Teaching the primary is perhaps one of the most exciting – albeit challenging – callings in the church. Inside the classroom, the innocence of young children is contagious. They understand the gospel simply and purely. Most of the time, when young kids are asked how to live the gospel, they’d simply say “you have to pray, read the scriptures daily, go to church, and attend the temple.” Yes, sounds like a gospel checklist.
Daily prayers, daily scripture study, sacrament meeting, temple attendance – some of the most powerful ways we can live and enjoy the blessings of the gospel. When faithfully done on a regular basis, lives can be blessed. But there’s a little danger here – when these things fall into a routine, it can feel as if living the gospel is like checking items of a checklist.
There’s danger when we mumble a quick, thoughtless prayer just so we can feel at peace that we have prayed that day. There’s danger when we hastily read one chapter of scriptures a day just so we can say we’ve done our reading. It would be unfortunate if temple and sacrament attendance feel like requirements rather than privileges to help us learn more of the things of the Lord.
It’s okay to get caught up with the “must do” – it allows us to strive to do things that are pleasing to the Lord regularly. But – like the encouragement of Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf – it is necessary for us also to know the “why of the gospel.” When we understand why we are encouraged to pray and study scriptures daily, and invited to church and temple regularly, our conviction to do them will increase.
Daily Prayer Increases Our Ability to Receive Revelation
When prayers are meaningful, and when they express real intent, our ability to receive personal revelations from the heavens increases. We do not pray just so we can feel confident we have done a gospel requirement for the day. Prayer is a gift. The more we pray, the more we improve our ability to hear the Lord’s words, feel His love, and recognize His revelations for us.
President Marion G. Romney beautifully explained about the importance of daily prayers.
“The purpose of prayer, however, is not to appease a vindictive Deity; nor is it to court favors from an indulgent Father. It is to attune oneself with the spirit or light which “proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.” (D&C 88:12.) In that light is to be found sure answers to all our needs. Prayer is the key which unlocks the door and lets Christ into our lives.”
Daily Scripture Study Allows Us to Know Christ and Heavenly Father Better
We hear the advice too often “Reading the scriptures even just for 5 minutes can bless you.” Although the advice it’s true, it can easily make us believe we only need five minutes a day, and we’re done, we’re good.
Take the time to remove the gospel checklist off your mind and focus on the real blessings of daily scripture study. When we immerse ourselves in reading; when we take the time to ponder even just a single chapter a day; we will come to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ better.
We can read of accounts that show Their great love for mankind. We can develop a testimony of how They bless the people who obey them. We will know what else to do to become more worthy sons and daughters of God.
Daily scripture study is more than just a heavenly requirement – it’s a heavenly privilege to bless our lives in ways we cannot imagine.
Sacrament Meeting Attendance Fortifies Us
Instead of checking off “Attended Sacrament Meeting” off of our gospel must-do’s, let’s us focus more on how Sacrament attendance actually helps us in becoming more ready for the Lord.
The Sacrament fortifies us – it lets us experience the Lord’s love for us. When we savor our Sacrament experience, we receive a deeper, more meaningful appreciation for the Atonement which can fortify us when times of challenges and temptations come.
Temple Attendance Prepares Us for Greater Things
When temple attendance feels like a routine, it’s time to once again remember the real blessings of the temple. More than just confirming our worthiness, the temple is a place of learning – whatever we get here prepares us for greater things. The temple is not just a place of peace; it’s a place of promises for both living and the dead. Look beyond the gospel checklist and understand why you want to receive and share the blessings of the temple – it can help make our temple experiences more profound.
Living the gospel is not easy, but it’s not complicated either. The gospel flourishes in its beautiful simplicity. Consistently praying, reading the scriptures, attending church, and serving in the temple can help us become more worthy of the blessings of heaven. They’re not just requirements, they’re not just items on a checklist. Let’s be obedient with real intent – this will give us real, lasting joy.