The Red Sea and Real Intent

There were chariots behind them, sand dunes on every side, and just a lot of water immediately ahead. He needed information all right—what to do—but it wasn’t a casual thing he was asking. In this case it was literally a matter of life and death.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Case Not Away Therefore Your Confidence,” Brigham Young University Devotional Address, 2 March 1999

We are all familiar with the Savior’s admonition and promise, “Ask, and ye shall receive” (3 Nephi 27:29, John 16:24). But Moroni clarifies that God’s answers do not come to casual seekers. He promises answers to those who ask “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ” (Moroni 10:4).

What does real intent look like? As Elder Holland explained, it sometimes looks like desperation. Six hundred chariots bearing down on the children of Israel as they—men, women, and children—were encamped by the sea, vulnerable, and with no where to run.

I think we can safely say that Moses prayed “with real intent” that day. And God responded: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Exodus 14:15-16).

Elder Holland continued, “You will need information, too, but in matters of great consequence it is not likely to come unless you want it urgently, faithfully, humbly.”

Today, I will ask “with real intent.” Like Moses at the Red Sea, I will seek for information which will help me face my challenges and fulfill my responsibilities. I will focus on questions that are really important, so that I am more likely to receive an answer.

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