Post Updates

From time to time, I’ll revisit prior posts and add additional thoughts and clarifications. So, you may find value in re-reading an older post.

I am not a professional writer or blogger. Furthermore, I will never allow advertising on this site.

I created this site purely out of my motivation to share the gospel–my way of making a difference in the world. 🙂

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Part VI: Recognizing answers to your prayers

This is Part VI on a series about recognizing answers to prayers.

Although prayer seems like such a simple thing, your salvation depends upon it.

If you don’t pray, you can’t repent. If you don’t repent, your heart will never change. If that doesn’t happen, you cannot be saved.

Everything rests upon prayer. Salvation is a very personal thing. It involves you, your Heavenly Father, and your Savior, Jesus Christ.

“You can’t bring your will in alignment with God’s will if you never speak to Him.”

Everything that I will ever write about in a subsequent post depends upon prayer. You have to pray to Him to know that the things that I share with you are true. HE is the truth. The things that I share are HIS truth–not my truth. If you want to know the truth, ask HIM.

Next, we’ll discuss commandments, then priesthood, then prophets, and the scriptures. Eventually, we’ll get to latter-day prophets and the restored church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Always remember, you are a Child of God. He loves you. He is the source of all truth. He can reveal to you what is true if you seek his counsel, in humility, through prayer.

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Part V: Recognizing answers to your prayers

This is Part V of a series on recognizing answers to your own prayers.

Sometimes, you may not receive an answer “because you already made-up your mind”. Why should God tell you what to do, if you’ve already decided what you are going to do? What benefit is that?

When you pray, you should have an open mind…. You should be trying to align your will with God’s will. This takes humility–to recognize that His wisdom is greater than yours. He is God. He sees the grand perspective of all things. If you pray thinking that you’re smart than Him, thinking that you know what is best, you’re not going to get an answer. What would be the point?

In other instances, you may not get an answer because “You already know the answer.” If you’ve received an answer once already and you were prompted to do something, and you did not act on it, why should the “next step” be revealed to you? If you didn’t follow the first step, why should God show you the next step? What would be the point?

If you’re having a really hard time recognizing answers to your prayers about the BIG QUESTIONS, I would recommend doing the following:

Say a prayer. In your prayer, tell your Heavenly Father that you’re having a difficult time recognizing answers. Ask Him to help you learn how to recognize answers.

The Holy Ghost testifies of truth. All truth. Always. All the time. Therefore….

“Ask God a question to which you already know the truth.”

Then, listen for an answer.

Ask a Yes/No question, any question, to which you already know the answer. As you kneel and wait for an answer, compare, how you feel when you ask God, “Is this a ‘Yes’ answer?” or “Is this a ‘No’ answer?”

What thoughts come to your mind? Are they positive? Are they negative? Ask multiple times. Compare the difference. What do you feel? Do you feel positive or negative? Compare the difference.

The main point is this:

“If you can learn to recognize the answer to something that you know is true, then you can learn how to recognize an answer to something that you don’t know is true.”

Yes, you can ask God’s help for anything–even to learn how to recognize answers to prayers.

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Part IV: Recognizing answers to your prayers

This is Part IV of a series on recognizing answers to prayers.

Answers may not come the way you expect. You may be expecting to feel the Holy Ghost. You certainly may. You will feel the Holy Ghost when you need answers to the BIG QUESTIONS. However, when you’re looking for answers to day-to-day problems, they may come in other, unexpected forms.

Let’s imagine that you’re washing machine is broken, it’s the end of the month, you’re strapped for cash, you lost your wallet, and you have dirty clothes piling-up. Would praying for clean clothes help? Will an angel come down from heaven and wash your clothes for you? Of course not.

Although this may seem like a minor incident of no significance….

“If something is important to you, it is important to God.”

If you pray for help to get your clothes clean, you may get an answer, but it may be in a way that you didn’t expect. For instance….

