My Lenten journey continues apace. I think I accidentally missed a day this week, so I only have 6 talks recorded. That’s too much ground to cover in a single post, so I’m just going to observe some overall feelings and then focus on one talk in particular, “Sweet Power of Prayer.”
I haven’t had any really grand revelatory moments so far, but I didn’t expect to. Instead, I’ve found that the talks I’ve been reading from President/Elder Nelson have given me unexpected help and insights with things I encounter throughout my week. I suspect that I won’t receive a lot of extraordinary confirmations about these talks because I haven’t yet met with anything that I don’t already recognize to be good and true–which is proven in the way they help me each day.
Sweet Power of Prayer
This talk stood out to me because some friends had recently published an article introducing work they are doing that I’m very excited about. They are striving to reexamine the traditions and assumptions in psychology through a gospel lens. They argue that psychological reasoning and therapeutic practices can be improved by consciously adopting a framework informed by revealed truths. As someone who has spent a lot of time undergoing treatment with a variety of mental health professionals–all of them LDS–I felt that a lot of good could come from consciously allowing the truths of our faith to inform mental health practices.
Unfortunately, a lot of people disagreed–even other members of our faith. It pained me to see people so quickly reject a faith-informed approach to healing, many of them claiming that it simply couldn’t be done because revealed truth would necessarily contradict empirical evidence. I have no doubt that there would be various tensions produced through trying to integrate gospel truths with science-based medicine, but it has also been my observation that such tensions ultimately bring forth our greatest knowledge and miracles. In President Nelson’s talk, “Sweet Power of Prayer” he provides a stunning example.
One of his patients was seeking surgical treatment that then-Dr. Nelson’s medical expertise had taught him was ill-advised. There was no currently available surgical treatment for his condition and Dr. Nelson told his patient, who was dying from heart failure, several times that he would not operate.
His patient, however, was a man of great faith. He sought guidance from the Lord about his condition and the Lord revealed to him that he should get help from Dr. Nelson, to whom he would reveal the way to help this man’s heart.
This man’s faith profoundly affected Dr. Nelson and he moved forward with the operation, not knowing beforehand how exactly he would help this man. Miraculously, during the operation, the Lord revealed to Dr. Nelson exactly what steps he should take in order to help this man’s failing heart valve, which had never been done before. The operation was a success and the man lived for many more years. Additionally, the medical world now had a new surgical procedure that would benefit countless more individuals with the same condition.
This was a profound example to me of the way great blessings of healing can be given to us as we pursue both the best knowledge available to us and the Lord’s guidance. President Nelson could not have performed that surgery without his extensive training. The operation which the Lord revealed to him still required a vocabulary of medical knowledge and skilled hands obtained over years of study and practice. But it used that knowledge in a new way that was not obvious to a man who had spent his entire career in the field of cardiac medicine–but who nevertheless believed that God was still God in his private as well as his public life. And the result was a miracle that has blessed many lives.