Friday, December 14, 2018

Luke 11:9-10 -- On Getting What We Ask For

"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
Luke 11:9-10

Sometimes we read this promise and we are doubtful.  Maybe we've tried asking and we didn't get exactly what we wanted in the way that we wanted it.  God's promise is, of course, true, but digging in a little bit deeper will perhaps help us to understand it better.

One clarification is in Doctrine and Covenants 9:7 where God says to Oliver Cowdery "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."  ... So, clearly, we have to do more than ask.

In Doctrine and Covenants 8:10 God says "Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not."  We learn here that faith is an integral part of the promise.    Faith is the willingness and confidence to *act* on things that we can't see, but that we still know.  For instance, if we really want a certain job, it isn't enough to see the posting and to then pray.  I'm not saying that God is *unable* to have the hiring manager call us out of the blue and offer the job, but I think God is much less likely to help us if we don't act in faith.  In this case, it would be  a good idea to actually apply for the job, put forth the effort to write a good resume and prepare ourselves for that sort of a job, and maybe even prep for the interview.

James 4:3 clarifies the part about asking for things that we shouldn't: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."  Back to the job.  If we're asking for it because it is what we want to do, and we feel like we would be able to help the company a lot and be of service, that's one thing.  What if we want the job because it will make us rich or powerful or because it would be easy to slack off or maybe even steal from the company?  Probably not a very good reason, right?  And yet, very often, we ask for things from God that aren't good for us, or others, or the world.  We want things that will hurt us, and hurt other people.

God wants to bless our lives, but so often we ask him to hurt us by desiring the totally wrong things.  God's promise to us works if we're living right.  If we aren't, we need some clarification and probably a little bit more purity.  Let's work on that today... on being good, and asking for good things.  As we do, we'll be blessed more and more to know what to ask for that will help both ourselves and others, and be granted what we ask.

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