I’ve been pondering personal revelation and receiving answers to our prayers. In fact, last night for family home evening, I taught my kids what to expect when we seek answers from the Lord because I want them to understand that “ask and ye shall receive” doesn’t mean the Lord is like a vending machine–we don’t simply put in quarters and out comes candy bars.
I figure if I can help them understand how the Lord works with his children, the less likely they will one day be to throw their hands up in the air in despair and declare that God just doesn’t care simply because they didn’t receive an immediate answer to their prayers.
So I taught them about the Lord’s counsel to Oliver Cowdery when he became frustrated with his inability to translate and receive inspiration. The Lord taught:
Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind. (D&C 9:8)
And then I taught them about Joseph Smith and how he struggled with the decision of which church to join for 3 years before receiving his answer (for more about this topic you can read my earlier post Line Upon Line). We quickly skimmed his personal history where I highlighted words that showed his search and struggle (I’ve bolded the same phrases below so you too can skim):
During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection . . .
my feelings were deep and often poignant
I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time . . .
I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: 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.
Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again,
At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” (JSH 1:8-17)
There was no passive waiting on Joseph’s part as he sought answers. He pondered and reflected again and again. He attended meetings, searched the scriptures for answers, and thought and felt deeply and poignantly.
And then we all went to bed, but I awoke bright and early with this phrase–that we find multiple times in scripture–swirling through my mind:
Wait on the Lord
What does it mean to wait on the Lord?
As I thought about that question, additional scriptures came to mind which you can find here. And as I laid in bed with these myriad scriptures coursing through my head, I wondered why I had awoken with these thoughts pressing upon my mind? I remembered my lesson from the night before about the importance of working while we wait for answers to come, or better yet, working being the means whereby answers finally do come, and then it hit me.
Waiting on the Lord is another form of pertinent work. Work that we should be doing while we wait for answers to come. Waiting doesn’t mean sitting around. To wait on the Lord is to serve the Lord. That’s exactly what the waiter did for me and my family last weekend. He served us. And so as we seek for answers, let us work and SERVE for the Lord has promised glorious blessings for those who wait on the Lord:
they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa. 40:31)
Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted
Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord. (D&C 98:2-3).
For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides thee, how great things thou hast aprepared for him that bwaiteth for thee (D&C 133:45).
So my sweet children, ever remember the importance of patiently waiting upon the Lord as you work to receive answers to your prayers. This is my prayer and now I must get back to work! 😉