Praying for Charity
by RI Editors
Please welcome Maria Farb, who is guest posting with us.
“…pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love [charity]…” (Moroni 7:48)
Though I have often prayed for charity, there are few times that I’ve truly prayed with full energy of heart. One time was on a busy day as a mother of four. My baby was not sleeping much at night and I was short-tempered. I hated feeling and acting cranky. At one point I asked my children what I could do when they don’t listen to me. My five-year-old son suggested, “say a prayer that we will listen to you.” As I prayed, the words of Moroni 7:48 came to mind. I prayed for a change of heart for myself, to have a heart of peace and charity despite what happens.
Two days later the clothes washer overflowed, soaking through the floor to the room below. That same day my husband hurt his back at work and was hardly able to stand up straight when he got home. Yet I didn’t feel overwhelmed as I usually would be. Even as I mopped up water and lugged heavy things out of the rooms, I felt peace.
The next days were no less busy but I felt a continued calm. We had to replace flooring, we had fruit to bottle, and I wanted to help my husband’s back heal. I saw more clearly what was important and what to let slide. And when having to juggle simultaneous urgent events, I could do so calmly. It was a peace so tangible I could feel it buffer me from the stress, giving me a place to think things through. This blessing of peace and calm remained in force for about a week.
Then it was as if Heavenly Father said, “Now you know how it feels; it is time for you to work to become this way.” I again felt the pressures and stress. But I wanted to keep the feelings of peace and knew it was possible. When I felt my throat tighten up or my head start to ache, I closed my eyes (sometimes put my hands over my ears), and said a silent prayer. I felt the Holy Ghost help me regain peace again and again. I was developing a closer, constant connection, and coming to understand how “charity is patient.”
I often thank Heavenly Father for this growing experience. After pondering and prayer, I felt I should again pray to be filled with charity. I prayed, being filled with the assurance that just as Heavenly Father had blessed me through the other trial he would do so in whatever was to come. If I’d known what was to come, I don’t know if I could have said that prayer.
My baby developed eczema: an oozing itch that he scratched at until it bled. We went to doctors, tried creams, cut all variety in his diet. We pled in prayer and sought direction in the temple. We held him, loved him, and cried for him. But nothing we did seemed to make a difference, and the problem only grew worse for many months.
The many priesthood blessings were hard and wonderful. Each time Heavenly Father told us He was aware of our baby’s trial and that eventually he’d be restored to full health. He blessed our baby to be comforted. He blessed us to be at peace in our hearts. He blessed each of us to learn what we need to through this time. He told us that this would continue until we learned the things we need to learn.
I prayed that I would quickly learn what I needed to learn so my child would not have to suffer any more.
I learned what it means to *wait upon the Lord. It requires complete trust in God, to keep going in what I can do and not lose hope, to acknowledge I cannot do it myself, to ask what the Lord wants me to do, then to follow received direction even if it doesn’t seem to make a difference, and to endure with gratitude. I learned to constantly seek direction and to be grateful for revelation, as it came step by step. Many times I felt an overwhelming love and peace as I poured out my soul in prayer.
And in learning to wait on the Lord I also learned a portion of charity. My faith and trust in God brought me closer to Him, opening my ears to hear what He wanted me to do — and usually that involved serving others. His blessing of peace and love showed me how to extend that same love and calmness to others. He taught me perspective and granted me strength to let go of those less important things, so I could attend to those most important: God, family, and neighbor.
After eight months brim full of tears and blessings, Heavenly Father sent us another blessing. He took away the eczema.
I am grateful for Heavenly Father’s tender mercies in giving me what I needed to develop more charity (though not in a way I wanted), and blessing us in a million ways through this tutorial.
Again I am preparing myself to pray for charity. I am closer to Heavenly Father. I am able to seek and attain peace under stress. I am more aware of the needs of others around me. I do not yet feel love for all people as my neighbor–though I strive to treat each person so. So I prepare to pray again to be filled more charity and I hope that this time it will not require a trial, but if so, I still desire this blessing.
*“Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done” Elder Robert D. Hales
Maria is a daughter of God, follower of Christ, wife and mother. She loves learning and sharing that love with her family. Her writings are mostly journal musings and letters to family, but do include one novel that made it through the slush pile at Penguin to an editor before being rejected. Other interests include reading (especially out loud), dinner time discussions, being outside and taking joy in life.