Looking up with Reverence

I have fallen desperately behind in my efforts to blog as part of the General Conference Odyssey. I am going to start up again, but I am not going to make an effort to catch up in posts. Instead, I am going to continue with the group. This week we are writing about the Sunday Morning Session of the October 1977 conference:

In that session, President Hunter gave a really thought provoking talk about prayer. He first spoke about how in the modern era “prayerful devotion and reverence for holiness is” seen as “unreasonable or undesirable, or both.” Yet, we all have great need for prayer. Unfortunately, it is only “[p]erilous moments, great responsibility, deep anxiety, overwhelming grief” that can  ” shake us out of old complacencies and established routines will bring to the surface our native impulses.” In those moments of trial, it is easy to turn to God.

Yet, “[i]f prayer is only a spasmodic cry at the time of crisis, then it is utterly selfish.” We begin to see God “as a repairman or a service agency to help us only in our emergencies.” We therefore do not really develop a relationship of love and trust.  On the other hand, President Hunter speaks of the real risk of becoming far too casual in our prayers.

President Hunter explained that Jesus purposefully began his prayer with “Hallowed by thy name” to show his great reverence towards God. “Unless that reverent, prayerful, honorable attitude toward God is uppermost in our hearts, we are not fully prepared to pray.” Instead, “We do well to become more like our Father by looking up to him, by remembering him always, and by caring greatly about his world and his work.” These attributes of “[p]rayer, reverence, worship, devotion, respect for the holy—these are basic exercises of our spirit and must be actively practiced in our lives or they will be lost.”

I love that reminder. It is so easy to lose sight of God and to lapse into casual prayer. We must approach the throne of God with reverence and awe and yet approach regularly and with confidence.

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