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it is our duty to pray; trust God (Brigham Young)


Some of the brethren come to me and say, "Brother Brigham, is it my duty to pray when I have not one particle of the spirit of prayer in me?" True, at times men are perplexed and full of care and trouble, their ploughs and other implements are out of order, their animals have strayed, and a thousand things perplex them; yet our judgment teaches us that it is our duty to pray, whether we are particularly in the spirit of praying or not. My doctrine is, it is duty to pray; and when the time for prayer comes, John should say, "This is the place and this is the time to pray: knees bend down upon that floor, and do so at once." But John says, "I do not want to pray; I do not feel like it." Knees, get down, I say; and down bend the knees, and he begins to think and reflect. Can you say anything? Can you not say, God have mercy on me a sinner? Yes, he can do this, if he can rise up and curse his neighbour for some ill deeds. Now, John, open your mouth and say, Lord, have mercy upon me. "But I do not feel the spirit of prayer." That does not excuse you, for you know what your duty is. You have a passion, a will, a temper to overcome. You are subject to temptation as other men; and when you are tempted, let the judgment which God has placed within you and the intelligence he has given you by the light of the Spirit be the master in this case.

If I could not master my mouth; I would my knees, and make them bend until my mouth would speak. "But the cattle are in the corn." Let them eat; you can attend to them when you have finished praying. Let the will of the man be brought into subjection to the law of Christ—to all the ordinances of the house of God. What, in his darkness and depression? Yes; for that is the time to prove whether one is a friend of God, that the confidence of the Almighty may increase in his son. We should so live that our confidence and faith may increase in Him. We must even go further than that. Let us so live that the faith and confidence of our Heavenly Father may increase towards us, until He shall know that we will be true to Him under any and all circumstances and at all times. When in our darkness and temptation we are found faithful to our duty, that increases the confidence of our God in us. He sees that we will be his servants. To use a comparison, the sandbars are numerous over which the people of God have to pass, and I have not time now to notice them.

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:164-65

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