Please excuse me; I am branching out a little today. However, I am not entering into the realms of religion, even though prayer and faith will be discussed. I make this clear at the beginning so as to ensure no misunderstanding occurs; I am not here to tell you how, where, what, when, or who to worship; all I expect is the same courtesy in return. We can discuss sensitive topics without causing problems and individuals choosing to be insulted. There is a phrase (verse) in a book considered scripture by The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints that appears in the writings of Moses, somewhat differently worded as counsel to Joshua. The same idea appears in the Old and New Testaments, and while in slightly different verbiage, it is available in various religious texts, dogmas, and belief structures.
“All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith” (D&C 103:36).
Hence why I am branching out a little today. On 9/11, during a speech, President Trump called for 21 days of prayer for the nation. It was one of President Trump’s better speeches, in my opinion, and the action resonates well with his other pleas, counsel, and instruction for the American Nation from his presidency. President Trump’s counsel brought this phrase to mind, and I thought, maybe it IS time for America to rediscover an essential truth.
What is diligence?
The dictionary often details diligence as being heedful, careful, and showing constant and earnest effort to accomplish a task. Other definitions include constancy in the performance of duty or the conduct of business and the persistent exertion of body or mind. One of my favorite definitions includes unflagging effort with constant personal attention. Hence, when I define diligence, these are usually what I am using, close personal attention combined with unflagging effort to accomplish a task or fill a role.
I like an Indonesian proverb that proclaims the potential of diligence and encapsulates the possibility of diligent efforts.
“Diligence is the beginning of brilliance.”
As a child, Samuel Johnson’s words were often quoted:
“What we hope to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”
Like the Indonesian proverb, Samuel Johnson’s words explicitly declare a truth; diligence is not observable in a single day or interaction. Diligence requires observation over time. Whether you like or dislike President Trump, was he diligent in performing the job as president; Yes. The media hounded him so severely that even on his vacations, he couldn’t catch a break. Whether you like or dislike President Biden, has he been diligent in performing the role of president; no, for he never fulfilled the role of Senator, unless you count selling influence as part of the role of being a senator.
I distinguish between two people that are regularly in the news. If you disagree, point to specific actions and their consequences to reflect a lack of diligent effort in performing the role of president. Critical thinking requires evaluation and honest appraisals of situations. Of the presidents I have observed, only President Reagan was more diligent than President Trump in fulfilling the role of president. Agree or disagree, but use the definitions of diligent and diligence to support and defend your judgments. The reverse is also true; the least diligent president to date is Biden, with only Obama and Carter rounding out the top three.
What is faithfulness?
Faithful is a word we should use more often and not when describing the actions of dogs! According to the dictionary, faithful includes aspects of truth, loyalty, constancy, and a character of being exact and reliable. Consider something faithful: being steadfast in affection and allegiance, being firm in your promises and observances of duty, and finally being true to facts, standards, and laws.
Mother Teresa is quoted as saying:
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
Like tiny stones that fill gaps and plug holes in an earthen dam, the faithfulness of small things empowers the dam to remain strong. Consider the story of the Dutch kid with his finger in the dam, it was a small thing that broke, and it was a small thing that plugged the hole. Faithfulness is not about grand actions, large token gifts, and glorious virtue signals. Faithfulness is all about the small daily acts of charity, the defense of a friend when gossip comes, and the day-to-day carrying out of duty. Have you ever seen a butterfly’s wing under a microscope; little tiny feathers. Each little tiny feather being faithful allows the butterfly to fly. There is power in being faithful!
Consider two examples and determine which is faithful to their cause, even if you do not support their cause. Congresswoman A. Ocasio-Cortez went to the MET Gala event wearing a “Tax the Rich” message on her dress. Tickets cost upwards of $35,000, and other costs are always exorbitant for these affairs. Al Gore and the man-made climate change political machine demand that everyone else change their behavior, but not those directing the movement. Personal lives do not reflect the public image created, personal conduct does not reflect public demeanor towards the issues advocated, and individual lifestyle does not meet minimum standards to match words. By definition, is either of these two faithful to their causes? Why are they followed?
Never forget critical thinking requires observation and decision-making, using the best information available. More to the point, when critical thinking, you will always be asked to defend your positions logically. Emotion has no place in critical thinking, observation, and discernment.
What are prayers of faith?
A prayer of faith is a prayer that is made iwith complete confidence in God’s power. Consider the New Testament and instructions left by the master instructor. Jesus talked to His disciples repeatedly about prayer. He told them to pray for God’s kingdom to be represented on earth and for His will to be done; He told them to pray for their daily sustenance, for forgiveness, and strength against temptation. He also said to them that anything they asked for in His name, for God’s glory, would be done for them, and He assured them that God knows how to give good gifts to His children. Hence, prayers of faith are part of all Christian religions and sects, and you find similar teaching in Judaism and Muslim faiths and denominations. Therefore, when we discuss this particular topic, all people can look to the prayers of faith, confident that solutions will come. Yes, you are included atheists and other non-traditional religions, and whether you call it prayer, self-reflection, or becoming centered, please participate in prayers of faith.
I am not here to tell you what to pray for. I think President Trump asking for us to petition for more honest, transparent, forthright, and constitutionally sound leadership in elected officials is an excellent first step for America. I genuinely think having a knowledgeable, informed, and capable electorate is more important, and petitioning heaven’s help to achieve an informed electorate is critical. However, the first steps in improving the electorate are found inside each of us. Are we willing to be diligent and faithful in our actions, decisions, and lives publicly and privately and support the good in others? If we are not willing to be faithful and diligent, what good is keeping America alive?
I know my answers; how do you choose?
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
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