February 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering – Matthew 6 – Prayer and Repentance
The February 2023 Come, Follow Me Ministering Printable ties together President Russell M. Nelson’s October 2022 General Conference talk, “Overcome the World and Find Rest” and this February’s “Come, Follow Me” lesson on the Sermon on the Mount and prayer.
Download February 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable (4×6) (Sheet of 4)
You can print these printables as 4×6 photo prints. My local drug store prints them for just pennies. They are also a higher resolution if you want to enlarge them. With this particular printable, I really like the way it looked printed on beige cardstock. So I also provided a 4 to a sheet version.
February 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Message
Matthew 6 – Prayer and Repentance – Sermon on the Mount
In “Come, Follow Me” this month, we are studying the Sermon on the Mount. It is during this sermon that Christ instructs His disciples how to pray. He tells them to avoid vain repetitions and to pray for God and not men. But one thing really caught my attention this time. Christ also teaches that when we pray, we should ask for forgiveness.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Starting Our Prayers With Repentance
Repentance is not only in the Lord’s Prayer, we also see it in other important prayers in the scriptures. When Enos prays all day long, the first thing he asks for is forgiveness. When the Brother of Jared seeks help with lighting the boats, he first acknowledges his sins and asks for mercy. After Alma the Younger is struck down, his torment turns to prayer when he asks for forgiveness. When Isaiah sees the Lord in the temple, he first laments his unclean lips and the Lord takes away his sins.
Not every prayer has to start with repentance. But I have been surprised at how much repentance has changed my prayers.
A Few Ways Repentance Changes How We Pray
Aligns Our Hearts
Some of my most challenging prayers are those where I feel like I am not being heard. Maybe a blessing is not forthcoming or a trial feels never-ending. Even when our trials are not the result of sin, repenting helps me re-align my heart with the Lord’s. I come with “a broken heart and a contrite spirit,” ready to accept His will and wait on His timetable.
Repentance also draws our hearts closer to the Lord. And prayer is at its most profound when we are one in the Lord. In Christ’s Intercessory Prayer, He prays, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).
Changes What We Ask For
When we start a prayer mindful of our sins and asking for repentance, it shapes what we ask for and how we ask for it. The perfect example of this is in Mormon 9:27-28, where Moroni teaches the people how to pray.
O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.
First, Moroni instructs us to, “Come unto the Lord with all your heart.” When we bring the Lord our hearts, we lay it all bare. If our desires are not in alignment with His will, we will feel it as we kneel before Him in prayer.
It is like my kitchen sink. My kitchen is in the middle of the house where there isn’t a lot of natural light. But in the late afternoon, the sunlight comes pouring through the front window and right onto my kitchen sink. In that light, I can see all the dirt, grime, dust, and water spots. I cringe as I realize my kitchen is not as clean as I thought it was. Like my kitchen, when the Lord’s light shines on our hearts, we can see what still needs to be done to be clean before Him.
After we come to the Lord with all our heart, we “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling before him.” Repentance is not something we do in solitude. The Lord does not send us away to time out. Instead, we do all the hard and painful work before Him. He is right there with us as we “strip [ourselves] of all uncleanness.”
And this is where the change in our prayers comes in. When you pray, you will not ask “so that ye may consume it on your lusts.” We won’t be like children in a candy shop asking to consume everything we want RIGHT now. The nature of our prayers will change because we will align them with the Lord’s will. We can “ask with a firmness unshaken” because we are only asking for that which is the Lord’s will.
Reminds Us Who We Are Praying To
In his October 2022 General Conference talk, “Overcome the World and Find Rest,” President Russell M. Nelson reminds us that Heavenly Father and the Savior love us. They are “intimately aware” of our needs and prayers for help.
When we pray, it is not to a distant and disinterested God. President Nelson says, “Because the Savior, through His infinite Atonement, redeemed each of us from weakness, mistakes, and sin, and because He experienced every pain, worry, and burden you have ever had, then as you truly repent and seek His help, you can rise above this present precarious world. You can overcome the spiritually and emotionally exhausting plagues of the world, including arrogance, pride, anger, immorality, hatred, greed, jealousy, and fear. Despite the distractions and distortions that swirl around us, you can find true rest—meaning relief and peace—even amid your most vexing problems.”
When I come to Heavenly Father with a repentant heart, it reminds me that I am talking to someone who is eternally and infinitely invested in me. I am filled with love for a Heavenly Father who listens to me even when I am not perfect.
Repentance and Our Wrestle Before The Lord
During the Sermon on the Mount, Christ prepares His disciples to live a higher and holier law. Learning how to work out our salvation before the Lord in prayer is a key part of that preparation. Although prayer is so simple that even the youngest child can do it, it is also something we have to learn by doing. The more we pray, the more we learn, and the richer our prayers become. But prayer is not always easy. It is no wonder that Enos refers to his prayer as a wrestle before the Lord. There are moments when we pray that the Lord feels so close, but sometimes like Joseph Smith, it feels as if He has hidden Himself. In those moments, when we feel like we can’t get close to the Lord, repentance is always a key part of our wrestle before the Lord.
February 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Handout
Since it is February, I wanted to do something with a nod to Valentine’s Day. I love these clear boxes for adding candy to. And then I added a little card stand so that the printable could sit upright once removed from the box. Inside, I put a mix of chocolate-covered nuts and fruit.
Did you like this February 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering message? Find more Relief Society Ministering Printables for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These ministering printables are a great way to help families incorporate the “Come, Follow Me” lessons into their own study. They are also perfect for Young Women’s, Relief Society, Sunday School, or Family Home Evening. I hope that these ministering printables will be a simple way to reach out to those we minister to.