When There are No Words, God Still Hears

God Still HearsLet’s face it, there are sometimes when we kneel to pray, and the words don’t come. There are times when someone else is suffering so badly that we can’t begin to know how to help, let alone respond. There are times when despite our best efforts, nothing works, and there is nothing we can do about it.

It’s at those times, I remind myself of this simple principle: when there are no words, God still hears.

I remember once talking to a woman once who was afraid to pray. It seemed that every time she tried, something would go wrong. Her life itself had paralyzed her from the ability to kneel and speak to God.

Though I couldn’t pretend to know what she was going through, I was having a pretty tough time myself at the time. Not knowing what else to say, I told her that I too, have had times when it was difficult to pray. For me it was never out of fear, but out of frustration, anger, guilt, or dismay.

“At those times,” I told her, “all I can seem to do is listen. If I have no words to say, I simply address my Father in Heaven and then listen in my heart. I know that our Father in Heaven can hear the words that we cannot say, and will answer those prayers. But pray to Him, even if all you can do is listen.”

At that time, I discovered the truth of Elder Packer’s words that “In your emotions, the spirit and the body come closest to being one,”* because as I spoke, the Spirit grew very strong, and I wept.

I know now that at those times of struggle, when I felt that there were no words to speak in my prayers, and I simply opened my prayer and then listened—my heart was speaking, even though my mind was silent. Since that conversation I’ve thought about that concept often. Sometimes my heart feels so empty that I feel that there is nothing to say. Sometimes I feel so ashamed that I can’t bare to speak a word—even in my mind. Sometimes I feel so hurt that I can’t find the words to speak.

Through such experiences, I have discovered something about our Father in Heaven. He is the most perfect listener in the universe. He can hear words that are not even spoken in the mind. I wonder sometimes if the spirit of a person communicates in a different way than by language. I wonder if it speaks through feelings and concepts. Whether or not this is the case, I know that our Father in Heaven hears those feelings as clearly as if I’d shouted them out loud.

I wouldn’t suggest that our prayers ought not include words. I believe that these things are necessary to building and strengthening our relationship with God, especially in offering thanks, petitioning for the Lord’s help, and in the repentance process. I believe that prayer should include entire conversations with Heavenly Father. But on those rare moments when we cannot seem to say the words, whatever the reason, if we open our prayer and simply listen for a few minutes, we will hear and learn things that we may have never been able to learn in any other way.

By our becoming acquainted with God’s beautiful power to listen to the words we do not speak, we will learn to listen to the finer, purer, wordless messages that He sends so regularly to our hearts.

(Boyd K. Packer, “Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise,” Liahona, Jun 1997, 8)

Date Ideas: Occupational Career Dates

One of the things that you’ll want to learn about your date is her career plans. Once you find out what she wants to do for the rest of her life, plan a date based around that thing. (And don’t forget that full-time parent is a fully legitimate career choice!)

Shadow Someone

Find someone doing the career that either you or your date is pursuing, and arrange with them to either follow them around for a couple hours or assisting them.

Watch Videos About Your Date’s Career Choice

Look up some videos on the subject of your date’s career choice, including steps that can be taken now to work toward that occupation. Talk about what you learn.

Attend a Conference

There are conferences on just about everything. Look up a local conference on the subject of your date’s interest or occupational goals. Invite them to go with you to it.

Go to a Company Party

If your job has a party, invite your date to come along. (Just be sure to check with the people in charge to make sure it’s okay.)

Plan a Presentation

Together, plan a presentation, lesson, game plan, or sales plan, or whatever follows the right career path.

Build Something

If your date is going into a building, creative, or construction field, build something together. It could be big or small, so long as you do it together.

Hold an “Official” Interview

Tell your date you have an assignment to interview someone pursuing a career (I hearby assign you to do so—there, now you won’t be lying when you do it), and you’d like to interview your date. Ask questions to get as much detail as possible.

