How do I pray? Do I expect to ask God to give me things? Afterall, we have been promised, "Ask and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." These statements can be found in the New Testament in Luke 11, and Matthew 7, in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 14, and in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 4.
Notice the action words! Ask. Seek. Knock.
As I read Ether 6:4And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of afood, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and bwhatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.) my mind is alive with thoughts. I recognize many important lessons that I can learn from this account.
The brother of Jared had recently molten stones out of rock that the Lord willingly touched in order for the people to have light in their ships, but it didn't just happen. Time, thought, hard work, humility and faith were all part of the process.
- The brother of Jared didn't just find a pile of clear stones. He asked God in prayer what they should do so they wouldn't have to travel in darkness.
- Jesus answered by asking for a suggestion: "What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?" Ether 2:23
- After he worked to acquire these clear stones he prayed again. So humble and meek in the way he presented them, proposing that the Lord could touch them and by His power they would give light.
- He doesn't do everything for them.
- They are expected to gather and prepare food
- Gather animals; flocks and herds to take with them.
- They brought bees!
- They find and gather food for the animals.
- The build the ships.
- They have families with babies and children who need all of the special care children require.
My thoughts go to Noah in Genesis 7.
- He built the Ark- a huge ship that must carry his family and MANY animals.
- He worked hard to teach the people- who mocked him.
- He had a family
- Animals. He must have searched and worked and prayed in order to find and be certain that he had found all of the animals the Lord required him to bring. Yes, of course I believe that God could guide the animals to Noah. And that possibly happened to an extent. But, we know that The Lord usually expects us to work and gain experience.
And how about the "Fowls of the Air"? Even the birds who are provided for have to work.
- They get up early
- They search for what they need.
God loves us in a way we cannot comprehend. He wants us to have all that he has. He desires and has promised that He will open, find and give ALL.
How valuable, though, is an answer if we don't know the question? If a child didn't ask what is two plus two, does four mean anything to them?
Our questions are important to our Heavenly Father. How wonderful that we have scripture, personal revelation, a living prophet and apostles to guide us in finding the answers we seek. We can even ask Him what questions to ask. A few times I have received answers to my prayers while I'm praying, but more often the answers come later. The answers come while I read the scriptures, while I listen to the prophet speak or a talk from general conference. Most often, the answers come while I think about them, after I've read, listened to or studied. Sometimes the wait is long but waiting on the Lord is also an action word!