I have taken a number of weeks ‘off’ from the blog. I assisted two of my children in relocation and am still recovering from the exercise. I also took the time to address some web issues and rework this blog, which is now located on a different hosting platform. If you subscribed to this blog or the comments, I would ask that you re-subscribe. I didn’t bring that information across in the transfer.
I now have two children in the Pacific time zone and two in the Eastern time zone. It is always hard to see members of the family move away but such is the time we live in. As I pondered the circumstances of the moves, I reflected back on some of the experiences I have had with my children. One that floated to the top of my memory was one where my son had set his sights on a townhome to purchase. He had asked my financial assistance in securing the down payment and I was very concerned about this purchase. I remember distinctly telling him that, one, now is not a good time to buy real estate (just before the market collapse) and, two, this is not the right house to buy.
It was of no use. He had his mind set on this and so, after several attempts to reason with him, I agreed to the needed assistance. He was able to purchase the house and lived in it several months before a job transfer took him to another part of the state. The house is now a rental property because he can’t sell it without a significant loss…
As I pondered the experience, I mused on the ‘blind’ drive my son exhibited in acquiring this real estate asset. No amount of rational discussion could dissuade him from his quest. For one last time, I rehearsed my two main concerns and gave him the requested support.
My son had set upon a plan to acquire a desired asset. In his request, he did not seek to understand the implications of his plan but sought solely to get the needed support. As I considered this, I thought of how our prayers sometimes suffer from the same problem. How often do we petition the Lord in our prayers for approval of our, perhaps, ill-conceived plans rather than seeking to understand the implications of our decisions?
One line of prayerful questioning could be, “Please tell me that this plan is a good plan,” where we seek the Lord’s concurrence. We aren’t really interested in the consequences of our request; we are ‘blinded’ by our perceived need of a particular answer.
A second line of prayer could be, “I am considering this particular course of action, please tell me what the consequences may be,’ and then actually listen and ponder on the thoughts that are brought to our mind.
I am reminded of the episode recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants of the lost manuscript. Martin Harris was under pressure from an unbelieving wife to back away from his support of the ‘gold bible.’ He asked Joseph if he could take the manuscript home. Joseph petitioned the Lord and received ‘no’ for an answer. Finally, after repeated petitions, the Lord gave Joseph permission to transfer custody of the manuscript to Martin. We all know the consequences of this action.
The lesson for me was to engage in careful consideration of my requests of the Lord in my prayers. I, sometimes, catch myself asking, just as my son did, for confirmation of my planned action rather than seeking guidance from Him. I don’t claim that I have the constant stream of thought that I attribute to the Lord but I do recognize His input as I move through my life.
I have come to believe that we can achieve much when it comes to communication with the Lord through preparation. I also think having a ‘special place’ for this effort that separates us from the world is very helpful. Yes, I speak of a prayer room, and no, it doesn’t have to have an altar in it. Several years ago, my wife and I dedicated a room in our home for this type of sanctuary. It was a moving experience for us to set this room aside for the express purpose of spiritual growth.
I also have sought to structure my questions of the Lord in a way that gives me an opportunity to hear His voice. I found that the act of describing the situation to the Lord helps me to gather the pertinent information. I have found that asking questions about the consequences of decisions is also helpful.
Sometimes, I ask the Lord to paint me a picture of these consequences. I have found that, just as in dreams, symbols can help me to understand the will of the Lord. I have had the experience where, in answer to such a petition, I had a scene ‘painted’ in my mind. Prayerful consideration of that scene has brought the desired perspective of my request. Sometimes it is a serial process where my answer is found in a sequence of scenes and intervening thought and consideration.
I have no doubt that each of us tread a different path in regards to our communication with the Lord. I consider these things as sacred and wish to convey to the reader that these things are not to be trifled with. I also acknowledge that my ability to get answers has many environmental considerations. I have come to believe that not all questions will receive answers. I have come away, is some instances, with the feeling that I have to make the best decision I can with the information I have been gathered; that the Lord is not going to render assistance on the item; that I am to demonstrate my ability to choose the right.
What have you done to make your communication with the Lord more profitable (or prophet-able)?
What think ye?