failed earlier, giving me both the insight and strength I need to emerge the victor over a situation I had previously failed in.

This "evening return and report" concept is nothing new. Pres. N. Eldon Tanner once stated:
"I can never begin to express my gratitude to my parents for teaching me this important principle. My father really knew how to talk to the Lord, and made him seem so real and near to us. He would pray in the morning: "Let thy blessings attend us as we go about our duties, that we may do what is right and return tonight to report to thee." (N. Eldon Tanner, "Importance and Efficacy of Prayer," Ensign, Aug. 1971, 2)

"This always gave us greater strength to meet and overcome temptations for we knew that we would be reporting to the Lord at night. I am going to report to the Lord tonight, I used to think. And this thought helped me to live a better life during the day." (N. Eldon Tanner, "Friend to Friend: Reporting to Father," Friend, June 1973, p. 8)
During these Return and Report sessions, 
"We can monitor our own progress and discern the gains we make and the patterns in which we are vulnerable to temptation. I am indebted to a wise old friend (both in years and in association) of another faith who taught me to take an active interest in learning about the patterns in my life and how temptations occurred. He struggled a long time with some of his temptations and finally decided to take a proactive interest. He tried to anticipate where in his life he might encounter that "old trickster devil" again. He became a good scout. He watched the terrain of his life and could tell where it looked like his own form of quicksand might be. He rerouted and gave up trying to see how close he could get to that quicksand without getting caught." (Marie Cornwall and Susan Howe, eds., Women of Wisdom and Knowledge: Talks Selected from the BYU Women's Conferences, p.114)
As we do this, we not only draw closer to the Lord, but we also find ourselves becoming more empowered to forsake and overcome sin. "We find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord" (President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Oct. 1989, p. 5) -- thus fulfilling the promise made in Ether 12:27 -- "… if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.… my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

In fact, because we are not being compelled to repentance, but are actively seeking to do so, we gain a confidence, an assurance, a positiveness denied to most mortals.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once stated, 
“Repentance is not a foreboding word. It is, following faith, the most encouraging word in the Christian vocabulary. Repentance is simply the scriptural invitation for growth and improvement and progress and renewal. You can change! You can be anything you want to be in righteousness.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “For Times of Trouble,” BYU Devotional Address, 18 March 1980).
Also,
"As you kneel in humility before our Father daily, tell him openly of your progress, and also of your fears and doubts. As you draw near to Him, He draws near to us. He gives us peace and encouragement. He heals our souls." (Elder Bruce D. Porter, "Searching Inward," Ensign, Nov. 1971, 65).

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4 comments:

  1. Excellent -- I love that idea. Thank you.

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  2. If I had not learned to do this as an addict I would still be in active addiction, but I didn't just pray at night I prayed always no matter where I was and would say things like, "Heavenly Father I know that what I am doing right now is wrong, but I don't know how to get out of it," a voice would come into my mind that would say "it's ok, this is not who you really are, you will not always be this way,i will help you overcome all things even as I have, just keep talking to me and I will help you. I promised that I would be your savior and I am faithful and will keep that promise as long as you come to me, I love you and will not leave you just keep praying, I will not give up on you, please don't give up on me."
    I have been sober for over 6 yrs and have had many marvelous revelations. This principle is so true, I would just add look to him with every thought commune with him he will always talk back if we are but willing to listen!

    By doing so you will learn that he really is your best friend, savior, and advocate!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Casey. I am thrilled to be given so much insight from this blog and others who dare share their knowledge of God and His infinite love for us. I want to become His daughter and understand charity--His pure love--and be FILLED with it! I believe it really is rooted in having "a correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes," and I relish hearing this from you because it deepens that understanding in me. Wonderful! Beautiful! Thank you!

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