Monday, October 19, 2015
answers will come
Mike and I have been seeking an answer to something important, so when I heard Elder James B. Martino's talk at Conference entitled, "Turn to Him and Answers Will Come," my ears perked up. He begins by telling about his conversion. When he first read the Book of Mormon, he prayed to know if it was true, but because he was lacking real intent and was praying more out of curiosity, the answer did not come. So we must understand that if it is revelation we are seeking, we need to start with a sincere heart.
In the Book of Mormon, we can find the stories of two groups of brothers. Both groups were raised by righteous parents in the gospel and both rebelled. Their stories help to illustrate the advice of Elder Martino.
When wicked Laman and Lemuel were unable to understand the words of their father, prophet Lehi, they complained to their righteous brother, Nephi. Nephi asked them if they had prayed about it. Of course they hadn't. What Nephi says next is important. He says, "How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?--If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things [will] be made known unto you." (1 Nephi 15:10-11) I can't expect God to answer my prayers if I am not doing the things He has asked me to do. Keeping the commandments is key, and is the first thing Elder Martino tells us we must do.
Second is scripture study. The other group of brothers from the Book of Mormon that Elder Martino mentions are the sons of Mosiah. Unlike Laman and Lemuel, after they rebelled, they changed their ways and became incredible missionaries. But when they started their mission, things were not going well for them. The scriptures say that their "hearts were depressed, and [they] were about to turn back." (Alma 26:27) But why were these men able to continue in faith? Because they "had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God." (Alma 17:2) I know that if I study my scriptures everyday, I will be more open to revelation. Now that I don't have a smartphone anymore, I've been reading from my old paper scriptures. This has made a surprising difference in how well I am able to concentrate. I feel like I am really studying and not just reading.
Third is prayer and fasting. Not only were the sons of Mosiah studying their scriptures, but "they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore, they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation." (Alma 17:3) Elder Martino simply says, "Prayer and fasting will allow us to be susceptible to spiritual promptings. Communicating with Heavenly Father while abstaining from food and drink allows us to "loose the bands of wickedness and to undo the heavy burdens" (Isaiah 58:6), opening us up to promptings. I have seen this in my own life. When I add fasting to my prayers, I feel the answers come more easily.
Elder Martino says, "These personal religious habits--obedience, scripture study, prayer, and fasting--strengthened the sons of Mosiah. The lack of these same personal religious habits was a major reason that Laman and Lemuel were left vulnerable to the temptation to murmur and doubt."
I know that answers don't always come as an event. More often, they are a process. If I turn to Him by embracing these personal religious habits, then my faith will increase and the answers I am seeking will come. It has happened many times in my life and I know that it will continue.
Read, watch, or listen to the whole talk here.
posted by stephanie at 5:05 AM