I’m reading a book called Seeking the Spirit written by Joseph Fielding McConkie in 1978. It’s a book I will need to read again. Even though it’s a thin book it is packed with things I want to remind myself of and think about more.
In the chapter titled Asking Questions and Getting Answers he says,”If we were to delete every revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants that came to Joseph Smith in response to a question we would have relatively few verses remaining. What a marvelous thing it is that Joseph Smith took the instruction to “ask” literally. The implication is that even those worthy to receive revelation have not always received it simply because they did not desire it.”
I’ve been reading this book very slowly because of all the little gems like that contained in it. Because i have to stop and consider what he just said.
There has sometimes been a disconnect with me about prayer. Why do we do it if God already knows what we are thinking or needing or desiring? What’s the point of praying if God already knows out hearts?
In the Bible Dictionary the entry on prayer is something I have gone back to many times. This is the paragraph that I have studied:
As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.
It’s all right there but I need to be reminded of it over and over. but isn’t that how we learn best, by repetition? That’s all practice is and we practice anything we want to well or better.
I was a very good seamstress but then I stopped sewing for some time because I was on to other things and those other things led me back to sewing but when I got out my sewing machine and began again I had lost some of the skill. I was ok at it but not even close to where I was when I put it aside.
To improve our prayers and to know what it is that God would like to tell us practice must be important because that is the only way we can learn to hear His voice and understand that that is what that whisper is when we hear it or that little bit of warmth in our chest when we feel it or sometimes even that clear voice in our heads. Practice is how we can know that we aren’t just imagining it and that God really does have a message for us or a job for us to do or a path He’s like us to choose.
And wouldn’t we be disappointed if He wanted to share something with us and all we had to do was ask but we never did?
I’m off to practice now. How about you?