Your Answer May Come Right Away...

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Roy
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Re: Your Answer May Come Right Away...

Post by Roy » 12 Apr 2019, 10:51

I tend to pray for things within my control to same degree. It helps as a form of mindfulness and purpose reminder.

For example I may pray that our home can be a safe and welcoming place. Each member of my family has a role in making that happen.
I may pray that a child will be able to study hard and do their best on an upcoming exam.
I might pray that we might have the required stamina to see a long project through to completion.

In this way, I still find prayer useful even if I do not expect divine intervention as a consequence.

An acquaintance asked if it would be appropriate to pray that her old boyfriend would change his mind and get back together with her. I told her that this is a terrible idea. First because I do not believe that God works that way. Second and more importantly because as long as she is praying to get back together with an old boyfriend, she is not moving on and focusing on making important changes for herself and her future.

Maybe it would be helpful for her to pray to get back together with this old boyfriend and for God to respond with an emphatic, "NO!" :lol:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SilentDawning
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Re: Your Answer May Come Right Away...

Post by SilentDawning » 12 Apr 2019, 17:23

Roy wrote:
12 Apr 2019, 10:51
Maybe it would be helpful for her to pray to get back together with this old boyfriend and for God to respond with an emphatic, "NO!" :lol:
God's no is often delivered by implication -- through decades of silence. Better off to think "If God wants him back in my life, I'll consider it then. For now, he ain't a-changing, so I'll go ahead and try to find someone else."
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Daughter1
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Re: Your Answer May Come Right Away...

Post by Daughter1 » 14 Apr 2019, 17:44

Kipper - I feel the same way about the phrase "endure to the end." I apologize that this went a little long. I tried to keep it on point (and cut out several more distracting tangents then are still here). I hope that my intent to relate comes across.

Before I explain my comparison to your feelings, I want to note where I differ slightly. I personally feel that I have been greatly blessed by God. I see His hand in my life in many places. I don't see many direct answers to prayers, but I do see circumstances lining up in a way that is very fortunate. Because I know God loves me, I choose to believe that He influenced things to allow those things to line up. So while I don't feel like I get "answers" very often, I do believe God hears my prayers and concerns and takes them into account on the occasions when He choses to get involved. But I don't feel His involvement is ever major or direct. More of a nudge for me to read a certain article, talk to a certain person, etc.

I hope that gives some context to my own frustrations on this topic. I personally do not care if a prayer isn't answered right away or next week. I do believe God is paying attention and will give me the blessings that will most impactful in bringing joy to my life. But, as several others have said, I also believe that in order for Him to be able to bless me, I have to be doing what is in my power. This frustrates me when I hear people in the church say "if you're praying, fasting, yahda yahda seminary list, and still not getting an answer, just endure." How long do I have to endure? What if there are ways that I can progress if I change up the script just a little bit?

If I had "endured" in the challenges presented to me in my hometown after graduating college, I would likely hold an unfulfilling job (if any), be married to a man who has very little career progression opportunities, and be content but not happy. Instead, I chose to move away and with very little direct intervention from God (I do believe that He directly influenced my choice of destination) made that plan happen. I hate the phrase "tell God your plans and He will laugh." In my life, I have found that nothing really happens unless I'm working on it. And occasionally, for not always obvious reasons, God will step in with a little nudge.

My life now is much better than it was before I moved to Denver. I am so glad I am here. But the "endure to the end" statement still comes up. I left the singles ward a few years early because I did everything I was supposed to (going "above and beyond to ask guys on dates - I was literally praised by my bishop for this) and all that happened was I became more mature than everyone around me. I have now skipped more church than I have attended this year because I have had unanswered questions for several years and after doing everything and never receiving a satisfying answer, I have been told to "endure" to gain my testimony. In my experience, enduring alone leads to stagnation. Enduring while trying to find my way forward works better.
I don't think there could ever be just one single philosophy or one single religion. Since there are so many different types of people, with a range of tendencies and inclinations, it is quite fitting that there are differences between religions. And the fact that there are so many different descriptions of the religious path shows how rich religion is. - HH the XIV Dalai Lama

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Your Answer May Come Right Away...