  • You may be inspired to ask a family member (if they live nearby) to let you use their washing machine.
  • You may be inspired to ask a neighbor if they know how to fix washing machines.
  • You may be inspired to watch a YouTube video on how to fix washing machines.
  • You may be inspired to check the classified for someone who is offering a free washing machine.
  • You may be inspired to go to a garage sale to find a used washing machine that will get you by for a while.
  • You may be inspired to check your couches for change so you can go to the laundromat.
  • You may be inspired to take a leap of faith: Take your dirty laundry to the laundromat without any money–and you’ll find some there who will give you the money you need.

Sometimes, you’ll have promptings to do extreme things…. Here’s one example.

My parents had a neighbor who lost his job. He sent out several resumes for several weeks and received no responses.

He and his wife prayed and felt very strongly that they needed to sell their house. They did. They sold their house, packed a moving van, and were sitting in their driveway–not knowing where to drive.

Then, the phone call came….

He was offered a new, out-of-state job right over the phone. Their prayers were answered. They took a giant leap of faith though. Faith proceeds the miracle.

“God doesn’t guide our steps until we start walking.”

Here’s another example. My cousin was in a terrible car accident. He was in critical condition. My uncle, who is agnostic, prayed for the first time in his life that God would let his son live.

He died the next day.

Sometimes, death is an answer to prayer. The pain and suffering that my cousin experienced as a result of his injuries was over.

Of course, this was not the answer that my uncle wanted. Heavenly Father knew, however, that was best.

In another post, I’ll cover “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” But, there’s a lot more important things to cover before we get to that.

While seeking answers to your own prayers, please also recognize that YOU can be the answer to someone else’s prayer. God has angels in heaven do His work. While we are being tested down here, on earth, we are to be his angels. We are to come to the need of our fellow brothers and sister in need. We are to help one another–and in some cases be the answer to someone else’s prayer.

If you serve Him, by answering the prayers of your fellow brothers and sisters, you’re more likely to get answers when you need help.

Jesus was the perfect example He spend his life serving us: his fellow brothers and sisters. The same is expected of us.

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Part III: Recognizing answers to your prayers

This is Part III of a series on recognizing answers to your prayers.

When you pray, pray for the right purpose. The purpose of prayer is not to state a laundry list or “Wish List” of things you want. To the contrary, the purpose of prayer is to align Your Will with God’s Will.

If your heart is right, you pray with humility. You recognize that you are speaking to deity. You are speaking to royalty. You are speaking to someone who already sees right through you–faults and all.

If you approach prayer the right way, IT CHANGES YOU. You come to understand what your Heavenly Father wants for you and what He wants you to do. God does not change his plan for you. You change.

You may be inspired to give-up a bad habit. You may be inspired to call a friend. You may be inspired to give-up some of the time you waste on social media making “fake friends”.

If you’re praying to “know what God wants you to do”, you’re much more likely to get the answers you are seeking.

If you’re praying to “tell God the answers that you want”, you’re not likely to get an answer.

All questions are not of equal weight though. The some of the BIG QUESTIONS are:

  • What is the purpose your life?
  • Why are you here?
  • Where are you going after you die?
  • Does God exist?
  • What does God want you to accomplish in this life? Who can you serve?
  • Is Jesus Christ the Son of God? Did he atone for your sins so you can return and live with him (if you repent and keep his commandments)?
  • Will you choose to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who has the authority of God?

Other questions in your life are of far less significance. In the grand scheme of things, they are of very little importance.

If your company downsized today and you lost your job, that would be a tough trial. You may stress over paying your mortgage, paying for food, paying utilities, etc.

Your eternal salvation doesn’t depend on your career though. Jobs will come and go. If you do everything within your means to find a new job, the Lord will bless you eventually. Your prayer won’t go unheard. You will eventually find a new job. Don’t get discouraged!

When praying, you are more likely to get clearer answers when you ask the BIG QUESTIONS. They are much greater significance for you then the day-to-day trails that you’ll surely face.

Keep the right perspective on things. No doubt about it this life is tough. It will kick you in the teeth. If life handed you everything on a silver plate, you’d never have to become something.

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Part II: Recognizing answers to your prayers

This is Part II on a series of recognizing answers to your prayers.

Recognizing answers to prayers can be difficult. Sometimes the answer is a resounding “Yes”. Sometimes, the answer is a resounding “No”.

