Podcast!

So I have found it difficult to keep regular with posting on this blog, simply because I have been finding it difficult to study what I do and THEN find the time to type it up again so it can be published…

BUT

Recently I have found out about podcasts and fallen in love with them! So much so I have begun my own called LDS Study Session.
It’s not a professional, all-singing all-dancing podcast but a simple, bite-size, 10-15min clip each day (yes, each day and I’ve managed it for 82 consecutive days so far!) on things that I’ve been studying.
I draw heavily from Come Follow Me but there’s occasional looks at past General Conference talks, Book of Mormon sections or other topics that I’ve been studying.

Please join me daily on iTunes Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, Stitcher and Google Podcasts!

Search LDS Study Session in any of the platforms above and you should find me.

Elder and Sister Hafen Devotional

Well, my blog hasn’t been going that well recently but we recently did have the privilege of having Elder and Sister Hafen visit our Stake for a Devotional and they shared their presentation on ‘Faith is Not Blind’ and I was asked by another member who couldn’t attend to take notes. I did, and I figured I may as well share them here!

Elder Hafen

Concerned about use of the Internet and the way that answers are presented to people with bias and without context

  • Instead of letting surprises shake us, it is an opportunity for us to grow and strengthen our faith if we follow the Spirit This is a painting of Peter and John on the morning of the Resurrection
  • Women had visited the tomb of the Saviour and found it empty
  • They told the 11 remaining apostles – the scriptures state that they thought it was idle tales
  • John outruns Peter (in his account he seems to want to make sure we know this!) then waits for his senior companion to enter the tomb
  • The expression on their faces is similar to perhaps the father who took his son to be healed from the Saviour and exclaimed “…help thou mine unbelief”
  • Like Peter, John and the father of the ill son, there are reasons to seem perplexed today

Sister Hafen

Brother and Sister Hafen met in a class called ‘Your Religious Problems’

  • They would choose a religious issue (be it with Church History, Joseph Smith etc) and would discuss
  • Many, if not all the issues today, were around then but the major change is the Internet
    • A number of issues are portrayed and informed without context or wider circumstances
  • We, however, need to understand the ‘gap’ between the real and the ideal
  • When we are young, we often see things as black and white with no colour
    This ‘gap’ will be experienced in many of our lives

    • It may be when a parent/hero/leader has made a mistake
    • It may be when we feel a prayer has gone unanswered
    • It may be when we encounter questions about Church policy or history that are currently unanswerable for us

Example of their son’s mission

  • Many people believe that going on a mission places you in a situation where you are only experiencing the ideal
  • However, a mission is the battlefield of reality
  • Holiness does not remove us from reality

 

The ‘gap’ will stretch us – is this good or bad?

  • It can be good as it then allows us to grow and develop our understanding
  • It can be bad if we experience doubt and then don’t prayerfully seek for the answers
  • In society today we are led through a lot of uncertainty (link to Lehi’s dream and the mists of darkness)

 

Elder Hafen

He could not say in his farewell talk for his mission that he knew the Gospel was true

  • He experienced that gap and saw that there was understanding he didn’t have which kept him from the ideal
  • Over prayer and deep study this came over time

 

Stage 1 – Faith is innocent or untested

“I would not give a fig for the simplicity

[on] this side of complexity.

But I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of

complexity.”

-Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

 

Stage 2 – Complexity – a testing period, whether it’s a faith-based question, concern or a trying period in our lives

 

On an assignment, Elder Hafen went to the Utah State Prison to meet with a branch of inmates having their sacrament meeting, which was a testimony meeting

  • One inmate stood and explained how when she was younger, she would be the kid who went up every month and bore her testimony with great excitement
  • Now, she has gone through great extremities (her Stage 2) and has come out on the other side and truly experienced spiritual understanding (her Stage 3)

 

Stage 3 – Simplicity beyond complexity – we have been tested, held to the truths we knew before and emerged with a deeper understanding

  • Some may try to ignore reality to get through – but this is potentially damaging and can easily be shaken when further questions arise
  • Some may try to ignore or dismiss the ideal but then we become sceptical and cynical, something which can be equally damaging

 