Come Up With Career Mission Statements

Sit down together and come up with mission statements for your career(s). Doing so can not only help you focus your efforts in trying to fulfill your dreams, but doing it together can help you come to know some of the deeper aspects of each other’s personalities.

Watch a Movie Based on that Career

Go to a movie based around your date’s career path, and use it as a launch-pad for a great conversation over dinner about your date’s goals, hopes, and dreams.

Go Shopping For Career Stuff

Most careers involve items unique to that occupation. Once you know your date’s career ideas, go shopping at some places that carry items that might be useful in that career.

Essential Questions

Essential Questions

All of us are effected by cancer, whether by personal experience with it, or by a friend or loved one who’s been through it. The more I speak to or hear from victims of cancer, the more I’m convinced that cancer is not a matter of death, but a matter of life. Those who suffer with it find more meaning in life, more gratitude for life, and more love of life.

One of my duties at my job is to record speeches held, and in this one, a man with a severe case of cancer was invited to speak. The man is a friend of mine, and I was deeply touched by his words. I pray for him and his family, and I thank him for this beautiful life perspective he offered on this occasion.

AudioBlog/Passing Thoughts: 30 Sep 2010

Passing Thoughts 28 Sep 2010

I think I’ll call my audio blog entries Passing Thoughts, just because the word AudioBlog sounds blah. This time a share some passing thoughts on fulfilling dreams and bucket lists.

My Suffering Vs. Your Suffering

A couple nights ago, Jenni was showing me a blog that’s kept by a mother who had a very recent miscarriage. Reading a little of that made me think a little about our own situation. We’ve never had a miscarriage. We’ve never lost a child. We’ve never had any close calls in that regard, and we’ve never had any major health issues with our kids. It’s a little odd, really.

We’re so blessed, and I’m so grateful for what the Lord has done for us, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But it does feel a little hollow to read others experiences, or hear them talk about their own losses – and sometimes they are serious, serious losses. How do we comfort someone who can’t have children? How can we offer real understanding to someone who lost a close family member, or has a never-ending flow of surgeries and medical bills?

And what do they think of us? Are they offended if we try to offer assistance? Are they subconsciously bitter for not having what we have been so bounteously blessed with?
I suppose a few might be, but I doubt most of them are so offended. But it does leave me thinking. I have never been one to say, “Seeing their circumstances makes me count my blessings for not being in that situation.” Something has always bothered me about that, and until recently, I haven’t been able to put my finger on what exactly it is.

I was listening to an interview with a guy named Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs. Talk about a challenge! He says that sometimes people come up to him after a speech (he’s a motivational speaker), and say things like, “After seeing what you are going through, I’ll NEVER complain again.” That bothers him a little. Of course they’ll complain again. They will suffer in other ways. He says, “There is no hope in comparing suffering, but there is hope in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He’s right. I can’t pretend to understand the difficulty that a parent goes through who loses a child, or of someone who gets a divorce, or someone who suffers from depression, because I’ve never experienced any of those things. I can’t even say that I’ve had my own suffering that measures up to what they’re going through, because whether that’s true or not is totally irrelevant. Jesus Christ DOES know. Jesus Christ knows how to comfort them – and me. He is the source of all hope. Though I may not have the answers to give, or the true empathy they need, I know who does, and whatever I can do to help them recognize His role in their lives, will do more than anything else I can do.

Helping people come to Christ does more to help those who are suffering than even removing from their lives the cause of suffering. Does that make sense? Let me say that again, because I think it’s the key to the whole matter: if I can do something to help you turn to the Lord, it will do more for you than if I can remove the cause of your suffering.

And if you are one of those people who have so deeply suffered, then you are doubly equipped to help those around you. You can help with the suffering AND help them turn to the Savior.

If you are experiencing more than you can handle, whatever it is, the Lord is ready and willing to help. Start by just asking God for His help. Humbly go to Him and tell Him everything you are feeling. And then listen. He’s real, and He will answer you. I promise you, PROMISE you, He’s real. God lives, and wants to hear from you. He wants to help you. He wants to Heal you.

