Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Ask, and it shall be given you"

As full-time missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we spend two hours each morning studying the scriptures and becoming better acquainted with the life, and gospel of Jesus Christ. At the beginning of each study session we say a prayer asking for the Spirit to help us understand the things we are going to be studying, and then we begin reading whatever it is we need to study for those we are teaching. Doing that day after day, a person starts to develop certain study habits and techniques. One habit that I have developed

over the past 20 months is a color coded marking scheme. I mark different scriptures with different colors based on what each scripture is talking about. For instance, commandments and other things the scriptures tell us to do I mark in green, and the associated promised blessings are marked in blue. I have this really shnazzy marking pencil that I use, and have used almost every single morning of my mission. It's like a big mechanical pencil that holds 8 different colored led inserts. You just turn the end and click the button and you have a different color. Well, about six months ago, while serving in Arlington, I lost my marking pencil. It shouldn't have been a big deal, but for some reason it made it really hard for me to study. I tried using regular colored pencils, but it just wasn't the same. This went on for a few days and I was pretty bummed that I couldn't find it. It's kind of funny how something so small and seemingly insignificant can make that much of a difference.

One morning as I was praying to start my studies I decided to ask God if he could help me find my marking pencil. As soon as I asked for help finding my pencil, I had a distinct impression saying "the marking pencil is behind your desk". My first thought was "I already looked behind my desk" but I decided to check anyways. Sure enough, there was my marking pencil, down on the floor in between my desk and the wall. Now, I already believed that God answers prayers, He has answered my prayers many times before that. But it was amazing to me that God would care enough to help me find something as simple as a pencil. It strengthened my testimony that He is indeed our Father in Heaven, and that He loves us and wants us to be happy. I could have survived without that marking pencil, and in a week or two I would have been totally over it and on to a new marking system, but I think that God wanted to take a chance to reach out, and to show me that He is there. In Matthew 7:7-8 we read:
"7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
God wants to answer us, to show us that He is there, but it is up to us to reach out to Him. He has given us our agency, or our free will, and he won't take that away by reaching out to us when we don't want, or aren't ready, to receive Him. Some of you may feel that you have reached out to Him and he hasn't answered. In 2 Nephi 4:35 we read:
"Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss..." 
Sometime we pray for things that we don't need, but that we want. Or things that we feel we need but really don't. When we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, we pray as Christ himself would pray. In other words, we should be praying with a "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" attitude (Luke 22:42). Be patient with your prayers, and be humble enough to recognize that God knows best. He will answer you, but it will be in His own way and in His own time. God is the author of this great plan. He knows each and every one of us, and what we are going through. He loves us and cares about everything in our lives, even things as insignificant as a pencil. Turn to Him with any and all of your troubles, seek His counsel, and if you watch and listen carefully, you will see His hand in the everyday details of your life.