Experience when training a new missionary companion

  • In the first couple of days, they had gone on exchanges and he returned very excited saying that he had found someone who was going to be baptised
  • Elder Hafen was very sceptical and asked where this person lived – they had not got their name or exact address but they knew that the person lived on the top floor of a certain apartment block
  • Not wanting to quash his enthusiasm – Elder Hafen hiked up and down for 2-3 hours with his companion but after this time suggested that they move on
  • His new companion looked with tears and earnestly said that he had felt the Spirit telling him that this person needed to be taught, was he saying they wouldn’t find her?
  • Still cynical, Elder Hafen continued with his companion – and near the end they found her…
  • A few days before this Devotional, Elder and Sister Hafen met 2 of her granddaughters, 1 of whom was about to receive their mission call

 

Sister Hafen

Stage 3

  • It isn’t blind obedience, but trusting obedience
  • Experience-based, informed faith that recognises the ideal and the real and the complexity
    • Then, it moves forward, prayerfully searching, but giving the benefit of the doubt to begin with

 

Holly’s story

  • She grew up in a ‘Mormon’ community – was very strong in the Gospel, completed the Personal Progress very quickly and so on
  • However, around the age of 18 she learnt about women’s role in the Priesthood and decided women should be able to hold the authority of the Priesthood, ultimately, she had her name removed from the Church
  • At University, her roommate started meeting with the missionaries and was challenged to pray for an answer
  • Holly heard this and decided she too would take the challenge to pray
  • When she opened her heart to Heavenly Father, her heart began to soften
  • She returned to previous spiritual habits but this time was doing them differently
  • She had experienced ‘closeness’ with God which helped her trust Him implicitly, which then allowed her to move into Stage 3
  • She is often asked about her thoughts about women and the Priesthood, she still recognises her ‘gap’ but she trusts Heavenly Father now, that He knows what He is doing

 

Elder Hafen

Matthias’s story

  • He went on a mission to England, was sealed to his wife, became a Bishop
  • As a Bishop, he was asked faith-based questions about issues he said he had never heard of before – he was concerned that he had never been told about these things, that he had been ‘living in a bubble’
  • Interestingly, his brother said he had heard them
  • With the great expansion of the Church across the Earth, there hasn’t been much focus on an advanced curriculum, rather a focus on translating and publishing clear doctrines
  • The Church has published resources that help members move to Stage 3, prayerfully being able to seek answers and context
    • Encyclopaedia of Mormonism
    • Saints Volume 1 (soon Volume 2 will be fully published)
    • Gospel Topic Essays

 

Sister Hafen

Key Principles

I – Invite Faithful Questions

We need to have faithful questions, people who have questions about the Gospel should not be made to feel bad for that

  • Great quote by JRR Tolkien, those who wander are not lost
  • We should not be living in a bubble
  • We cannot be close-minded
  • It is a choice to be believing – remember what you know as you go forward

 

II – Be cautious about the Internet’s weaknesses

Bloggers at either extremes may not be trustable sources

  • All websites will reflect a certain bias
  • Church scholarship is the best that it has ever been
  • Also need to remember that some discreditors of the Church are seeking to justify past choices they have made – if you do not keep the commandments as you search answers you won’t develop the ‘closeness’ mentioned before

 

III – Focus on the Restoration’s hugely positive doctrinal content

Imagine a golf course in the peaks of the Alps and you are searching for golf balls lost in the rough

  • You would be missing the scenic view
  • The doctrine of the Restoration is beautiful and positive
  • Should we exert all our efforts on certain details when we see the evident good?
  • Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t search but it shouldn’t take precedent over enjoying the view

 

Elder Hafen

IV – Cultivate an attitude of meekness

On his mission, they met a German couple

  • They were accepting and moving towards baptism
  • Then, they received a letter from a disapproving family member about how black members of the Church could not receive the priesthood
  • There was a gloomy spirit in the home when they next visited, they demanded an answer to the question
  • They turned to Acts 10 and the example of Cornelius and the change of ancient Church policy about teaching to the Gentiles, they then left them and invited them to pray
  • The couple prayed and fasted – the light returned to their hearts
  • They recontacted the missionaries and were baptised – they didn’t let what they didn’t know yet discolour what they knew before
    • Example of Nephi in 1 Nephi 11:16-17 – I know that He loveth His children, nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things

