Monday, March 9, 2015

President's Weekly Letter #127

Answers to Prayer
“Each of us has problems that we cannot solve and weaknesses that we cannot conquer without reaching out though prayer to a higher source of strength.”  (James E. Faust, May 2002 p.59, Ensign)  I am convinced the power of prayer is real. 

A few years ago, we were gathering cows off the mountain range in the fall of the year.  Our range is so big that we cannot bring the cattle all the way home in one day, so we trail the cows down off the mountains and by late afternoon we leave them in Chalk Creek canyon below Copleys Camp Ground for the night.  There, Chalk Creek flows down the narrow canyon bottom and the canyon walls are steep on both sides.  It makes an ideal spot for the give-out cows to rest for the night with little risk of them wandering off.  If any do not have their calves they go back to the mountain top during the night to find and be with their calf.

It was late in the year and we had already gathered most of the cattle off the top and I needed to find 6 pair to finish up.  We found them along with several cows belonging to the other permittees.  During the cattle drive home I kept counting my cows to verify they had not slipped off the trail and disappeared.  I knew they were in the herd when we went past Copleys Camp ground.

The next morning by checking tracks, we knew no cows had gone back during the night.  We rode down Chalk Creek canyon gathering all the cows and calves from the night before and pushed them into the corral in the foot-hills at the mouth of the canyon.  I had 4 pair; 2 pair were missing.  The other cattlemen began loading their cattle in livestock trailers to haul them home.  I got on my horse and headed back up the canyon to find my missing cows.  I said a fervent prayer for help to find them, knowing if they were in the foot-hills, it could take weeks to get them.  I checked everywhere hoping we had just inadvertently rode past them earlier that morning; nothing.  Then I thought I heard a cow make quiet “moo” sound.  It could have been audible but was probably only in my mind.  I took that as a sign, tied up my horse and, on foot, began climbing the steep side hill. To my surprise the terrain opened up and leveled off slightly.  The two cows were standing there with their calves looking at me.  The place was impossible to see from the trail.  I thanked my Heavenly Father, walked up around them and booed them back down on the trail.  I then got on my horse and drove them to the corral, rejoicing in Christ’s promise, “Ask and ye shall receive.”  (Luke 11: 1-13)

I knew the God of this world could find those cows regardless of my poor efforts.  Nephi said the Holy Ghost will show you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:3)

“Your confidence and faith should be in Christ, not in yourself.  Rely on the spirit rather than your own talents and abilities.  Trust the Spirit to guide you in every aspect of you work.” (PMG p. 97) “God loves you and all His children.  He is anxious to support you in your practical and specific challenges.”  (PMG p. 89)

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  (Rev 3:20)

Joseph Smith received the plates on 22 Sept 1827 and by 12 April 1828 he had translated the Book of Lehi with the help of Martin Harris.  Martin lost 116 pages of the manuscript and the plates were subsequently taken away for a period of time and then later returned.  Persecution was intense so on 1 Dec 1828 Joseph and Emma moved to live with her parents in Harmony, Pennsylvania and later purchased a nearby home. 

On 5 April 1829, Oliver Cowdery arrived in Harmony to meet Joseph Smith.  He was born in 1806 in Vermont.  He had moved to Manchester, NY in 1826 to clerk in a store and teach school.  In those days part of the pay for teachers consisted of room and board on a rotation basis in the homes of students.  While staying with the Smith family he heard the whole story of the Golden Plates and Joseph Smith.  He was touched by the story and prayerfully could not let it go, so he traveled to Harmony to meet Joseph himself.  Oliver was convinced Joseph was a prophet, so 2 days later, Oliver started working as scribe while Joseph translated The Book of Mormon which was completed by June of that same year. The Lord revealed truths about prayer to Oliver regarding these events:

14 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
15 Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth;
16 Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart. (DC 6: 14-16)

2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.  (DC 8:2-3)

Your prayers are answered as often as you pray so have faith that just the way things work out are answers.  Plus, answers come as enlightenment. 

“When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you or sudden strokes of ideas; it is presented into your minds by the spirit of God.   If important some inspiration will come very direct and powerfully; clear, unmistakable and distinct impressions and promptings.”  (Elder Boyd K. Packer, p. 132, BofM Institute Student Manuel)

Satan does not know your thoughts.  Revelation is the spirit that tells you in your mind with thoughts and in your heart with feelings.  In this physical world you think of “telling” as audible sound in your ears, but the language of the spirit is thoughts and feelings.  You must be fluent in that language.  Enos said, “…the voice of the Lord came into my mind…”  I find it interesting that if you want to talk to God then you pray.  If you want God to talk to you, you must search for direction while answers generally come in a quiet way, more as a feeling than as a sound.  Reading scriptures, studying words of the prophets and meditation can be a great stimulation for receiving answers.
Answers sometimes do not come immediately, remember we are here on earth to: gain the experience and spiritual maturity that you can get in no other way, increase your faith in Him, grow, develop, apply truth, face challenges, resolve difficulties, etc.  You must show a willingness to obey or act consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation.  There is nothing about you that God does not know and He loves you.  He knows your every need and could, if He wanted, provide all answers and remove all of your challenges simply by your asking.  But you cannot grow without adversity.  For your own good, sometimes the answer may be to allow you to make correct choices, walking by faith, while He comforts and strengthens. 

Prayer must be based on personal righteousness, faith in Jesus Christ and your seeking for what is right in God’s judgment.

 “…for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26)

“Prayer is a Combination Lock…We would be very spoiled children if that vault door opened any more easily than it does.  Inventory the petitions He has refused to grant to you.  Your rejected petitions tell much about you.”  (Elder Neil L. Maxwell)

Frankly, we would never have adversity if all our prayers were granted immediately as we wished.  I am grateful that day on the mountain was a simple granting of a request.  I am also grateful for the principle of prayer.  I know He answers all prayers and that is a source of strength for me.

President Robinson

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