Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You Can't Pray Your Way Out...

It had been a long Addiction Recovery meeting. It was about to close, and I was mentally preparing to go home. The missionary who presides at the group was sharing his closing thoughts. I really enjoy what he has to say, and normally am listening attentively, but this night I was nearly checked out. Then he said something that caught my attention.

"You can't pray your way out of your addiction. You can't fast your way out of addiction. You can't study the scriptures so much that your addiction goes away."

Wait. What?

This seemed to go against everything I had learned and believed. Prayer. Scripture Study. Fasting. Those are the things we do when we are in trouble. I had learned from day 1 of Sunbeams (3 years old) about prayer and how it will bring me out of difficult times. How can he possibly say such a thing? I was mentally checked back in, but only because of my disagreement with what I was hearing.

He continued. "The way out of your addiction is step #3. 'Decide to turn your will and your life over over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ'"

I've heard the saying "Hit me like a ton of bricks" but I never really understood it until that moment. For years I had thought if I prayed enough, if I studied enough, if I fasted enough, if I just did...enough...I would stop acting out in my addiction. Everytime I would fall, I would make a new plan listing all the actions I would take, figuring those actions would save me. They won't. Only one thing will save me.

The atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer, scripture study, and fasting are powerful tools. They are essential and they are commandments. But the reason I am commanded to do them is because they build my faith in my Savior and they bring me closer to the Spirit.

I now view my scripture study differently every morning. I see it as an opportunity to have my faith strengthened so I can more fully turn my life and will over to my Savior. When I fast and pray, I ask for the ability to "yield my heart" to God.

The Savior heals. The Savior is the way back. He is "The way, the truth, and the life." And it is His mercy which heals us from whatever is damaged in our lives.


Ann said...

What a powerful concept. As I read it, I realized I KNEW it was true to the very core of my soul. I had just never stopped to think of it in such few words. Thank you for sharing.

GloryWords said...

Thanks for your beautiful post. I hope you don't mind my linking your blog to mine so I can share the beautiful message. I, too, was an Addiction Recovery missionary, and thus have lived over and over again this kind of AHA moment.

Bless you!