 

Some get stuck in complexity – it may seem more ‘real’ but we shouldn’t stay there or we will lose the hope of the Gospel

 

Adam and Eve example

  • Stage 1 – Garden of Eden – innocent, untested faith
  • Stage 2 – the Fall, mortal trials and sins of their children (Cain and so on)
  • Stage 3 – the angel asked ‘why dost thou offer sacrifices?’ – Adam’s response shows that he didn’t know but he was giving the Lord the benefit of the doubt and showing trusting obedience

 

Arise and run to Christ as did Peter and John

  • We are surrounded by complexity but the joy of the Gospel can ring true

 

Search ‘Faith is not Blind’ Podcasts and Facebook Groups for further interviews and information

Dedication of Zacharias

The account of Zacharias is inspiring. He and his wife, Elizabeth, prayed to have a son but their prayers were not answered and now they were old in years. We read in the New Testament:

And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,

According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. (Luke 1:8-9)

If we look into the scriptures (see 1 Chronicles 24:10, Nehemiah 12:4), we learn that Zacharias was of the tribe of Levi. In the Bible Dictionary we read:

The work of ministering in the sanctuary was assigned to this tribe. The Levites are sometimes spoken of as distinct from the priests (1 Kgs. 8:4Ezra 2:70John 1:19); sometimes as though all Levites were also priests, “the priests, the Levites”…

So from this we learn that Zacharias was tasked with working for the Lord in the temple and he must have shown some dedication in his life to this duty. If we are unsure of this we can read in Luke 1:6:

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and
ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Blameless – walking in all commandments. I think already we can take it that Zacharias was diligent in his priesthood duties. This is where we find Zacharias where he is visited by the Angel Gabriel and told of the miracle that was to take place. We know that he is told that his aged wife was to have a child called John. He finds this hard to believe and he is struck dumb for his unbelief.

We might be forgiven for thinking ill of Zacharias for this unbelief. Although, I’m not sure how I would feel if this were to happen to me. However, what stood out most to me was Zacharias’s reaction after this event. He has been visited by an angel, told his wife will now be pregnant with a miracle child, struck dumb as a sign of his unbelief and what does Zacharias do?

23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished,
he departed to his own house. (Luke 1:23)

If I were in Zacharias’s position I would return home. I would want to tell my family, find comfort from the fact that I could not speak and share what marvelous experience just happened to me. However, Zacharias stayed and completed his duty before he then departed to his own house. An example of dedication to the Lord, the Temple and his duty.

Trim Your Lamp

This is just the first in my planned weekly entry on one thing I have learnt in the Come Follow Me programme (although I didn’t post this last week due to things I needed to do with my calling).

In the first week we had a look at the Parable of the Ten Virgins.

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virginswhich took their lampsand went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (Matthew 25:1-2)

As a side note – I wondered if there was significance in the numbers, five wise and five foolish? We know that the kingdom of heaven on Earth is referring to the Lord’s Church. Does this indicate the proportion of the Lord’s kingdom who will be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord? Maybe, maybe not – but it did cause me to consider about my standing if I would be ready.

Anyway – the main thing that caught my eye was found in this verses:

And at midnight there was cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to
meet him.

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps(Matthew 25:6-7)

I’ve skimmed over these verses in the past and just presumed it referred to ensuring we are ready for the Saviour. However, the phrase ‘trimmed their lamps’ did make me wonder what this actually meant and what could we learn from the analogy.

So, a Google Search was in order. From the search I gathered this information:
This care involved trimming the wick, which drew the oil up from the storage reservoir, so that the flame would be clean and bright. Lamp trimmers also refilled the reservoirs, which held enough oil for several hours of burning, but not enough to start a major fire if the lamp were to be knocked down or damaged somehow.
A poorly trimmed wick creates a flame which is dim and smoky. A properly trimmed wick should come to a rounded point, or should be wedge shaped. When lit, the wick should burn cleanly all the way up to the highest flame it can make. (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamp_trimmer)

This explanation was illuminating! We know that there are reasons for why the Master Teacher would use certain analogies and whilst the Parable of the Ten Virgins is a lesson in preparing for the Second Coming, there is reference here to light and tending to that light in our own souls..

