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Prayer brings us closer to God

I love walking on the quiet stretches of the High Bridge Trail, especially this time of year.

Most of the year, trees and vegetation line the trail, blocking out the rest of the world, making a peaceful place for meditation. But in the autumn, as leaves fall, those green walls become thin, and you can see fields and farmhouses, animals and roads that weren’t visible before.

When this happens, I think of the barrier that separates us in mortality from God and Heaven, sometimes called the veil, after the veil which divided the holy of holies in the ancient tabernacle. (see Exodus 26:33)

Many righteous men and women have, through their faith, been able to pierce the veil and commune directly with God.

In the Old Testament, Moses spoke with the Lord “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)

In the New Testament, Paul, when called to be a special witness of the Savior, was visited by the risen Lord on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:1-9)

We may not physically see God or angels, but there are times in our lives when the barrier that separates us from Heaven can be very thin indeed.

For example, whenever we make covenants with God and progress along the covenant path back toward His presence, we feel closer to Heaven.

At baptism, we covenant to bear one another’s burdens and stand as witnesses of God. Partaking of the sacrament during worship service each Sunday, we covenant to always remember Jesus Christ and keep His commandments, with the promise that we may always have His Spirit to be with us.

Heaven can seem close as we read God’s word in the scriptures. I have felt great comfort reading the words of Isaiah, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (1:18)

If we are humble and teachable, prayer is another time when our Heavenly Father can seem very close. As the children’s song says, “Some say that heaven is far away, But I feel it close around me as I pray.”

Finally, studying the words of special latter-day witnesses of Jesus Christ can be inspiring and bring Heaven near. I was uplifted recently by the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“Faith means trusting God in good times and bad, even if that includes some suffering until we see His arm revealed in our behalf.”

Every day may not bring a dramatic revelation from Heaven, but if we go before the Lord in humility and pray to know His will with the commitment to do it, He will draw near to us, answer our prayers, and direct our lives for good.

DR. BRENT ROBERTS is the Elders Quorum President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@ hotmail.com.