Serving in the Mexico Mérida Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, June 2, 2014

Receiving Answers to Prayer

México Mérida Temple
Hello Beloved Family,

GUESS WHAT?!?!?!?!?!? PRESIDENTE CHANGED THE RULES SO WE CAN GO TO THE TEMPLE WITH OUR INVESTIGATORS!! AHHHHH!!  Sister De Leon and I just about died in happiness. That has been my secret dream ever since I got here. Heavenly Father loves me.

My letter this week is some thoughts I put together about how to receive answers to prayer. I’ll write a newsier, less-preach-ier letter next week, I promise.

Receiving Answers to Prayer
I’ve noticed that my ability to receive answers to prayers actually depends a lot more on how and what I ask.

First of all, we have to ask, and we have to ask specifically. There are tons of blessings Heavenly Father wants to give us, but that He can'’ give us until we specifically ask for them, because to give them to us without our will would be a denial of our agency. We have to specifically demonstrate our will by specifically asking for them. D&C 46:30. Basically we are putting our will in line with His (I think that’s the definition of prayer, actually.).
Usually, the 'will' of Heavenly Father has to do with you being given greater capacity to do something, not dumping blessings on other people’s heads. (Example: “Please bless the homeless and the needy” vs “Help me find people who need help, and inspire me of how to help them.” D&C 46:28 and 30. D&C 11:13.

I think the reason we need to ask like that is because He can’t infringe on other people’s agency. He can’t give other people things they haven’t asked for or make them change in the way you want, but if YOU are willing (Alma 34:28), He can use you as an instrument (Mosiah 23:10, Alma 34:28).  Instead of praying that other people will change, pray to be made an instrument to help them change-- the Lord can’t force them to soften their heart, but through the things He inspires you to say you can you can be the tool He uses to soften their heart. This type of asking requires that you have to GO and DO the thing you need help with, go TALK to the person you want to change, go STUDY the thing you want to understand and He will take those efforts and make you better (2 Ne 32:9. 2 Ne 33:4).

To receive answers we have to pray in Faith. (D&C 42:14). What does it mean to pray in faith?
To me, faith means...
1. Asking for specific things. There is much greater risk in asking for something specific, so sometimes we’re afraid to do it.  When I ask for general things, Heavenly Father does give me what I ask for, but the answers are general so I don’t recognize them.

For example, general petitions:
-Please give me patience
-Help me to understand the scriptures
-Bless my family
-Help us baptize every week
-Help me be an effective missionary

And more specific petitions for the same ideas:
-When my companion takes forever to do nightly planning, help me to not get irritated.
-Why was it okay for Nephi to kill Laban if that’s against the commandments?
-Help Dad to not get overwhelmed or discouraged in His new calling.
-Tomorrow in our weekly planning, please give us good ideas when we brainstorm about what we can start doing to baptize every week.
-Help me make a good impression on this person so they’ll listen to my advice.

Asking for specific things helps us to be able to receive the specific answers we’re looking for, which is point number two.

2. It takes faith to look for specific answers. If we’re really convinced God is going to answer our prayers, we will be looking out all day watching for how He’s going to answer them.

How do I receive answers?
Sometimes it’s while I’m on my knees, if I stop to think about the problem again or assess how I feel about something. More often than not, the answer comes through very clear and direct thoughts than through feelings.
Lots of times, though, the answer comes during morning study-- through SEARCHING and also EXPLORING the scriptures. Sometimes it’s revealed little by little throughout the week. Sometimes it’s as I’m talking to someone and I’m inspired of what to say, or they say something inspired to me. Sometimes really good ideas come to my head as I’m planning something.
Sometimes, if I’m asking for inspiration to make a decision, (like hoping for a confirmation of something I’ve decided), Heavenly Father doesn’t always give me an answer. I’ve realized that wanting Him to tell me the right answer in every decision is a little like having someone give me all the answers on a homework assignment. I don’t learn anything! I’ve realized we’re here to make errors, too. Sometimes we learn more from errors than we would if He had made the right decision in the first place.

It takes faith to be patient waiting for answers. The counsel is to knock (3 Ne 14:7-8). But nobody opens their door instantaneously! (especially in Mexico.) We have to trust that if Heavenly Father promised us He’s going to open the door, He will. We just can’t walk away before He does it.

3) After we’ve watched for and received answers, it takes faith to recognize (or admit) that the answer came from Heavenly Father. That is gratitude. D&C 46:32. If we never acknowledge and thank Heavenly Father for the specific blessings we asked for and then received, He’ll probably stop helping us.
Thank you, by the way, for all of the people that pray for the missionaries. Maybe that is why the missionaries are so powerful is because there are so many good people praying for them.

Love you all muchisimo.
Hermana Ludlam

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