We tend to our own ‘lights’ by:

  1. Trimming our lamps – in order to have the clearest light in our testimonies, we would need to work at ‘trimming’ our lamps. One way we do this may be ensuring we live worthy to have the presence of the Spirit in our hearts. We must ensure we are ready to receive the good things which light the candle of testimony in our hearts.
  2. Pouring oil into the lamp – when we are ready to receive the fuel, we then study, pray, partake of the sacrament to fuel the flame of testimony in our hearts.

As I studied this analogy, I couldn’t help marveling at the layers that were there within it. We can then link this in with Christ being the Light of the World – but that can be one for a future post. I can’t wait to continue studying the New Testament this year in the Come Follow Me programme.

Walking with the Saviour

In a sacrament meeting talk recently I was drawn again to the story of the Saviour walking on the water toward His disciples. In this experience, a number of lessons were highlighted and things that can be likened to our experience when out in this voyage called mortality.

The disciples had been sent on by the Saviour whilst He went alone to pray. I imagine that the Saviour in order to fulfill His ministry required close communion with His Father in Heaven. Meanwhile, the disciples were running into a little trouble:
“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was
contrary.” (Matthew 14:24)

Straightaway we see a parallel with our lives today. Often, we will feel in the midst of the sea in our day-to-day lives. Sometimes we drift peacefully along with the swells and current, moving towards our destination. At others, we will wash up at the end of the day and wonder what on earth happened in the past 15 hours or more! Sometimes the wind is pleasant, at others it can certainly be contrary!

“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a
spirit; and they cried out for fear.” (Matthew 14:25-26)

In the past I have been surprised that the disciples’ reaction was one of fear. However, it makes sense when you understand that ‘the fourth watch of the night’ is between 3am-6am. It is the dead of night, they are battling against contrary winds and suddenly they see a figure approaching them on the water they are fighting so hard to steer through. Their fear is understandable, but the Saviour soon puts them at ease.

“But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheerit is I; be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the
water.” (Matthew 14:27-28)

Peter’s reaction is very interesting. For many people, they may be in that scenario and invite the Saviour to enter the boat with them. They may call out to their friend and ask Him to join them. However, Peter calls out to the Saviour and asks if he can join Him on the tempestuous waters. I find this fascinating. There could be two possible reasons. The first is that he wanted to perform the same miracle that the Saviour was manifesting. I doubt this but it is a possibility. The other reason (and the more likely one in my opinion) is that he wanted to be where the Saviour was and walk with Him. Imagine wanting to leave the safety of the boat and wanting to step out into the murky unknown. However again we can see the similarities in our life. We often will need to take leaps of faith towards the Saviour but He always is there to invite us. 

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the
water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraidand beginning to sink, he cried,
saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O
thou of little faithwherefore didst thou doubt(Matthew 14:29-31)

Our Saviour is always there. As soon as we begin to doubt or we fall short, His hand will always be there as a constant support to us if we will reach back and accept His help. The parallels are clear in this instance.

This experience has so many lessons contained in it that we can learn a lot. As we move into 2019 and focus on the stories of the Saviour’s life, I look forward to looking more deeply into these stories and accounts to learn more.

From Small Things…

I was visiting my wife’s work recently where I was learning remarkable facts about the world around us. I’m not a huge fan of animal attractions but my kids love it and my wife loves learning about animals and it’s a good day out so I was going along. However there was something that caught my eye that I thought was incredible.

At her work, they have Japanese Spider Crabs – which in themselves are pretty incredible. 

IMG_20181222_153740615

The size that these animals grow to is pretty impressive but it wasn’t this that impressed me the most! It was this fact:

IMG_20181222_153749164

I found this fascinating! This huge creature started life as a creature that wouldn’t be able to be seen as a baby!

It made me think of other things that begin very small but then become great things – particularly in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For a start, we are taught that it is through small and simple things that great things happen in the work of the Lord. We read in Alma 37:6-7

“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”

Perhaps another example that applies even more if the teaching on faith by the Saviour. He taught that faith as small as the mustard seed can become strong. 

