When I sit down with a passage of scripture, the first thing I want is to understand the meaning of all the words in the passage. My parents raised me consistently exposed to and talking about scripture language (in many ways, it's its own dialect), so I am fortunate that, for the most part, the distinctive language of the scriptures doesn't bother me, even with the King James Version. But even with that, sometimes the scriptures, and especially the Old Testament, can be tricky. Psalm 4 has one of those tricky spots. From verse 2:
"...how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?"
This didn't sound like the usual sort of leasing, where you rent something, so I looked it up in Strong's. It comes from the Hebrew "kazab," which is typically translated as lie, but was also rendered as deceitful, false, liar, lies, and, here and in Psalm 5, as leasing. When you render this with one of those other words, it makes a lot more sense: "... how long will ye love vanity, and seek after lies?" I looked it up in the 1828 Websters, just for fun, and it appears that this used to be meaning of leasing, but it was obsolete back then already. So, at that point, I backed up and looked at the beginning again.
|Photo courtesy LDS Media|
I love that. The Psalmist combined both a plea for help and a faith-boosting reminder of the times He has previously assisted. During prayer is a great time to think about how the Lord has cared for us in the past, precisely because that will boost our confidence before the Lord, and it seems to me that quiet confidence or assurance is a key to unlocking the power of prayer (which is distinctly different from arrogancy, or from selfishly demanding). I found myself browsing through scriptures about prayer. There are so many to love. I scrolled through dozens, dealing with a bunch of situations. Invitation after invitation to seek Him in prayer. I ended up making a scripture chain of some of my favorites.
Words of Mormon 1:8
|Sweet Power of Prayer, April 2003|
Brother Nelson's wry humor appeals to me, but he has a great point, too: the act of praying isn't hard, and that's by design. It's not something that only holy people or smart people or whatever kind of People Who Are Not Me do; prayer is for all of us. Our Father wants us all. He wants to hear from us; He wants to help us. Not only does He want to hear from us -that's only half the equation- He wants us to hear Him.