Monday, 14 July 2014

In the name of J.C About Prayers 3

Jesus Christ says in the Gospel According to John;

"In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."  (John 16:23-24)

Christ also commanded the Nephites to pray in his name: “Therfore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name “ (3 Nephi 18:13)

But what does it mean to ask in Jesus s name? When we end our prayers with: “In the name of Jesus Christ” is it then some kind of secret password? A way to ensure that what we pray for doesn´t go in one ear and out the other of our Heavenly Father?

A while ago I was saying grace beforing eating with a ward-member. I didn´t end my prayer with “in the name of Jesus” and this made my friend a little bit frustrated and he tod me that all paryers should be in the name of Our Savior.

For me praying in Jesu´s name is about two things:

Number one:

We can´t pray for anything. Yeah. I think Joplis song “Mercedes Benz” is a great song but I wouldn´t ask Our Lord to give me a car (or maybe, I say maybe if I needed a car to do His work but right now I can´t see that coming up often enough to justify me praying about it). If we are to pray in Jesus’ name, then this means our prayers should reflect Jesus’ own values and purposes. Sure my own agenda can intrude into my prayers fairly easily but I hope and I want my prayers to be more and more consistent with Our Saviors will.

If we think that saying “in Jesus’ name” is what it means to pray in his name, then we are missing this point. Then we use the words just like a secret password that ensures Our Lord will hear us.

Jesus also uses the phrase “in my name” in other places;

“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” (Matt 18:5)

That has nothing to do about saying the words. It is more about doing something under His authority, or as His representative.

Number two:

Praying in Jesus name is a way to tell Our Heavenly Father that we are a part of His family. We come before God, not in our own merit, but in the merit of Jesus and by his permission.

I remember when I was young and my grandad used to own a store. It didn´t matter who was at the cashier; if I wanted to I could go into the store and buy candy on my grandfathers account. Once a friend of mine tried the same. He asked for some candy and said my grandads name. The answer he got was that he couldn´t get anything cause he wasn´t a part of the family

When I am asking God for candy in the name of Jesus Christ I do it as a part of the family and God will listen cause I am coming to him not in my own merit, but in the merit of Jesus and as a part of the family. The family I joined when I was baptized.

In opposite of my number one example this more clearly says me that I shold “sign my prayers” by saying the words “in the name of Jesus” cause signing just with my own name doesn´t show that I am a part of the family.

However. The most important thing for me is to pray in the name of Jesus Christ even the times I do not say the words out loud. That is what I am trying to do.

Earlier posts about prayers:

Monday, 7 July 2014

Welcome in any language

The journey back to Our Father in Heaven can have so different roads. As members of our Church we have differences; our ages, history, culture backgrounds and our languages. As members of Church we are all on this journey. I know that we are all welcome.

I have a “problem” in a bilingual country; in Finland as a new member. The problem is not that I am blessed to be the translation coordinator in our ward. I am translating from finnish to english, neither my mother tongue. In a bilingual country I am a minority; swedish speaking and when I have done translation work at our Sacrament Meetings I have been surprised by how the Holy Ghost guides me. All of a sudden I know a finnish word that I haven´t heard before and I do get a translation without hesitation.

My problem as a new member is practical things in different languges.I am talking in various langugaes when I am talking to members (finnish), missionaries (english). I prefer to read Our Holy Scriptures in my mother tounge (swedish). And all this is allright. And I am so glad that elder C baptized me in swedish and that I met a member from Sweden last week and we did talk in my native tounge.

So in a discussion if I know by heart a qoute from The book of Mormon in my mother tounge. I can´t say it. Of course missionaries all around the word has languages “problems” and my friend from Sweden had “problems” even in the Temple here in Finland. In our bilingual country.

The first missionary I met spoked Swedish. Elder W.

One thing though that was wonderful; the first missonary that I met was from Sweden and I started to talk with him because we had the same mothertounge.

As members of our Church we have differences; Our ages, history, culture backgrounds, our languages.As members of Church we are all on this journey. I know that we are all welcome. By our Lord. Amen.

And in Swedish:

Som medlemmar av vår kyrka har vi olikheter jag har stött på vissa praktiska då mitt modersmål är svenska ett minoritetsspråk I Finland. Det viktiga är att vi är ett i Kristus. Tack elder W, elder K och syster T för vad vi har talat.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Gardening god weeds

My fingernails are a wreck because of gardening. 

My spirit is on the top because of gardening.
A part of the ressurection story when Mary goes to pay her respects at the tomb and finds it empty; At a first glance she mistakes Jesus as a gardener.

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” (John 20:15)

I am blessed in many ways one is being a garderner. Imagine if we all found ways to use our God-given passions to care for the earth. Take care of each others.

My fingers are tools. My fingernails are a part of my body.

I do take care of my fingernails. Take care :-)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Helsinki Pride

This saturday was the Pride-Parade in Helsinki. It was the first time I joined Pride as a active member of the LDS church and I was the only member from our church as far as I know. (20.000 people marched so could be I missed if somebodey else from our church was there). I did not have a sign in the parade but I did meet people with whom I was able to share my thoughts. There are people, both LGBTQ-identifying and straight, who are working to make spaces for LGBTQ people of Mormon heritage where they can reclaim their faith and religious culture in ways that are affirming of their sexual orientation and gender identity In Helsinki I felt alone though. - You are mormon? Are you kidding me?