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20)

When you think of the actual growth that the Japanese Spider Crab makes in relation to the size it begins, that in itself is a miracle. This can be an example of how the small, minute amount of faith that we have can have an incredible impact.

One final example of the miracle of the Spider Crab can be related is how the mustard seed itself grows impossibly tall compared to the size of it’s seed. Christ again teaches this in a parable, which he explains that he does so that those who are listening to learn may learn and understand more clearly. He taught about the mustard seed:

“…The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” (Matthew 13:31-32)

If this parable is to be understood, we could also liken the kingdom of God to an infant Japanese Spider Crab. It begins very small, microscopic by some measurements. Then, it grows and grows beyond all possible comprehension due to the size it began. It’s amazing when you consider the world around us and how all of God’s creations are intertwined, link and testify of one another.

The Soul’s Sincere Desire

In D&C 10:5 it reads:

Pray‍ always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape‍ the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.

Sister Carol F. McConkie of the Young Women General Presidency gave a talk which was entitiled ‘The Soul’s Sincere Desire’. We know that in order to truly hone our desires, in order to come closer to the Lord and ultimately overcome Satan and his temptations we must call upon the powers of heaven to support us – we must pray.

Prayer is, I feel, one of the simplest principles we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, however it is one that is understood or utilised the least. I feel this at least in my own life. Whilst I do pray on a daily basis, my prayers do not contain or produce the power that they should.

Sister McConkie made the blessings of powerful prayer clear when she said:

“For us, miraculous healing, powerful protection, divine knowledge, liberating forgiveness, and precious peace are among the answers that come when we offer up a “soul’s sincere desire” in faith.” Can you say that your prayers offer the blessings listed here as much as they should or could? I know we all will be at different stages in the power of our personal prayers but we must all progress.

What is Prayer?

The key to starting this progress is to ask the very basic question – what is prayer? This is something that already we can easily misunderstand. Whilst it is indeed an opportunity to commune with and interact with our Heavenly Father, prayer is so much more.

Prayer is a miraculous gift. We have been sent to Earth to live by faith and yet we have been provided with something so precious as it allows us to contact the Being who allowed us to come here. However, there are some very important things to remember with prayer. Prayers are not an opportunity to place an order and accept things instantly. To begin with, a look in the Bible Dictionary will tell us “Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” Prayer is the means by which we can come closer to God and, as such, bring our will closer to His. We can ask for blessings and if we receive that blessing, it is because the Lord is willing to give it to us and would have if we asked.

This is why it is vital we remember prayer as being a two-way communication. If you wanted to have a conversation with me, you would not approach me, list a number of thoughts and questions you had and then leave without me responding. Then why are we so easy or willing to have this kind of conversation with Heavenly Father?

I don’t think we do this on purpose – perhaps we are unused to talking with the Lord in a way that we speak to him and converse with Him?

Thinking about this – I was visiting a ward recently to speak in on Sunday and a sister missionary spoke before me. She spoke of prayer and an experience she had over Christmas. All the missionaries were invited on Christmas Day to engage in a 45 minute prayer. As this daunting task lay before her, she planned what she would discuss with her Heavenly Father and was able to pause for answers. This illuminated me. In all my years of, quite frankly, failing to consistently hold meaningful prayers I had never thought of this! Actually sitting down and planning what I would discuss in my prayers. I am a very methodical person so I decided to give this a go. As I planned the prayer then called to Heavenly Father, three amazing things happened:

  1. Before I even started the prayer, I found that through the day I was picking things up or noticing things I wanted to talk to my Heavenly Father about – things that I would have forgotten about at the ridiculous hour at which I go to sleep when saying my closing prayer for the day
  2. My prayer was a lot more focused. As I had prepared prayerfully the things I would discuss, I found that I was able to form more coherent thoughts which led to a more effective discussion
  3. I wanted answers. Because I had clear things to discuss, I was more eager to listen to the Spirit for answers Heavenly Father had for me so I waited for them. Then, when I received answers, I wanted to explore those answers more in detail because I had a clearer purpose to my prayer rather than just saying my prayers because I should say my prayers!