Two Year Blogiversary!

Well, I’m still fairly new to the blogosphere, but I’ve now officially been at it for two years. Ra, ra, ra! I started with a space theme, calling my blog, Musings of a Musician. Then I changed the name to Overtones of a Musician. Then I got the red/orange theme I’ve used for the past year and a half or so. Then I split my blog into two: Overtones, and Making Moments. Then I got a couple more blogs that lasted awhile. When they fizzled out, I merged the two original blogs, and now here I am again, trying out another twist of the kaleidoscope.

I try to be real on my blog, and though I’m sure it comes out stale or stiff sometimes, I have a fun time with it. But I’ll be straight forward for a moment. I’m working hard to become an established musician and author, and blogs have a weird place in the lives of both professions. Most artists use blogs to connect with their fans, and it’s a great way to do it. I’ve tried hard to do that, too, but I’ve become rather lazy at feeding the “social media connections” part of it – I love reading other people’s blogs, Facebook notes, tweets, and participating in the discussions, but wow it’s time consuming. While working on two books and two CDs, as well as doing a full-time job and supporting a family of five, every spare minute is like gold.

I’ve also turned down some fairly profitable web-design opportunities because big moneymaking projects distract me from writing and composing. If it was just for the money that I’m doing all this stuff, that would be a ridiculous choice. The fact is, musicianship doesn’t earn much money, and I doubt authorship does either. I guess my hope is that both together will be able to work out all right. But really, I’m not doing it so much for the money – though it would be nice to earn enough to keep me at it. And believe me, it takes a great deal of time and energy to be constantly writing and composing.

I used to have a dream of becoming a full-time LDS seminary teacher. I can’t express how badly I wanted that. But in the past couple years, I’ve found that I just don’t have the right kind of personality for a position like that. I still think of that as the ultimate profession, being able to have such a strong spiritual influence on students – what an AWESOME opportunity that would be! But I can see now that I’m not what the students need, and I’m okay with that.

So I’m going for a stand-by. I’ve always loved both writing and composing, and I’m beginning to see that there may be some potential here – much more so than I had with teaching seminary. And it can still be a great chance to touch others, and encourage people to be better than they are. I suppose books can be like seminary teachers in slow motion – if that makes any sense at all. Music can invite the Spirit, and encourage people to be better, too, so I don’t feel like I’m failing so long as I keep at my writing and composing efforts.

Anyway, I like to think optimistically, and I have great hopes for the next decade, but I don’t expect my efforts to offer much financial support to my family for awhile. It’s the best time in the history of the world to become an established musician or author, but it’s a pretty rough time to be making money at it.

So what does this all have to do with my blog? Well, not much, I guess, except to let you know my intensions, and hope the blog will help out with that. I’m trying out a new theme. It’s certainly the noisiest theme I’ve had yet, and some have said it’s hard to tell whether this is supposed to be a blog or a static website. That’s okay. Why not try things a little different once in a while.

And frankly, so far, I really like this theme – mostly because I can put the emphasis where I want it. There will be new entries all the time, and those of you reading from feed readers won’t see a difference. But for any who come to visit the site, I can shout out my favorite stuff and draw attention to the things that really mean something to me. Yeah, it’s scattered and a bit overwhelming, but so is my life, so it fits. There are still a few quirks that have got to be fixed, but with time, it should work out.

Let me know what you think!

Wide as Eternity: The Meaning Behind the Music

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Wide as Eternity

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Moses 7:23-41

23 And after that Zion was taken up into heaven, Enoch beheld, and lo, all the nations of the earth were before him;

24 And there came generation upon generation; and Enoch was high and lifted up, even in the bosom of the Father, and of the Son of Man; and behold, the power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth.

25 And he saw angels descending out of heaven; and he heard a loud voice saying: Continue reading