Usually, the answer is much quieter….. If “Yes”, you’ll have positive feelings and thoughts. If “No”, you’ll feel doubt, anxiety, or negative feelings.

There are many other types of answers you may receive though. Sometimes the answer is “Call back later”. Meaning: The answer to that question is not important right now, but it will be later–so ask again later.

At other times in your life, you won’t receive an answer. This can be a very frustrating experience: You are pleading with God for an answer and you don’t feel like you are receiving one. Don’t get discouraged! If you are consistently pleading and not feeling anything, that IS your answer.

Meaning: God trusts you! He trusts you’ll make the right decision for yourself–without his help. Don’t get discouraged about not being told what to do. God wants us to “grow-up”, be independent, and learn how to think for ourselves. So, YOU SHOULD FEEL GOOD went you don’t get an answer. God is trusting you–that you’ll do the right thing.

Have you ever had a child come to you and ask you a question–and, instead of answering his or her question, you answer by asking them a question? When you don’t feel an answer, sometimes the answer is “What do you think you could do to solve this problem?”

If an answer is urgent, ask yourself “What else can I do to solve this problem? What haven’t I tried yet? Who else can help me? Who can I talk to? What research can I do?” Ask God, “What else can I do to solve this problem? What else can I do to reach this goal?” He once said, “Ask, and ye shall receiving. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” You gotta ask though. God helps those who help themselves.

How serious are you about getting the answer you need? Are you merely asking for help or are you actually doing EVERYTHING within your means to get the help you need? God is not a “genie in a bottle” or Santa Clause. Don’t waste your time just praying for things that you want:

“If you are not willing to do everything within your means to accomplish the thing that you are praying for, your prayer is in vain. Don’t expect an answer…. You’re not likely to get one.”

If you’re not willing to work for the thing that you’re praying for, why should God answer your prayer? You obviously don’t care enough to work for it yourself. Why should He bless you with something that you’re unwilling to work for?

God wants all his children to develop faith. We demonstrate our faith by our works–what we do. Do we just talk-the-talk? Or, do we also walk-the-walk? If you want something, work for it!

Sometimes we don’t receive answers because we’re not praying for the right thing…. Ask “What can I do? What more can I do?”

For example, say, “Please help me find a book/Blog that I can read which will give me ideas on how I can solve my problem” rather than “Please solve this problem for me (without any work on your part).”

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Part I: Recognizing answers to your prayers

This will be Part 1 of a series on recognizing answers to prayers.

It’s now time to talk in greater detail about prayer and how you can recognize answers to your prayers. Before we begin though, there are some import things that you need to understand:

God is your Heavenly Father. He loves you. He is a perfect being. He is perfectly honest in all things. He is a God of truth. He is the source of all truth. Consequently….

“You can ask Him to teach you what is true.”

Did you ever think of that? Did you ever realize that you could ask Him for help to recognize what is true?

When you pray alone, pray with intent. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Then, listen for answers.

Within your body is a Spirit. In order to receive answers to your prayers, you must learn how to “listen” to answers to prayers through your Spirit.

The Holy Ghost is a personage of the Godhead. Unlike our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost is a Spirit. Two of his missions are to….

1) To testify of The Father and The Son.

2) To testify to us of the truth of all things.

The things of the God can only be learned by the Spirit of God (a.k.a., The Holy Spirit or The Holy Ghost). Consequently, by learning to recognize the Holy Ghost, you can come to know the truth of all things.

OK, so, you may be wondering “How can I learn to recognize answers to my prayers? How can I “tune”-in to my Spirit so that I can recognize answers?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Go somewhere where you can be alone: A bedroom or some secluded spot.
  2. Go somewhere that is quiet–that is free from all noise.
  3. If you have done something wrong, that would offend God, ask first, for His forgiveness.
  4. Ask God for help to recognize answers to your prayers.
  5. After you have spoken, listen. Pay very, very, very close attention to how you feel and what thoughts come to mind. It is so subtle…. You really, really, really have to pay close attention.

To be honest, it can be very difficult to learn to distinguish your own thoughts and feeling from those that come that come from the Holy Spirit (the Holy Ghost), but…it is possible.

