Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thoughts from "Increase in Learning" by David A. Bednar--Part 3

Sorry that this took a couple extra days! Oddly, it is shorter than the other parts of this particular series.

Chapter 3: Prayerful Inquiry: Asking, Seeking, and Knocking

"...note the requirement to ask in faith--which I understand to mean the necessity not only to express but to do, the dual obligation both to plead and to perform, the requirement to communicate and to act."--P.106

This is one of my favorite ideas that Elder Bednar pushes. This has been expressed before in his conference talk, “Ask in Faith” from April 2008. Living our prayers is what I like to call this. This idea is brought up in Alma 34:28 after Amulek talks about what we should pray for and how often we should pray, he says “do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.”

"Action alone is not faith in the Savior, but acting in accordance with correct principles is a central component of faith."--P.109

Great clarification on “what is faith?” I had a friend in my singles ward several years ago that asked me, “What question would you ask a General Authority if you could ask them anything?” I wasn’t sure, too many things to ask. He said that he would ask, “What is faith?” Not because he didn’t have a good idea of what faith was, but because faith can be approached from so many different angles and can be split into different categories and even levels (Elder Lund wrote an interesting article about seven levels of faith taught in the scriptures--I’m not sure this is available for free online, but I’ll look) that he wanted a straight, simple answer. I think Elder Bednar shows that there is more to faith than originally meets the eye. Perhaps faith is just a very encompassing word to cover quite a bit.

"The object of our prayerful inquiry should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests or demands, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing."--P.112

This helps me to look at prayer in it’s proper light. I have no problem expressing gratitude in prayer and have no problem understanding why we need to express gratitude to God in prayer, but sometimes I forget that we are seeking to secure blessings that God wants to give us, according to HIS will and HIS timing, and not just asking for those things that we think are things we need or that others need. The Spirit can and will prompt us to ask for those things which God seeks to bless us with if we listen.