In mass, I don't remember the topic of the priest's homily, but I do remember one specific thing he said. When he was in priest school (actually called seminary, but it's more like legit college than it is like early morning seminary), he felt like he was really bad at praying. So he told one of the instructor-type people; he felt like he couldn't keep doing the whole priest thing. Okay, maybe it wasn't that extreme (I forget, cuz this was before 10am and it's been a long time since then), but he was pretty discouraged. And d'you know what he was told? "Just keep showing up." The quality doesn't matter, just what's in your heart. That really hit me. Cuz I feel like I'm absolutely terrible at praying.
So like a fake-it-till-you-make-it approach? Not faking feelings or thoughts or whatever, but the act of praying. Just do it. Just pray however you know how. We'll come back to that.
Then I got to go to church! For the second week in a row! That never happens. I went literally once in 2013. My friend Sarah gave an amazing talk on how we are children of God. Then a lady that I don't know gave a talk on following Christ's example. And then a guy I don't know gave a talk on that feeling where you just can't keep your head above water, and used a real-life story about a kayaking accident where a guy did actually get stuck underwater and his friends had to pull him out. He compared that to how we are saved. No matter how much we think we will always make good choices, we will all sin sometimes. And we need the Atonement to save us.
The second hour of church, which I think is called Sunday school but someone please tell me if I'm right, we talked about knowing who God is. We as Mormons know that He has a body. He's not just some random cloud. He's a Being. We look like Him. We know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are all one in purpose but separate in being. We know that They know each of us personally. The guy teaching us had us go find scriptures that tell us something about God. I was worried I wouldn't be able to find anything, but I did! 3 Nephi 9:21 "Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin." He is our Savior.
We also discussed beliefs about God that other Christian churches have that are different from ours. One of the guys sitting behind me brought up the Trinity. I was proud of him cuz he correctly identified it as a belief of the Catholic church and defined it as the belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in being, not just in purpose. Then the guy teaching us pointed us to some scriptures that seem to support the Trinity. So we talked about how being "one" can mean one in purpose, not being, and how Heavenly Father trusts Christ so much that He lets Him act for Him.
PS oh and I almost forgot!! Abby also said that we often see prayer as a chore, something we have to do before we can eat or go to bed. But really, it's a gift from God. The gift of being able to directly communicate with Him! And isn't it considered polite to use gifts you have been given, to show your appreciation? Even that ugly sweater you got for Christmas, you gotta wear it once, just so the person who gave it to you feels like you appreciated it. Now, on a scale of ugly sweater to iPhone, how often should you use the gift of prayer? I would answer "constantly" :)