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Saturday, April 12, 2008

What Do Mormons Believe? - Prayer

Are we allowed to ask God for things? What can we ask for?

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
James 1:5
Looks like we're promised wisdom if we ask for it. He's giving it out liberally. You may even ask him specific questions about life, relationships, a verse from the scriptures, etc. When He says He won't 'upbraid,' it means he won't scold you for asking.
"Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
Matthew 7:7-10
Hmm. So if we want something to eat he won't get all indignant on us and take us out to the tool shed for asking for it.

Some people are afraid to pray. I call it the Monkey's Paw effect. In the short story by W. W. Jacobs, the monkey's paw granted its owner £200 to pay for his house, but it cost him his son's life. The moral is loud and clear: be careful what you wish for. But, when it comes to our Father, we know He doesn't play games like that. He will not give us a stone when we ask for a loaf of bread. If we ask for something we shouldn't (like any good father), He will help us understand why, rather than scold us.
"Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase."
Alma 34: 24-25
Looks like if you're a farmer or a shepherd you're OK'd to ask for help with your job. But what about an accountant or a student or an auto mechanic? What can they pray for? Do you think He would help them too?

Have you had any experience with this? What did you pray for and how did you get it?


Jancisco said...

I pray for everything--relationships, health, good attitude, finding lost things, help on assignments or projects, patience with my baby and my husband, understanding of what God's plan is for me in a given situation. . .

and the cool thing is, He answers. He has answered so consistently and reliably and lovingly that now I know I can depend on Him answering my prayers. The experience is what builds real faith.

clint-o-bean said...

What do Mormons believe about prayer? You asked a good question about what do we pray for - and how do we get it? I recently attended the LDS international society meeting and was blown away by how much good individual members are doing - much of it in answer to their prayers of how to help others. As a result of that (and as a result of what I learned in general conference), I posted a blog entry with the same title of your blog: What do Mormons believe?
only in this blog entry I decided to focus on what some of the effects of those beliefs (and prayers) were. A previous blog entry of mine:
About Being a Mormon Christian: Facts about Mormons
is my attempt to summarize some of the basic beliefs.
I'd be really interested in having your comments and perspective on both entries.