Friday, August 7, 2009

Thought provoking

My mom runs a website called and sends out "a chapter a day" type things of different books by lds authors. It's not really a whole chapter a day but it's a taste of the book and the author. This week she is highlighting a book by Timothy L Carver, called That's Faith! I think I may need to buy it :)

Anyway excerpt really turned on a lighbulb in my head and I wanted to share it to turn on lightbulbs everywhere :)

"I have had prayers answered. Those answers were most clear when what I wanted was silenced by an overpowering need to know what God wanted. It is then that the answer from a loving Heavenly Father can be spoken to the mind by the still, small voice and can be written on the heart."1

I once began a seminary lesson by saying something that totally surprised my students. I had a large black marker in my hand and said, "Last night I found a verse in the Book of Mormon that is completely false. I'd like you to turn to Mormon 9:21 with me and let's blot it out with this marker."

My students looked at me suspiciously. They sensed I was teasing, but they were curious. They turned to Mormon 9:21: "Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth" (Mormon 9:21).

I then asked, "How many of you have ever asked for something in prayer that you didn't get?"

Quite a few hands went up.

"So this verse can't possibly be true. It says whatsoever we ask for will be granted. We've all asked for things we didn't get. So I think it's best to strike out this verse so we're not disappointed anymore."

My students smiled skeptically. I continued. "Let me prove my point. When I was about six years old my two favorite television shows were Superman and Mighty Mouse. I loved to watch them because both superheroes could do something I desperately wanted to do-fly!

"One summer morning I got up and had a great thought. I'd been told in Primary that Heavenly Father hears our prayers and will answer them if we have faith. I knelt at my bedside and told Heavenly Father how desperately I wanted to fly. I told Him I knew I could if He would help me.

"Convinced that my prayer would be answered, I climbed the stairs from my basement bedroom and into our kitchen. My mom was preparing breakfast. "I walked into the bathroom, pinned a towel around my neck (everyone knows you can't fly unless you have a cape) and then stuffed a wash cloth under my shirt so it looked like I had muscles like Mighty Mouse and Superman. Then I walked back into the kitchen and headed for our side door.

"'Ready for some pancakes?' my mom asked.

"I looked at her as if to say, 'Mom, breakfast is kid's stuff. I've got a lot more exciting things to do.'

"I walked out the door and onto our concrete porch. It was about three feet high. I remember saying one more prayer just to make sure: 'Please, please, please Heavenly Father, please help me fly.'

"I opened my eyes, took a deep breath and jumped."

My students were all listening intently. "What do you think happened?" I asked.

"You landed in a big pile on the ground," one of them joked.

"Exactly. I didn't fly. Even though I did everything in Mormon 9:21. So you see why it's important that we scratch out that verse?"

My students weren't sure how to respond. Then I said that I'd never been able to explain that verse until I read something in the Bible Dictionary that totally changed my understanding about prayer:

Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.

Christians are taught to pray in Christ's name. We pray in Christ's name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ. . . . Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ's name at all; they in no way represent his mind, but spring out of the selfishness of man's heart (Bible Dictionary, "Prayer," 752-53).

I told my students that I finally understood why many of my prayers had not been answered. I was saying 'in the name of Jesus Christ' but my prayers weren't really in His name because I wasn't asking for what He would have asked for.

We read another scripture: "Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you" (D&C 88:64). The word expedient means needful or necessary.

"So how do we know if something we're asking for is necessary?" I asked. Again, my students didn't know how to respond.

I explained that the Lord teaches us how to know if something is expedient: "Ask the Father in my name, in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men" (D&C 18:18).

In other words, if we listen to the promptings of the Spirit we will know what we should ask for, thus making our prayers truly in the name of Jesus Christ.

Kind of long.. but if you have time.. It's a good read :)


Shane and Linda said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing! Sounds like a great book!

Charli said...

love it.
i just might have to buy that book... i love insight like that!

Charli said...

this is Malerie... apparently my mom, Charli, is signed in and i'm too lazy to sign her out and sign me in.

Elise & Ty said...

LOVE IT! Tim Carver was in one of my bishoprics growing up - he was my favorite in that ward, and I was always bummed he didn't teach seminary at MY high school! You'll have to let me know if you buy it! Thanks for sharing! :)

Remind me where you said you got Jayden's crib??

Chris and Tara said...

Very interesting. I love object lessons like that.

C&CSant said...

I love it. I want to buy it as well!