Our Desire’s Answer

As you pray with more power, you will find your soul’s sincere desires addressed more by Heavenly Father. Sister McConkie talked about a parable that Christ gave – she said:

He told of a judge who did not honor God and did not have any regard for mankind. Repeatedly, a widow came before him, pleading to be avenged of her adversary. For a while, the judge would offer her no relief. But as a result of her faithful, consistent pleading, the judge finally thought, “Because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”

Then Jesus explained:

“Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him … ?

In other words, if we ask a mortal person repeatedly about something they will probably answer eventually because we are pestering them. So then, our Heavenly Father, who loves us dearly, will surely hear out prayers and answer them because He loves us with a perfect love. He knows the sincere desires of our soul and when we call upon His name, He will be able to help us.

The Best Gifts

However, this promise does come with a clear condition. If we pray with a sincere desire Heavenly Father will hear and answer our prayers. It does not mean that we govern His answer. Our Heavenly Father will always bless us with what we NEED, not necessarily what we WANT – and very often those two things are different.

Sometimes, this outcome of prayer is difficult to understand. We must remember the words of Isaiah in of my favourite verses which reads:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Even if we know and understand this principle, it is not easy. The most asked question I had on my mission was not about plural marriage or tithing, but it was an honest question which more people have than you might think. The question was this – “If God was really there, why does he let bad things happen to this person who is a really good person?”

A while ago we were teaching prayer in our Family Home Evening and we were considering how we could get across to our 4 year old son that we should pray to Heavenly Father for help but sometimes He will know how best to help us even if we want something a lot. We came across this analogy which I really liked:

It was Saturday morning, and father was home. He had brought some work from the office to complete and went into the study to be alone.

(1) Soon his little daughter came into the room crying. Someone had broken her new doll. Her father told her not to worry: he would fix her doll. She thanked her father and ran happily back to play.

(2) Next his son came in. He asked his father for money to buy a new model boat to take sailing with his friends. His father took time to explain that the boy had already received his weekly allowance two days ago with the understanding that it was to take care of such things.

(3) His teenage daughter came in next. She wanted a new dress for the coming dance. Her father told her that she would have to wait. He told her that if she saved as much as she could herself, he would help her buy the new dress.

(4) His teenage son interrupted the father next. The son was doing his homework and needed help with a problem. His father gave him some suggestions, but did not work the problem for him. A few minutes later, his son returned to say, “Thank you for the idea you gave me. It worked!”

(5) Finally, the youngest child came in. His father looked down at the boy and asked kindly, “What do you want, son?” “I don’t want anything,” the little boy answered as he reached his arms around his father’s neck and kissed him. “I just wanted to be with you.”

I loved this. I wish I knew this story when I was on my mission. This story breaks down various glorious understanding as to why we have different answers to prayers as a witness to how a loving father works – and it is the same with our loving Heavenly Father.

For (1) the child was ready to receive and the father listened, intervened and supported the children. In this instance, the child does need that help but cannot help themselves and so the father listens and acts.

For (2) the child had to understand responsibility. They were listened to but did not get the response they wanted. If they were to receive it they would quickly become spoiled and presume to receive things whenever they wish. They had to learn to do without the thing they didn’t really need.

For (3) the child again was listened to by this loving parent. This was a blessing that was required, but this child had means wherewith they could contribute. It would be foolish of the parent to give the money or the blessing in full instantly – what would the child learn? They had to put the work in beforehand and the father would make up the rest.

For (4) the child had to work out the answer themselves. If they were given the answer they would not grow or develop. The loving parent listened and gave suggestions but then let the child go away and work it out. As a result, the child was so grateful to the parent and had developed.

For (5) the child clearly loved their father. They only wanted to interact to say how much they loved their parent and were grateful for all he had done for them. I’m sure Heavenly Father would love to receive more prayers like this!

Sister McConkie added this in her remarks: The answers we receive in prayer may not be what we would desire. But in times of trouble, our prayers become a lifeline of love and tender mercy.”

“He does not want us to suffer longer or endure more trials than needed. He does want us to turn to Him and allow Him to ease our burdens, to heal our hearts, and to cleanse our souls through His purifying power.”