Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moroni 7:48)
I would like to share some thoughts on a scripture that has been a prime mover in my own development. There is a way of reading Moroni 7:48 that unlocks a very powerful principle that guides us through the sanctification process. This process prepares and shapes us to become born again, and to receive the blessing of entering into his rest that is available to us in this life.
Moroni included in the final chapters of the Book of Mormon a sermon his father delivered to saints that had received a “sufficient hope” that they may enter into the rest of the Lord (consider D&C 84:24). Because of his “holy calling” (Moroni 7:2), he felt impressed to teach and prepare these saints so that they could receive similar blessings – their holy calling.
He concludes this teaching with a powerful invitation, a teaching on how to receive the rest (fullness of glory) these saints desired. I am sure Moroni felt deeply impressed by this teaching and understood it in a personal and fundamental way given that he was born again, received the same calling, and achieved the fullness of also entering into the rest of the Lord in this life (Ether 12:39).
To comprehend more fully what Mormon was teaching those saints that had received a hope, but were still pressing on to receive a fullness, I invite you to consider another reading of the final verse of that sermon.
There are two ways of reading the first line of Moroni 7:48: “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love.” Both ways produce fruit, but one way of reading it amplifies the ability of unlocking the promises and blessings specified in the remainder of the verse. The first way of reading the line is the traditional way and interpretation. It is straightforward in its invitation to pray to Heavenly Father for the blessing of being filled with love. This is a beautiful commandment, and of course, should be a regular element of our prayers, if not a constant request.
The second way of reading this line, however, teaches us about a process of accessing the power of heaven. It, if employed, advances the soul into a transformative state of sanctification, and prepares and positions us to become the sons and daughters of God.
The second way of reading the scripture, to rephrase, goes something like this: As we learn to pray with all of the energy of heart, THEN we will be filled with his love. It is not necessarily teaching us to spend our prayers asking for the gift of love, it is teaching us that if we learn how to (and what it means to) pray with all the energy of heart – the result of that type of prayer is to become full of love.
This is a difference with an important and powerful distinction. The first way of praying for the gift of love will bless us, and the Lord may very well bestow that blessing. The second way of reading this scripture will bring the powers of heaven into our being, and without compulsory means the love of the Lord will flow into us.
So, the important question to ask is, How does one pray with all the energy of heart?
Learning the answer to that question is an exhilarating spiritual endeavor. Let me in a brief format suggest some personal insight and doctrinal connections that have helped me gain a greater understanding of this very powerful principle. I very much look forward to your insight and thoughts regarding this question. This is a constant question that I ponder and a condition of prayer that I personally seek.
First, what it is not. Praying with all the energy of heart is not kneeling before the Lord and gritting ones teeth and clenching all the muscles in one’s body and focusing the emotion within to demonstrate to the Lord that you really desire something. It is not manufactured. It is not a display of desire. We may have strong desires and whole hearted requests of the Lord, but unless those requests conform and perfectly resonate with the will of the Lord we are not praying with all of the energy of heart.
The type of prayer that connects with heaven and seals one’s heart to the heart of the Father and the Savior is one that is wholly aligned to divine the will through the unresisting reception of the spirit.
Praying with all the energy of heart is praying in a way that nothing in us resists the will of the Father. All the energy of our soul is committed to his will. The energy and desire of our heart is not in conflict. It means that there are no competing desires in our heart between our own wants and the Lord’s will and purpose.
Praying with all the energy of heart means that we desire and welcome his will fully from the bottoms of our feet to the tops of our heads. No aspect of our being resists, is hardened, is fearful, or withholds from the will of the Lord. Our hearts are perfectly softened and compliant and wholly broken from the reception of the spirit. To pray with all the energy of heart means that nothing in us resists the spirit of the Lord.
How is this realized?
