Pray – Don’t be a chicken

Don - February 10, 2005

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.

1 Comment »

  1. Also, do we really think God will give us something against His will?

    Yes. Joseph and the 116 manuscript pages come to mind. (Thankfully God had a backup plan).

    The issue with J. and his prayers is that it is “opulent wealth” that may be the result. Opulent wealth would not be actually good for most of us so he wonders if he should pray for it. Jacob says that the few who can properly handle it give it away to the poor anyway. That is harder done than said. That is why I suggested He make it a contingency type of prayer.
    Geoff Johnston | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 1:07 pm | #

    Maybe J. should pray to handle the opulent wealth. Will God “bless” us with something He knows isn’t good for us…even if we ask?

    Even if we don’t get what we pray for doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t have been good for us. Sometimes the agency of others keeps us from “getting” things.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 3:40 pm | #

    My big one in this area is the common practice of praying for “moisture”. Is it any surprise that we’ve been in a drought here in the west for the past few years? We weren’t praying for rain, we were praying for moisture. And that’s what we got…

    MRKH
    Mark Hansen | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 5:08 pm | #

    Great topic. I wrote about this on my blog (ldser.blogspot.com) a week or so ago after an incident at church where the discussion was on blessings. A member of the Stake Presidency suggested that we always include the words “if it be the Lord’s will” in every blessing, just in case.

    I contend that if we are listening to the Spirit during the course of the blessing, and pronouncing the words the Spirit gives us, it is the will of the Lord, and nothing further need be said.
    Kelly Knight | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 7:55 pm | #

    I agree completely with you Kelly and I am suprised a Stake pres. would offer such advise. He probably also prays that things “might” happen too.
    don | Email | Homepage | 02.11.05 – 1:28 am | #

    Great comments. I’m leaning toward faith as the deciding factor, which sucks as I seem to lack it. Granted this all goes back to one’s definition of faith (I’m saying it is the degree to which we have an active relationship with the Lord).

    So if you lack faith, the easy answer is to work on increasing it. But what about the interim? What are you supposed to do when you actually lack faith?
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 02.12.05 – 11:28 am | #

    “Also, do we really think God will give us something against His will?”
    Perhaps not, but we are told that if we ask for what is not expedient, it will turn to our condemnation. D&C 88:65.
    That said, when I have been in tune, and I am sure of the confirmation I have recieved, I pray away, and don’t flinch so much. I do, however, think that when we don’t get a solid answer, either because we don’t take the time to, or we aren’t in tune, or we are still elarning to follow the spirit, or because there isn’t a need for the confirmation at that time, then we still need to pray, and perhaps the whole thing about “might” and the “thy will be done” is a good way to do that.
    Also, praying “thy will be done,” could also be a way of getting past our inability not to express our wishes to the God, and I believe this is the spirit in which the savior said it. He knew that the atonement must be, and yet he asked if there was another way simply to express the heaviness of he load to his father. When he prays “thy will be done,” I don’t feel like he didn’t know what he was praying for. He knew that he had to submit his will to the father’s and he knew what that meant. Plus, in letting us see his own will, it becomes more clear that he is submitting that will to the father, despite what might be comfortable for him. See John 11:42. that is, he says it to dramatize his struggle so that we can know of that struggle. So I would perhaps think that when we have consulted the Lord and ask in faith for what he has asked us to do , whatever our own inclinations, we are already praying “thy will be done” in the sense that the savior did.
    Stephen Hancock | Email | Homepage | 03.02.05 – 6:33 pm | #

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