Years ago when I was teaching seminary full time, the scripture block was Alma 31 where these apostate Nephites would get up on their Rameumptom, and pray their strange prayer about how they were better than everyone else. So I thought it would be fun to modernize the prayer a bit. I told the class that our prayers were, perhaps, getting a little stale so we should spice it up a bit. I proposed that as a class we try a different kind of prayer where the one saying it would always stand on the table and would quote the prayer. I had a student ready to read it and I told the class to listen to this proposed prayer and see if it wouldn’t work for our future opening prayers. In the prayer it said things similar to the prayer in Alma 31, except modified to say things like, “We believe thou hast elected us to be they holy seminary class…while the other seminary classes are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell…” then at the end, the student giving the proposed prayer said, “Amen” . What then shocked me to death was to hear the entire class join in and say Amen afterwards.
“What are you doing?” I asked, “Why did you say Amen?” They said that saying amen is just what you are supposed to do after any prayer. That is when we diverted from the original lesson plan, and talk about what the word Amen means.
Amen is a word that does not translate easily but a few translations translate it at “So let it be”. When praying with others, it can mean, “I agree” or “That goes for me too.” So then I asked the class, “What if some is saying something in the prayer that you really disagree with (like the proposed Rameumptom prayer), should you still say Amen?”
That divided the class. Some felt that saying Amen was simply what you were supposed to do in prayer, regardless of anything, while others felt you should only say Amen if you mean it. Where do you stand on the question? Then I talked to the class about the sacrament and asked, “What if you were not planning on doing anything really bad for the next week, but you also had no intention of really trying to do as Jesus would do (take upon them the name of thy Son), or consciously trying to ‘always remember him, and keep his commandments’; should you still take the sacrament that week?” That really got them thinking. “What if you don’t say Amen but you still take the sacrament, is that ok?” someone asked. What do you think?” I asked back to them.
The point is not that we shouldn’t be taking the sacrament as much. The point is that when we participate, we should mean it every time. Not just going through the motions on autopilot, but inwardly striving and recommitting to live the godly lives the Lord has called us to.
If we just going through the motions, don’t we become guilty of what the Lord chastised the people of Joseph Smith’s day saying, “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Joseph Smith History 1:19). Likewise, we would have “a form of godliness”, but then “deny the power thereof.” And if are just doing what all the other churches in Joseph Smith’s day were doing, what was the need for the Restoration at all?
David O. McKay said, “Spiritual awakening in the hearts of millions of men and women would bring about a changed world. I am hopeful, my brethren and sisters, that the dawning of that day is not far distant” (President David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1958, First Day—Morning Meeting 9.). And that awakening starts with each of us doing more than just the motions of worshiping the Lord.
Official Holidays & Observances This Week
June 6th - 12th
Monday Drive-in Movie Day
Tuesday Daniel Boone Day & VCR Day
Wednesday World Ocean Day & Upsy Daisy Day
Thursday Donald Duck Day
Friday Ball Point Pen Day
Saturday Corn on the Cob Day
Sunday Loving Day