Is a stupor of thought a reliable answer to a prayer?

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Is a stupor of thought a reliable answer to a prayer?

Post by SilentDawning » 12 Aug 2020, 08:00

I have been thinking about prayer a lot lately. Largely because I don't fall asleep as well as I used to. So I lie there, my mind unoccupied, and I revert to prayer to use the time effectively.

Another question I have about prayer is the "stupor of thought" angle. The D&C is unique in describing a stupor of thought as a means of determining if the thing you are praying for is wrong. You don't see this in the Bible that I am aware.

But is the stupor of thought a reliable means of determining if something is right or wrong? The stupor was described to me as my mind wandering from the thing I'm asking about by one scriptorian.

If you can accept this as the definiton of a stupor, then read on...

The reason I ask this is that I have been reading about meditation lately. And part of the goal of meditation is FOCUS. We tend not to focus our thoughts very well, diverting into tangents when in prayer. In meditation practice, the goal is to stay focused on a particular issue, or sometimes, even nothingness, for an extended period of time. The theory is that if you meditate long enough, being in control of your thoughts, you get inspiration.

So my question -- if based on writings about meditation it is our natural tendency is to wander in our thinking, how do we know if our wandering mind is a stupor of thought/answer to prayer, or if it's simply our lack of mental discipline? To me, these two are indistinguishable. Therefore, using the stupor of thought as an indicator of something being "wrong" doesn't seem like a reliable answer to prayer.

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Re: Is a stupor of thought a reliable answer to a prayer?

Post by Roy » 12 Aug 2020, 10:11

I had thought of the "stupor of thought" as more like nagging concerns or a sense of foreboding.

I view praying in this manner to help the individual to fully commit to the course of action that they had already determined. In many situations moving forward without second guessing yourself every moment would prove helpful.
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Re: Is a stupor of thought a reliable answer to a prayer?

Post by nibbler » 12 Aug 2020, 15:42

SilentDawning wrote:
12 Aug 2020, 08:00
The theory is that if you meditate long enough, being in control of your thoughts, you get inspiration.
I dunno. Sometimes spending a lot of time with an issue can be counterproductive. Like at work, when I get roadblocked I sometimes find benefit in stepping away from the issue and coming back to it later.

Just like with physical training, rest is a part of any training.

This probably goes back to the prayer threads, but I wonder whether there's a wrong way to meditate. For instance, I've used meditation as a rest/break from the things I typically think about as opposed to using meditation to hyper-concentrate on the things I typically think about. In those cases it's less about emptying the mind and more about filling it with something different to give my mind a break from the typical.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
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Re: Is a stupor of thought a reliable answer to a prayer?

Post by DarkJedi » 13 Aug 2020, 05:08

I can't say I've ever experienced what I would consider a stupor of thought. I used to struggle with the idea but since my ideas about what prayer is or should be changed/evolved it became more or less a moot point.

I also might point out that the stupor of thought mentioned in D&C was part of a specific revelation to a specific individual (Oliver Cowdery) who was attempting a specific task ("translating" the plates). I'm not sure it was meant to apply to all of us in all situations. It should also be noted that the revelation was part of a series of revelations to Oliver on the subject, and that Oliver failed in his attempt to translate despite the advice in the revelations.
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Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Re: Is a stupor of thought a reliable answer to a prayer?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Aug 2020, 16:37

It depends on how we define "stupor of thought", "reliable", and "prayer". ;) :P

I echo what Dark Jedi said, with one stronger statement:

Societies tend to emphasize what worked /works for someone and apply it to everyone. That is said in various ways by lots of people. In doing so, we tend to ignore all of the many scriptures that stress multiple "communication methods".

Personally, as an example, I believe and have said for decades that we lose a lot of likely converts when we tell them they will get a burning in the bosom if they pray about the Book of Mormon - when the book itself never says, implies, or even hints at that promise. Lots of people like what they read but don't get answers to prayers in that way. I know I don't.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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