I’ve been asked to speak in Sacrament meeting this week on prayer. In preparing I’ve decided that I have some hang-ups about prayer and I’m not sure I have adequate experience either.
Most of my life I’ve felt I’m a pretty average "Mormon". I probably know a bit more doctrine than most, and a bit more Old and New Testament than most, and even a bit more about Church History than most. This "bit more" has come because I love to teach and when I teach I learn a lot more than those whom I teach. But when it comes to "spiritual experiences" or "answered prayers" I feel I’ve got a bit less than most.
Prayer is one aspect that has troubled me for years. I have been a business owner most of my life, in fact lots of different businesses. When I was younger I went to the Stake President (since he was my quorum president) and asked his advice about selling a company and doing something different. I was feeling that I hadn’t gotten an answer to my prayers….lots of prayers about it. He told me that sometimes the Lord doesn’t care what we do. He gave us a brain and the power to reason so use it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if we own a McDonald’s or a Burger King, if we’re an accountant or a lawyer…sometimes it does matter. When it matters you’ll get an answer if you have faith and seek properly.
I also don’t think the Lord cares if I buy Wheat Chex or Cheerios. Insignificant matters shouldn’t be brought to the Lord for His help. But when does insignificant become significant. When does the business matter? I’ve prayed over buying a business, felt ok about it, never got a bright spiritual experience so I went forward. It cost me several thousands of dollars and took 11+ years to dig ourselves out of! I should rejoice in my trials – right? But maybe I should pray better, or listen better?
Ok, another question. I hear in prayers all the time two things that bother me. One is people pray that something "might" happen. If we have faith and are in line with God then should we pray it "will" happen? It might happen anyway whether we pray for it or not, so why say might? Second I hear people as for a "special blessing" upon something or someone. What is a special blessing. Does God have blessing in catagories – regular blessings, special blessings, extra special blessings?
Ok I’ve vented, now I’ll go finish my talk.