If we want something, and keep praying for it, does that become vain repetition?
What we came up with:
Vain repetitions are those things we say over and over "without real intent." We can pray for the health and well-being of our children if we really mean it and have a heartfelt desire for them to succeed.
It may also be vain if we don't actually expect to act upon the answer we receive. The Lord expects us to be "agents unto ourselves." Elder Scott said, "Most often what we have chosen to do is right." We need to trust ourselves to make those decisions and be open to the Lord changing that path as needed along the way. But still, we must act.
If we stop praying for something, is that then giving up on our faith?
What we discussed:
I posed the thought, "How do we know if what we're praying for isn't received because we don't have enough faith?" One friend answered, "It's pretty arrogant of us to think that we can control things that easily." That affected me strongly! It's true, right? If we think, "Oh, I just need a little more faith and then this will happen," may not be the right approach.
Yes, we do need to strengthen our faith. Every day we need to rely on our Father in Heaven and have Him as the central focus in our lives, but to expect that a little more faith will give us what we want may not be quite accurate. Sometimes we need the faith that things won't work out exactly as planned.
We must always be open to what the Lord needs to have happen in our lives so we can be molded and grow to be who He needs us to be. Sometimes when it seems our prayers are not being answers, maybe we need to change our prayers. Changing what we pray for is not giving up on our faith, it could be submitting more to His will.
What is the difference between telling the Lord vs. asking the Lord what you want?
"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good (Alma 37:37)." Counseling, to me, involves telling the Lord your deepest desires sometimes, asking Him questions and for direction sometimes, and listening ALL the time.
Feeling it in our Minds and in our Hearts
Elder Scott said, "When we receive an impression in our heart, we can use our mind either to rationalize it away or to accomplish it. Be careful what you do with an impression from the Lord." How do we know if it's wrong or if we're just rationalizing then?
Not all impressions we receive are going to feel good (take Nephi slaying Laban, for instance), but we will have peace, an assurance that what we are being asked to do is right. The adversary is always there to meddle with our minds and with our hearts, we must attune ourselves more closely with the Lord's voice. And this take practice. Lots of practice.
"When we seek inspiraton to help make decisions, the Lord gives gentle promptings. These require us to think, to exercise faith, to work, to struggle at times, and to act. Seldom does the whole answer...come all at once. More often, it comes a piece at a time, without the end in sight."