To learn how you can recognize answers to your own prayers, I would recommend you do the following: Ask questions with “Yes” or “No” answers.

Ask your question, then wait to receive an answer. Whatever you say, use your own words. Be sincere. Here are some examples of what you can say:

“God, Heavenly Father, if you exist, will you please make yourself known to me?”

“God, do you love me?”

“God, did you send your Son, Jesus Christ to atone for my sins?”

Then, wait…. Pay special attention to your answers. Pay attention to what thoughts enter your head. Pay attention to how you feel. You must pay close attention. Answers can be very subtle. You must “listen” carefully.

Don’t get discouraged if nothing comes to mind or you don’t feel an answer right away. God may test your faith. He may test your sincerity by not answering your prayer the first time…or the second…or the third time you pray. I promise. He is listening. He may test to see how persistent you are–that you truly want an answer.

If you are persistent, you will eventually receive an answer. And, when He does, you will recognize a marvelous truth: God loves you and wants to know Him.

It’s impossible to describe to others what feeling the Spirit (The Holy Ghost) is like. It’s like asking someone to describe that salt tastes like….

Imagine that someone came to you and said “I’ve never tasted salt before in my whole life. Can you describe it to me?”

How would you describe it to them? It’s not sweet…. It’s not bitter…. If you think about it, it’s very difficult to describe. So, it is with the Spirit, it’s very difficult to describe. This is true of anyone who has felt the Holy Ghost. It’s very difficult to describe or explain. However, when you’ve felt it. You know it. And, you want others to feel it–and know God’s love too.

So here’s my attempt to describe it:

It can be a positive, enlightening feeling. It can bring feelings of relief, happiness, and joy. It can be thoughts that give you a “Eureka!” moment–when a “light bulb” goes on in your head.  Most times, however, it can be very subtle, quiet thoughts that enter your mind. In these quiet moments, God is answering your prayer.

Sometimes, answers will be “Yes”. At other times, answers will be “No”. Negative answers can come too. In these moments, you may feel “uncertainty”, “doubt”, or “darkness”. You will feel hesitant or “not good” about the decision you are about to make.

Don’t give up if you don’t feel an answer right away. God answers prayers in many ways. Pay attention about what happens you to that day/week. Look for ways that the Lord might be answering your prayers. It may not be how you expected. Know also that your faith may be tested before you receive an answer.

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Opposition to the Plan of Happiness

When Heavenly Father presented his Plan, two of his sons volunteered to be our Savior:

Jesus Christ volunteered first. He wanted to glorify and honor our Heavenly Father. He did not want to take away the gift of agency (the ability to choose and make choices for ourselves) that Heavenly Father had given to each of us.

Lucifer volunteered second. He promised salvation for all. His plan was to take away our freedom to choose and guarantee our salvation. He wanted all of Heavenly Father’s power and glory for himself.

Lucifer’s plan was very attractive for some of God’s children. They feared that they would sin and not be found worthy to return to heaven. They lacked faith and trust in our Heavenly Father.

A war in heaven ensued. This was not a war of physical violence. It was a war of words.

Each of us had to make a decision: Would we decide to follow Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? Or, would we decide to follow Lucifer?

Heavenly Father knew that Lucifer’s Plan would not succeed. He did not want us to be enslaved to Lucifer. Heavenly Father wanted to shared ALL he had with ALL his children. He wisely choose Jesus Christ to be our Savior. He knew that Jesus Christ would succeed.

This enraged Lucifer. He and his followers rebelled against God. As a consequence, they were cast out. Lucifer became Satan (or the Devil). He and his followers were damned (meaning: they could no longer progress to become like our Heavenly Father): They could not come to earth to receive a body of flesh and bones.

Consequently, they do not want us to succeed. They do not want us to return and live with our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. They want us to sin, so we will not be found worthy to return to our heavenly home.

The mere fact that you were born into this world proves that you passed your first test: You chose to follow your Heavenly Father’s plan. You chose the Lord Jesus Christ to be your Savior. You proved that you trusted your Heavenly Father and wanted to follow his plan.

