J. Stapely at the Splendid Sun blog got me to thinking about prayer, so here’s a couple of thoughts:
Why do we always “chicken out” in our prayers by saying “if it’s God’s will, then such and such be done”? I also twitch a bit when someone is saying a prayer and always say that such and such “might” happen. My immediate reaction is “it might happen anyway so why pray for it?”
Both points bring me to the thought that if we were in tune with the spirit and God’s will then we wouldn’t have to ask like that. Nephi was promised that anything he asked for would be given, because God could trust him to not ask amiss.
Also, do we really think God will give us something against His will? That’s a scary thought, that I can talk God into doing something against His will! I would agree that there are times when God allows us to follow a course of action we choose that leads to consequences that are not as good as the consequences we would have gotten if we had chosen differently.
Dallin Oaks gave a great talk at BYU that said God does not always answer every prayer with a burning or confirmation, even for what we consider important things. He said sometimes you’re asking between two right things, or two wrong things – so we don’t get a confirmation. He said all our prayers are heard, but not all our prayers are answered with the confirmation we may be seeking.
That being said, I think we study, evaluate, make a choice, ask for a confirmation, pray that it will happen and don’t chicken out. Have faith that you have done what you are required to do, have faith that your mind and will are in tune with God’s. And then know that IF you have done your part, then the outcome is God’s will and in your best eternal interests.