Well every discussion has to start somewhere.

photos: Johan Finne

photo: my friend Monika E Pensar

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Let me be a carrot

Gardening can truly be a powerful spiritual activity. Think of it; The Garden is a place of miracles. Small seeds are put into dirt and watered then they grow roots, stems, leaves and bear fruit to eat. We put a tiny, flat colorless pumpkin seed in the ground and after some weeks we have a long vine containing a number of big, round orange fruits.
As a gardenerer I have the privilege to see such miracales on a reglurar basis and every gardening season witnesses the ongoing fulfillment of God’s promise:

“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”

(Genesis 8:22)

The seeds we plant will grow with the attention of us as gardeners. The more diligent and intentional we are in providing for the various needs of the plants, the greater will be their growth.
And plants have different needs. You do not grow a carrot in the same way as a rose. Carrots need deeply tilled soil that they can push through and when you plant a bare root rose the roots should be covered, but the stem should be out of the ground.

As human beings we also have different needs and we grow in different ways. We may have the common bond of being followers of Jesus Christ, yet we are both like and unlike one another. I like it. You may be a rose and I can be a carrot. The difference is there; in size, color, and shape. In personality, spirutal maturity and the gifts we have. The variety is designed by our Lord to bless us as individuals and to bless our church.
If I help you to grow to a beautiful rose can you help me to be a good carot?

"but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." (2 Peter 2:18)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Called to Serve

Jesus Christ taught that to serve Him is to serve others:

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt 25:40)

Today I have been thinking about that when the Missionaries came and gave me a helping hand on my garden plot. Being a professional gardener I haven´t had to much time for my own plot. And the wether has been strange and cold. Early this morning some snow came down and the ground on my plot was pretty soggy but we got there midday the conditions for working were infinitely better. Partly sunny and not to hot to do the digging work and my missionary friends had such a positive attitude helping me.

I know that The Lord will bless and help us as we creatively and compassionately serve one another and there are many ways we can do that.

One of the simplest and easiest ways to serve our Lord and others is by befriending one another and for me it was also great to chat with the missionaries about other things than the gospel when we where digging. And I gave them the opportunity to decide where to plant the sunflower seeds.

I know that when we take the time to serve, we’ll not only support others but also build a network of support for ourselves and each of us have been given talents that we can develop and use to serve Our Heavenly Father and others. Just examine your life and see what talents you have. I am good at gardening and it is my proffession but I gladly help people with their gardens for free if needed. I know something about computers but nothing when it comes to cars. Somebody else has that talent. Someone is good at cooking or carpentry. Another brother or sister has the skill of staystitching. And you can help others with your skills by praying for help to develop your talents.

One of the most important skills some of us has lost is the skill of sharing. This is particularly true if you are on the receiving end, we are still fairly good at telling other people what to do or at doing a good deed, but so many people are no longer comfortable with asking for help or to borrow something. I used to think that asking for help is a sign of weakness but now I have found pathways to letting others help me.

I was blessed by the help I got today.

"But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him" (Moroni 7:47)

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


I remember a talk with an investigator of the church about prayers. He sometimes had a hard time to pray out loud with the missonaries and me. He always followed the same scheme and had it written down on a paper. 1) Adress God 2) Thank him 3) Ask him 4) Close in the name of our Savior.

This made him nervous; what if I ask before thanking? Well there is nothing wrong with that and also, prayer can be said in one's mind or out loud. Some people find that praying out loud makes it easier for them to focus. For me I rather pray in silence when I am by myself.

When it comes to pray in a group there are lots of reasons why people find it hard to pray out loud.
They might be shy or they worry about what people will think of them if they stumble over their words. Sometimes I have found it hard to pray out loud and when I was an investigator a member of the church said after a prayer; that was an honest prayer. Yes, my prayer was honest but it made me think; what has been wrong with my other prayers?

When hearing a prayer in a group or at meetings in a church it is nothing wrong if you don´t get a strong feeling from the spirit. Important is that the person saying the prayer is honest and might be the Holy Spirit gave something to another member in the group. I have heard prayers in ward meetings that have touched my heart right there and then. Sometimes praying together goes hand in hand with sharing our struggles. And that is good.

On the other hand one pattern that consistently appears in the Book of Mormon is that people often go to a private place to pray. For example Nephi went out:

"And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers."  (3 Nephi 3:11)

Prayer is the way we communicate with God and as long as we are honest God will hear us.

I also think there are different kinds of prayers.
Your body needs lots of nutrients to help you grow and to give you energy to do everything that you. Sometimes when we are on the run we have to have a fast snack to get the energy that will keep us going. But every day we also need proper meels. A good breakfast is for example important.

The same thing with our prayers; Yes we are busy people sometimes and can have a ”snack-prayer” in our lifes. I can have it many times during a day. But to get the nutrition for my soul i really try to put time into my morning prayer. Wath do the Lord want from me today? And at least one other ”healthy-meal” prayer during the day.