Nephi realized this state when he sought to know the things his father saw in a dream. The spirit enabled him to receive this marvelous vision by first softening his heart so that he could believe. The spirit is the agent through which we achieve the ability to pray with all the energy of heart. It will soften a hardened and resistant heart. Consider Nephi’s record of this process:
“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” (1 Nephi 2:16)
We cannot soften our own hearts. We cannot break our own hearts. The spirit is the catalyst through which this is done. By allowing the spirit to come to us, by our willingness to receive and obey promptings of the spirit, and by choosing to be softened by the spirit by letting go of our hardness of heart, the spirit will become a powerful agent of change. It is the by this power that we will be enabled to believe. We will be enabled to receive greater light and truth, achieve singleness of heart, dispel fear and hardness, and become filled with love. The spirit softens and changes us. It is the first mover and the catalyst for this to happen. We love God truly because he loved us first. (1 John 4:19)
If we are willing to be softened, and if we respond and obey, the spirit will not only fill us with love, but it will also condition and prepare us to receive that blessing.
The process of having one’s heart softened so that one can receive the mysteries of God is the process of praying with all the energy of heart. Consider this pattern and principle as it is outlined in Alma 12.
“And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same received the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.” (Alma 12:10)
Praying with all the energy of heart – praying in a way that nothing in you is resistant to the spirit of the Lord – having your heart softened by the mercy and power of the spirit so that nothing is hardened towards complete and full righteousness – is a state of no longer being divided within our soul. There is no longer a wrestle between darkness and light within our hearts. Our mind, our soul, our heart, is not in conflict. This is a state of peace. This is a state of rest. (D&C 84:24; Moroni 7:3; Alma 13:3; Alma 12:34)
Praying with all the energy of heart is akin to having one’s eye single to the glory of God. It is the same principle. (Interestingly, love of God is the only thing that we can be whole-hearted about. Any other object of desire will have an element of division and existential conflict.)
Why is having one’s eye single to the glory of God the same thing as praying with all the energy of heart? Consider that glory is a synonymous term to spirit, light, and truth (and word, love, law, and will). Having one’s eye single to the glory of God is to have one’s eye (whole body) single to the spirit. Or, it is having one’s eye (whole body) single to the light of the Lord. Or, it is having one’s eye (whole body) single to the truth of God. (see D&C 93:36; D&C 88:13; D&C 84:45)
The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard brilliantly distilled this principle when he wrote, “Purity of heart is to will one thing.”
A pure heart is to have one’s will perfectly aligned with the will of the Father. When we reach this state of alignment we can pray and it will be done even as we pray. (D&C 50:29-31)
When we reach the sanctified alignment that our eye is single to the Glory of God we become such that we are full of light and comprehend all things (for we shall see him as he is).
“And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.” (D&C 88:67)
Mormon teaches us that a pure heart is a blessing we receive as a result of praying with all the energy of heart. Consider the latter part of Moroni 7:48 that outlines the blessing of achieving the condition of praying with all the energy of heart.
“…that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.”
Praying with all the energy of heart is to have our hearts softened and broken so that they can be filled with the will, power, love, and word of the Lord. He becomes as Elder Enzio Busche wrote, “the doer of our deeds, and the speaker of our words.” I believe this is what it means to pray in the name of Jesus Christ – we pray what he would pray if he were before us praying on our behalf. We literally pray the words of our Savior.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8: 26).
When we become purified from all sin we can pray to the Father in such a way that the will of the Lord will be done as it is prayed by us.
“And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.
But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you.” (D&C 50:29-30)
In conclusion, praying with all the energy of heart is to pray with His energy. It is to be in sanctified alignment with his will. We are filled with his love and become his sons and daughters through this transformative process. We will see him as he is. We become purified even as he is pure. We will become like him.
I love this doctrine with all of my heart. It is one of the most powerful and merciful things the Lord has tried to teach me. The scriptures that teach us about this process and pattern are replete. An exhaustive exploration of this principle is not possible because it will lead to greater depths and understanding of his word. Our understanding will increase until we receive of his fullness. I know that achieving the condition of praying unto the Father with all the energy of heart will open the doors of heaven and we will become born again. And as we continue along this path he will capacitate us to enter into his rest – which is the blessing and hope I have for each of us.