Post by Roy » 15 Apr 2019, 11:53

Daughter -
Daughter1 wrote:
14 Apr 2019, 17:44
I personally feel that I have been greatly blessed by God. I see His hand in my life in many places. I don't see many direct answers to prayers, but I do see circumstances lining up in a way that is very fortunate. Because I know God loves me, I choose to believe that He influenced things to allow those things to line up. So while I don't feel like I get "answers" very often, I do believe God hears my prayers and concerns and takes them into account on the occasions when He choses to get involved. But I don't feel His involvement is ever major or direct. More of a nudge for me to read a certain article, talk to a certain person, etc.
I think that is wonderful. I tend to think of this as the "tender mercies" model. My own faith crisis began with the stillbirth of our third child. Our child died a week from the schechuled due date and she could have been delivered early and done just fine. There never was a clear cause of death (the fetal death certificate listed acute heart failure because they did not know what else to put down). Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that her body could have supported her life outside of the womb. It is very difficult for me to conceptualize why the doctor or medical staff or myself or my wife did not receive some sort of prompting that something was very wrong. If God sends nudges, why didn't he nudge us to get to the hospital? DW and I were both serving in high profile ward callings and living the commandments just about as well as we could. Maybe God has some greater purpose in it all but I sure cannot figure it out.

Outside of that experience I consider myself to be very fortunate and could easily see myself going with a "tender mercies" model. I believe that each of us are able to adopt the religious and theological models that more or less fit our lived experience. Another individual with a different lived experience might find more meaning and perhaps a better fit with a different model.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Daughter1
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Re: Your Answer May Come Right Away...

Post by Daughter1 » 15 Apr 2019, 21:58

Roy, I do not understand the pain you must feel from that loss. And what I am about to say is not meant to try to compare my experiences with yours. But I want to clarify that I do not always feel these nudges. When I do, they are not always related to what I am wanting or asking for. If you had asked me what I most wanted guidance and help on right after college, I would have had two answers (and each one took priority depending on the day.) I wanted to start a successful company. And I wanted to get married. All my friends were married or engaged. And the tender mercy I had sent me to a totally new city and state that I had never been to. Where I am very happy, still unmarried, employed at a massive firm, and able to afford to visit my best friend every couple years to spoil her children.

I love your use of "tender mercies." I do think that they are inconsistent in most everyone's lives. This is not to say that you ought to apply this model to your life - I only add this because I do not want to come across as if I believe they are the way God speaks to everyone or that every prayer will be supported by a tender mercy. They are given by God's will and that is beyond my comprehension to explain.
I don't think there could ever be just one single philosophy or one single religion. Since there are so many different types of people, with a range of tendencies and inclinations, it is quite fitting that there are differences between religions. And the fact that there are so many different descriptions of the religious path shows how rich religion is. - HH the XIV Dalai Lama

Roy
Posts: 5640
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Your Answer May Come Right Away...

Post by Roy » 18 Apr 2019, 14:35

Thank you D1,

I agree that blessings or tender mercies or "answers" are not formulaic or consistent. I believe that we give people a false sense of security and set them up for a hard fall when we teach otherwise.

I appreciate that our leaders are trying to lower our expectations in this area by saying things like "your answer may not come in this lifetime at all" or "You don't earn blessings [Answers]." or "The irrevocable law is time insensitive. If the desired blessing does not come soon, you do not need to drive yourself crazy wondering what more you can do."

We still believe that God will answer your prayers and will bless you for obeying His laws (What kind of religion would we be if we did not believe these things) but it may not happen in this lifetime.
Daughter1 wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 21:58
They are given by God's will and that is beyond my comprehension to explain.
Amen!
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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