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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Dallin Oaks confuses me on prayer » Dallin Oaks confuses me on prayer

Dallin Oaks confuses me on prayer

Don - February 11, 2005

I know this quote is long but I have read it many times trying to fully understand it’s impact on me personally. I thought I would share it.

“We do not always receive inspiration or revelation when we request it. Sometimes we are delayed in the receipt of revelation, and sometimes we are left to our own judgment. We cannot force spiritual things. It must be so. Our life’s purpose to obtain experience and to develop faith would be frustrated if our Heavenly Father directed us in every act, even in every important act. We must make decisions and experience the consequences in order to develop self-reliance and faith.

“Even in decisions we think very important, we sometimes receive no answer to our prayers. This does not mean that our prayers have not been heard. It only means that we have prayed about a decision which, for one reason or another, we should make without guidance by revelation. Perhaps we have asked for guidance in choosing between alternatives that are equally acceptable or equally unacceptable. I suggest that there is not a right and wrong to every question. To many questions, there are only two wrong answers or two right answers…

“Similarly, the Spirit of the Lord is not likely to give us revelations on matters that are trivial…I believe the Lord expects us to use the intelligence and experience He has given us to make these kinds of choices.”

So how do we tell which choices to make on our own, which ones to get God’s help on, and which ones even when we ask for help that we’ll get it or not?

Prayer, and answers to prayers can be really frustrating sometimes.

1 Comment »

  1. I think part of living the gospel is acknowledging our ignorance. Were it otherwise, we wouldn’t need this life at all. After all the main difference between earth life and our pre-mortal life is just this matter of prayer. In pre-mortality we always got clear answers to our inquiries from God and were sure that he was the one answering.

    My personal belief is that one of the main benefits of this life is learning to live with that vagueness.
    Clark Goble | Email | Homepage | 02.11.05 – 1:58 pm | #

    Pray about what to pray about?
    John C. | Email | Homepage | 02.11.05 – 5:28 pm | #

    I’m reminded of President Monson’s recent counsel for us to “pray and go” in life. Pray about everything and press forward whether you hear anything back or not (in most cases). I believe the Lord intervenes and gives us directions only when we are going off track or when He has a specific task for us to do for him. If we’re on the general right track why should he intervene?

    .
    Geoff Johnston | Email | Homepage | 02.12.05 – 11:26 am | #

    Geoff,

    Thanks, I think your comments are profound. I think it wise counsel too. I’m going to live by that! Thanks again.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 02.12.05 – 2:29 pm | #

    “I believe the Lord intervenes and gives us directions only when we are going off track or when He has a specific task for us to do for him.”
    It makes me wonder exactly what He has in store for my hubby, and why we keep trying things and not getting the “Wait, this isn’t right. Try something else” reply.
    Sister T | Email | Homepage | 02.12.05 – 5:20 pm | #

    Geoff’s response reminds me of the adage I’ve tried to implement in my life (for the most part, of course with a few exceptions) of “Pray as if everything depended on the Lord and then go out and act as if everything depended on you.” God doesn’t owe me anything, so I just ask Him for help out of the goodness of His heart
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 02.13.05 – 3:03 am | #

    I’ve heard that before, but I’ve often wondered if that were just like putting my “trust in the arm of the flesh”. It’s a tricky question, to be sure…

    MRKH
    Mark Hansen | Email | Homepage | 02.13.05 – 4:57 pm | #

    Don asked:

    So how do we tell which choices to make on our own, which ones to get God’s help on, and which ones even when we ask for help that we’ll get it or not?

    I once prayed and fasted often during the course of two weeks over a particular question and received absolutely no answer whatsoever regarding the matter I was concerned with. But I did get some strong impressions regarding an unrelated matter and ended up following those impressions.

    I have to say after those two weeks I was frustrated to have no answer at all to my question (that I thought was important). But by that time I was very satisfied that I had exhausted the issue and that I was free to make my own decision one way or another. I knew that I had consulted God and felt that I could responsibly make my own choice. Shortly thereafter I was able to see that the course of action I was concerned with did not matter one way or the other and I know that God was able to foresee that. Thus the lack of response.

    The nice thing was that when God sidestepped the question He still saw fit to reward my diligent efforts by giving me guidance in an area of my life where my agency actually made a difference for my future. I was able to act on those impressions and go forward with my life.

    The principle I took away from that is that prayer is a two-way street. We might be imploring God about something and He might decide to change the topic of conversation entirely. It takes a little bit of patience and humility to accept this sort of thing but it is always for the best. And yes, it is ok to feel frustrated and confused during the process of prayer.
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 02.24.05 – 1:04 am | #

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    Comment by Comment Restore — November 28, 2005 @ 1:11 am

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