Have I done any good in the world today? If not, I have failed indeed! Then wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above.
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Prove All Things, Part 2

Heavenly Father expects you to do
your homework before He throws
you an answer to your prayer.
In my last blog post, I explained how we must ask God through prayer to know spiritual truths. In this post I will show what we must do on our part in order to be ready to receive the answer.

God always hears and answers our prayers. Sometimes the answer is no. For instance: "Dear God. I would really like to have a couple thousand dollars to go on a cruise with my buddies. I also want a new car. And a pay raise. I also would like to be able to fly or turn invisible. Besides that, thanks for everything you do. Amen!"

How willing is God going to be to answer that prayer and give you the things you wanted? The answer to that prayer would most likely be "no" if it didn't bounce off the ceiling on the way to Him.

If you said that prayer and didn't get the stuff you wanted, does that mean God doesn't exist? Does that mean He doesn't care about you? Of course not! God expects us to "do our homework" before He gives us answers.

Here's how I like to look at it: Imagine you are walking around in a toy store with two of your children. One of your children comes to you and demands you buy a certain toy for him. You tell him no or don't answer him at all and he never asks you again. How much did he really want that toy? Not very much, right? You remember how he never helps out around the house when you ask and never does any of the chores he is supposed to do. How willing would you be to buy this child a toy?

If you're expecting a beam of light and an angel appearing
to you and giving you your answer... Sorry, but you're
not very likely to receive your answer like that.
Another one of your children comes to you and humbly asks you for a toy. This child however, in addition to his other chores, says if you buy this toy for him, he promises to give up his allowance, wash the car, do the dishes, rake the leaves, do his homework, and feed the dog. You don't answer him right away, but he starts to do all the things he promised to do. After a week, he has faithfully done everything on the list, plus some, and has asked you for the toy numerous times. How much did this child want the toy? Probably a whole lot. How much more willing are you to buy this child the toy he asked for? Probably a lot more willing.

You see, God is the same way with us. If we ask Him to give us something just once, or if we are not willing to do the things He asks of us, or if we don't really want to know the answer in the first place, He won't be very likely to give us answers to our prayers. Why would He?

But if we ask God in prayer for answers repeatedly, show Him we are willing to obey his commandments, work for our answers, and sincerely desire to know the truth, He will be much more willing to give us the answers we seek.

Let's take one spiritual truth to focus on. One of the most important spiritual truths missionaries can ask people to find out for themselves is the truthfulness and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Of course, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most important, but I have met plenty of people on my mission who claim to have read and prayed about the Book of Mormon but God did not tell them it was true.

Oh, you don't want to read the Book of
Mormon? It's OK. I only spent my entire life
putting them togeter for you.
Usually when they make that claim, I ask them how they went about getting their answer. Often times their reply runs along these lines: "Well, I opened it up and read for a little bit, then told God to let me know if it was true or not. And He didn't give me an answer, so the Book of Mormon must be false and Joseph Smith is a liar and the Mormon church is evil and crazy."

When I hear such an answer, I can't help but to try to visualize them saying their prayers. I like to imagine they go something like this: "Hey, God! It's me again! So, I just spent a few minutes reading this book those crazy dudes in white shirts with the black name tags gave me. They asked me to read the book and ask you if it was true. But I know the book probably isn't true and it was really boring and hard to understand. I was thinking of throwing it away, but I decided to use it as a doorstop instead. But you know what? Tell me the book isn't true so I can bash those Mission Mormonaries next time they come over. I'll call on you next time I need some help. Thanks-- Amen!"

Even if the Book of Mormon wasn't true, do you think God would answer such a prayer? God forbid, if you were in His place, what would you do if someone offered up such an insincere and blatantly insulting prayer? If it were me, I definitely wouldn't answer that prayer. In fact, I'd probably smite this person with leprosy or boils or some other crazy biblical disease for sending up such a disrespectful prayer to me.

Let me just offer a word of advice: If you aren't in the right mindset to receive the answer God is trying to give you, you won't get it. Period. If you only read the Book of Mormon to disprove what is written in it or any other purpose but to know if it's true, you won't get an answer. Even if you read the entire thing only trying to find fault in it, you still wouldn't get an answer.

The Book of Mormon testifies
of Jesus Christ.
"But doesn't the Book itself tell us if we read it and pray to know it is true, God will give us an answer?"

Yes, you are correct. But there is much more to it than that. The ancient Book of Mormon prophet Moroni describes what we must do to know if the book is true or not.

Moroni 10:3-5:

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

As it says in the Introduction of the Book of Mormon, we must "read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in [our] hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true." It goes on to say, "Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost."

To sum it all up, we must first be willing to receive an answer, our heart must be sincere, and we must be willing to act on the answer given. If it is the right moment for you to receive an answer according to God's timescale, you will receive the answer you seek. It's as simple as that.



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