This post is sponsored by Mormon.org. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
When I was in high school, one of my friends started making some bad choices, choices she and I both knew were not in line with what we had been taught at church in all of our many years of attending together.
And I resented her for it.
I couldn’t stand to look at her, knowing that she was doing these things, and trying to hide them from me. It infuriated me. I was angry. And hurt.
How could she willingly sin against God? Was it really worth it to do something so serious? To put her eternal salvation, long-term happiness, and future on the line?
I was beyond frustrated with her. With the situation. I lashed out at her, someone who I used to be so close with. I didn’t understand why she would do such a thing.
And it hurt my own soul in the process.
It became apparent to me over time that I was harboring major negative feelings toward her. Feelings that made me so angry and upset. Feelings I couldn’t shake despite knowing I needed to continue to love her.
But, I just couldn’t get over it. I couldn’t let it go.
Not without help anyway.
As I learned more about the power of prayer at church, I realized that I needed to experience the “change of heart” so often talked about in the scriptures. And I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. My feelings were too strong and personal for me to easily forgive her and let go.
I needed God to take away the burden of these feelings of judgment and hatred and sadness and all of it. I was unable to do it myself.
I hated to admit to God that I was weak, unable to do it myself. I hated, even more, to place this seemingly small, almost petty burden upon the One who had already suffered so much on my behalf, that doing so was unfit to be borne by the King of Kings! In many ways, it felt silly to ask for such a seemingly simple thing to be removed through the amazingness that is the Atonement of Christ.
But, I was desperate to not internally feel so negatively toward someone I loved, someone I needed to love.
Casting My Burden on the Lord
So I decided to do something I had only read about in the scriptures: I asked God to remove this burden from my heart and to change my heart so that I would no longer feel this way, that I would be able to see my friend without anger inside me, without judgment and hurt.
I prayed, cried, and begged God, on my knees, out loud in my bedroom, with the scriptures open on my bed to remove this from my soul and thoughts as it was just too much for me to bear and was negatively affecting my relationship with this person, whom I loved. I didn’t want to feel this way anymore, but the hurt ran deep.
And amazingly as I pleaded with the Lord, I felt it. I felt my burden lighten. I felt the weight lift off my shoulders.
The next day when I interacted with this person again, I could do so without it being tainted by what I knew they had done. I could love them fully and freely again, despite their sin, despite them going against what they had always known to be wrong.
We rebuilt our relationship. We moved forward. And she’s still an extremely important person in my life more than a decade later.
And it was only possible because of the gift of prayer and the power of Jesus Christ’s atonement.
What Invoking Christ’s Atonement in Prayer Taught Me
Acting in faith and praying for His help, down on my knees, was one of the greatest moments of my life and testified to me that prayer does indeed work, that Christ is indeed listening to my prayers, and that God loves me.
I may not always have a strong conviction of prayer in my life, often wondering how to pray and how to make my prayers more meaningful, but this single experience reaffirms to my soul in my moments of doubt that prayer is real, it works, and that God is there listening to me.
Sometimes I meet people who were once like me. People who live with anger, malice, resentment or pain because of someone in their life, or toward someone in their life. And they sometimes tell me how they can’t get over it. Or could never forgive them.
But I know that all things are possible through Jesus Christ.
And Jesus Christ can answer our prayers for healing.
He died on a cross for us so that He could carry our burdens and make them light. All we have to do is take His yoke upon us and learn of him.
He invites all to “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest [to your souls].” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Through this first experience of casting my burden on the Lord, I learned so much about the power of prayer, the power of the Atonement, and the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I realized that denying Christ’s Atonement to work in my life, denying myself from taking Christ’s yoke upon me so that I could have rest to my soul, for months, was exactly what Satan wanted me to do. He wants us all to be miserable like he is. But, Christ begs us to Come unto Him!
I encourage you to cast your burdens upon the feet of the Lord, and plead for rest to your souls.