As Nephi approached the end of his life, he chose to conclude his written record with the words of a powerful sermon to his people about the Messiah, the Holy Ghost, and prayer. Near the end of his sermon, he gave this warning to his hearers and to his eventual readers:
And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the devil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
--2 Nephi 32:8
The scripture says the Spirit will teach us that we must pray. We cannot hope to build a relationship with God in any other way. Our prayers open the conduit of communication. God wants desperately to teach us, direct us, and bless us. He offers an eternity of good things, but we hold the key that unlocks all the good He wants to share with us. The key is to ask. And we ask in prayer. We must pray, or we will never know what our Father has in store for us.
And thus, the devil knows how critical it is to keep us from praying if he has any hope of drawing us down to hell. He is happiest when we ignore God all together. He is just as pleased, however, when our so-called prayers are merely vain rituals full of empty phrases dashed off in a thoughtless stupor at the end of a busy day. One really good, sincere, thoughtful, faith-filled prayer can throw off his entire game plan for our destruction. For once we start to pray by the Spirit and open a genuine channel of communication with God, we will want more and more of the sweet peace and joy meaningful prayer brings, and we will slip inexorably from Satan's grasp.
It has been my privilege and joy over the past two years to have shared some of my thoughts and experiences with prayer. I undertook this project primarily to strengthen my own commitment to prayer. If the words of this blog have lifted or inspired you somewhere along the way, I am humbled and honored to have been an instrument in the hands of the Lord to spread his message of faith and prayer. My final encouragement to you who have followed along with my ramblings is, to use a popular meme on billboards, bumper stickers, and the internet: Be calm, and pray on. I know God lives and loves me, Jesus is the resurrected Christ, the Holy Ghost speaks, and prayer works.