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The Light of Christ

Our Heavenly Father wants all of his children who experience this earth-life to return and live with him. To each of us, he has given a gift. This gift is the Light of Christ. Although you may have never realized it, you have been given this gift from your Heavenly Father.

This is a gift that this distinct and separate from the Gift of the Holy Ghost (We will discuss the Holy Ghost in another post.).

Inside your body is a Spirit. Your consciousness is that Spirit within you. The Light of Christ, if you choose to listen to it, is an inner conscience. It is an inner compass that will help you recognize truth. It can help you make righteous decisions that will help guide you back to your heavenly home.

We are all born with this gift. We all innately understand “right” from “wrong”, “good” and “bad”. If we seek to come to know the Lord though prayer, we can recognize answers with this gift.

God desires ALL His children to accept the atoning sacrifice of His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I plead with you…. Ask God, your Heavenly Father, in prayer, if he sent his Beloved Son, Jesus Christ to atone for your sins. Ask Him sincerely with full purpose of heart. With faith, expecting an answer.

He will answer your prayer. That is not my promise. That is HIS PROMISE.

No matter what successes or failures you’ve had (or will have in this life). Your life will lack purpose and meaning until you understand your true relation to God, your Heavenly Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. They love us beyond our comprehension. They made it possible for us to return and live with them. It is your choice whether or not to do so.

There are many gifts of God. They all lead us to Him. They will bring us joy and happiness in this life–and eternal bliss in the world to come. Gifts of God help us be instruments in His hands to help our fellow brothers and sisters looking for truth.

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Prayer

Once you know that you have a Heaven Father, that He is literally the father of your Spirit, and that he loves you as his child (more than any earthly parent ever could), talking to him should come naturally.

We talk to Heaven Father though prayer. Although we talk to him with words (and he could certainly answer back with words), he answers our prayers in a different way. He reveals his answers to us. We receive revelation:

It was never our Heavenly Father’s intention that we would come down to earth, live out our lives, and return without ever knowing why we came to earth in the first place. There was plan made for you. An individualized curriculum of learning tailor-made just for you.

  • We would be tested to see whether would seek to know God, Our Eternal, Heavenly Father, and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, which he sent to carry-out the Atonement.
  • We would be tested to see whether we would be faithful in keeping His commandments and live them faithfully throughout our lives.

Your life has a purpose. You have a mission to fulfill. If you want, you CAN find-out what that mission is. You don’t have to live-out your life never knowing…. You CAN touch lives and make a difference in this world if you decide to take a leap of faith.

The first step in coming to know Him is to pray to Him. These are the steps to pray. You must use your own words. They must be sincere and heartfelt. I cannot tell you what to say. This is the basic pattern for prayer:

  • Address your Heavenly Father
    • Say “Dear Heavenly Father”, “My Father in Heaven”, etc.
  • Express gratitude for your blessings.
  • Tell your Father in Heaven about your needs, wants, desires, and the pains of your heart. Ask Him for answers to questions you have. Ask Him for help. Ask Him for forgiveness of the things you have done wrong. Ask Him for help and strength not to repeat the bad things that you’ve done previously.
  • Listen for answers (This will be discussed in a future post).
  • Close your prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.
    • When you’re ready to end your prayer, say “I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

If you have never prayed before, I invite you to do so now. Pray in the morning when you first wake-up. Pray a silent prayer at mealtime if your not alone. Pray at night on your knees before you get into bed.

Don’t pray with “vain repetitions”–without sincerity or
without thought (constantly repeating the same words over-and-over). It’s OK to say the same things–as long as it is heartfelt.

Make it sincere. Pray with intent. Pray with purpose. Think about what you are going to say before you pray. If your doctor were to tell you that you had 24 hrs left to live, how might the tone of your prayers be different?

Prayer is the first step that is going to remarkably change your life. Please, please, please, make it a part of your daily routine. Be persistent: It takes time to recognize answers. Don’t stop praying if answers don’t come the way that you expect them to (I’ll discuss receiving answers to prayers in in another post.).

If you are consistent and your prayers are sincere, He will answer them. That is His promise.

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