When God showed Moses the earth and its inhabitants, Moses replied with a question:
Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?Moses 1:30
In response, God explained that this earth was created by His Only Begotten Son, that it is one of many worlds which He has created, and that His ultimate purpose is to help His children obtain eternal life. (See Moses 1:31-39.)
That was a productive question.
Several Book of Mormon prophets shared the answers they received to questions they asked in prayer. For example:
- Alma asked God how he should handle a sensitive and contentious issue in the church. In response, the Lord revealed principles he should apply as he and the other priests made decisions about specific individuals. (See Mosiah 26:13-32.)
- His son, also named Alma, “inquired diligently” to know what happens to us between death and the resurrection. In response, God taught him about the Spirit World. (See Alma 40:7-14.)
- Mormon asked God whether the three disciples who were allowed to remain on the earth were mortal or immortal. God explained to him that their bodies had been changed but that they would be changed more in the future. (See 3 Nephi 28:36-40.)
- Mormon asked God what to do about the practice of baptizing small children. God reaffirmed that “little children are alive in Christ” and that repentance and baptism are for those who are old enough to commit sin. (See Moroni 8:7-26.)
I’m thinking today about the kinds of questions I ask God in prayer. It seems clear to me that I can receive more revelation by asking better questions.
One thing that all of these prophets had in common was curiosity. Some of them were motivated by practical concerns: they needed guidance to help them in fulfilling their responsibilities. But others simply wanted to fill in gaps in their knowledge. They wanted to better understand how things work. They wanted to know why things are the way they are. God answered their questions as they expressed a sincere desire to know more.
President Russell M. Nelson has urged us to work harder at receiving revelation:
I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”
Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!”“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2018
Today, I will ask more questions in my personal prayers. I will take the time to ask for further information about how and why things work, so that I will be empowered to make better decisions.
I think that when we come with humility and curiosity or present our concerns and then take a moment to pause and meditate, reflect, and actively listen – we may find the answers. For me, sometimes those answers come in ways I never expected them to come. Other times, it took much searching, pondering, praying, and seeking before an answer is given.
Thank you for sharing your experience with seeking answers to your prayers. I agree that taking time to listen and ponder is an important part of the process.
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