Viewpoint: “Counsel with the Lord in All Thy Doings”

Contributed By the Church News

  • 22 February 2015

“Please notice the requirement to ask in faith, which I understand to mean the necessity to not only express but to do, the dual obligation to both plead and to perform, the requirement to communicate and to act.”

Article Highlights

  • A sincere prayer of faith requires not only pleading but also performance. There must be a willingness to act on the answer given.
  • Through sincere prayer, God can help an individual through any trial, from the toughest of times to minor inconveniences.

“The object of our prayers should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests but to secure for ourselves, and for others, blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing.” —Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve

It was a small hose attached to a vehicle’s engine. Over time, the hose had become brittle, had split, and had caused the motor to malfunction.

The car was not new. The family could not easily afford a new vehicle and did all they could to maintain and repair the car so it would last as long as possible.

Seemingly overnight, the car developed a problem. The father spent a number of hours over several days trying to correct the problem to no avail. He used the Internet and searched for solutions, but nothing obvious was found.

The family took the car to a good and trusted mechanic who found several potential causes and made repairs. The mechanic’s cost, which was a budgeted expense, corrected some of the problem, but not all. The car continued to have problems.

The husband again researched the issue and asked mechanically inclined friends for advice. Nothing they tried fixed the problem.

The father, troubled after months of finding no solution and unable to afford a new car, was thumbing through the April 2008 general conference talks in the Ensign magazine.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles talked of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s prayer and said, “Please notice the requirement to ask in faith, which I understand to mean the necessity to not only express but to do, the dual obligation to both plead and to perform, the requirement to communicate and to act.”

The father realized that he had not taken his car problem to Heavenly Father. He had studied and consulted with trusted mechanics and done all he could do—except ask in faith that Heavenly Father might intervene. Following his prayer, the father felt the need again to search the Internet and felt impressed to add a few additional descriptive words. A possible solution, not displayed before, was found.

Armed with this insight, he purchased an inexpensive part and started to install it. In the process, he bumped a rather nondescript hose and it fell off. Inspecting the hose, he found it very brittle and that it had cracked with age. The damage to the hose was not obvious. The hose had not been inspected because it wasn’t part of any critical engine function that, according to the mechanic, related to the car’s problem.

Yet with the defective hose replaced, the problem went away. Doing further research, the owner found an obscure reference that this defective part could under certain circumstances cause the vehicle’s problem. It wasn’t obvious to anyone, but Heavenly Father knew. The prompting wasn’t to go fix the bad hose but to replace another inexpensive part (which also needed replacing due to age) and, in so doing, the defective hose was found.

Elder Bednar said, in his conference address, “Asking in faith requires honesty, effort, commitment, and persistence.”

Heavenly Father teaches us how to ask for help in Doctrine and Covenants section 9. In verse 7 He tells us we cannot just ask. The caution is, “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.” In other words, just asking is not enough.

Verse 8 teaches that “you must study it out in your mind”—in other words, do our research, seek expertise, make an effort, and even study different solutions and then ask. The scripture continues: “And if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”

The Father’s promise is conditional, but absolute. When we do our part, He will respond, and if our solution is correct, we “shall feel that it is right.” Heavenly Father did not say He would answer “sometimes” or “when convenient” or “if He has time.” He is there to help when we do our part.

But what about other challenges in life? Certainly a broken vehicle, while important to a family, pales in comparison to having a life-threatening medical problem or anger between a parent and child that threatens spiritual well-being.

Troubling to a parent is a daughter using drugs, suffering depression, or having morality challenges, or a grown son who has lost his testimony and no longer lives in harmony with his temple covenants and Church standards.

As with temporal challenges, the counsel remains that we should do all we can do and then ask our Heavenly Father, in faith, for guidance. The answer to our pleading may be the softening of a heart, a change in behavior, guidance in finding a solution, or simply strength to accept what we cannot change.

Elder Bednar said, “The object of our prayers should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests but to secure for ourselves, and for others, blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing. Every sincere prayer is heard and answered by our Heavenly Father, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate.”

Life, as is often the case with things like cars, is very complex. It is difficult for the most experienced mechanic to understand every interaction of every moving part in an engine. Likewise, challenges in families are perplexing, and experienced counselors and therapists can lead one in many directions unless guided to a particular solution through sincere prayer.

There is only one source of complete understanding, our Heavenly Father. No matter the problem, He does understand the cause, and He will answer our prayers.

Our conduit to our Heavenly Father is through prayer. “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (Alma 37:37).