Beware of What You Ask For

May 12, 2017

Beware of What You Ask For

I wrote this:

“We pray for many things of which we are not willing to pay the price. No wonder the heavens seem to be sealed.”

A reader responded by asking about the price and how prayer should be used

The price is different for each thing that is desired. The principle behind getting divine assistance is noted in this scripture:

“for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” II Nephi 25:23

No matter what it is that we want we are expected to do all we can first. When we have done all that is possible on our end then our prayers will be heard and answered if what we ask is in harmony with the will of God as noted here:

“Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss.” II Nephi 4:35

You’ve heard of the story of the caterpillar in the cocoon who is assisted by a helpful person. It dies because the struggle of breaking through the barrier gives the creature the strength it needs to survive.

Even so, if we get assistance too soon we are robbed of the lessons we need to learn that will give us the strength to achieve on our own.

There is no greater joy discovered than he who struggles and achieves through doing all he can do.

When one has done all he can and then reaches a dead end, that is the time to pray for help.

Let us say that Jim wants to find a wife and settle down, but he spends most of his spare time on the computer instead of going out and looking at the many social places available. God is not going to send him a partner who comes and knocks on his door.

Let us say that Bob wants wisdom and knowledge, but he spends no time learning wisdom from the wise through personal contact and books. God is not going to just snap his fingers and give him the gift of wisdom.

The older I get the less I ask for because I know there is a price for all things.

If I ask for patience, I may wind up encountering many irritating people.

If I ask for wisdom I may have to go through painful experiences to obtain it.

If I ask for love, I may first be tested to see if I can love the least of my brethren who may be very difficult people to deal with.

If I ask for wealth for a good cause I may first be required to go through financial struggles so I can learn the value of a dollar.

If one realizes the price required then asking God for something is a fairly brave thing to do. Why? Because the path that will be laid out for you to obtain it is often something you would not have chosen on your own.

Even so, when the path is followed and the prize is won you would not trade the experience for anything.

A reader disagreed with my comments indicating that we must put effort into an endeavor before we can achieve or receive supernatural help. She says that blessings are generously given by the grace of a loving God and are not earned.

It is interesting that this came from an LDS reader when the church places emphasis on works rather than grace. Many of the Protestants place emphasis on grace and faith over works.

The LDS scriptures teach that both faith and works are necessary. As I said the scripture specifically says:

“for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” II Nephi 25:23

Now I by no means see LDS doctrine as perfect, but in this case they are on the right track as well as being in harmony with the Bible wherein we read:

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matt 16:27

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” II Cor 9:6

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Rev 14:13

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal 6:7

It certainly sounds like Jesus and the prophets placed a similar emphasis on our labors to produce results as was espoused in my article.

We reap as we sow, not as we do not sow. If one observes what happens in his own life as well as others he can see this law is indeed valid.

Of course, there are some effects that cannot be traced to this life alone, but under regression techniques people can be taken to past lives and there will be discovered the works that created the present conditions not explained in his life.

Now let us put scriptures aside and look at the logic of this.

If a person wants to become a champion athlete is he going to achieve this by just having faith and waiting for God to snap his fingers and bless him?

I assure you that you can look far and wide and will not find a champion who did not put a lot of effort into achieving his success.

If a person wants to draw positive people into his life he will not achieve this by being negative, for like attracts like. He must put effort into being a good person and doing the right thing.

If a person wants to be a good speaker then he must apply himself by filling his mind with pertinent facts and then by giving speeches.

I have never seen a person excel at anything without first doing his part and applying himself.

The reader then tells me that she detests the pride that comes from thinking that we earned our blessings.

Actually, I have observed the opposite. The greatest pride I have seen comes from those who have achieved little who think they are great souls. Take a look at all those who claim to be the One Mighty and Strong or the Second Coming. Most of these are not very blessed and have little talent, yet their pride makes them see themselves a the greatest recipients of God’s blessings on the planet.

This Mighty and Strong syndrome carries over to many people who have little achievement in many areas of life.

On the other hand, most of those I know who have achieved a lot are more humble than average. Now there are exceptions, such as Muhammad Ali who proclaimed himself to be “the greatest,” but most of them do not throw their own achievements in your face.

To achieve, sacrifice is often required and some are much easier than others. If the one achieving loves his work then it is not a sacrifice at all. It is only a sacrifice if something is required that he prefer to not do.

I have had to make sacrifices big and small and the reward was definitely the greatest with the larger sacrifices.

Concerning the greatest sacrifice in history we are even told that there was a motive and reward behind it:

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” Heb 12:2

I cannot think of any instance in my life or anyone else who has achieved anything of significance where they did not apply themselves first. I can think of instances in my life where I received divine assistance after I have done all I could in the process.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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