BTBTB (been too busy to blog) . . . c’est la vie . . . I wish I was more confident that things will be changing on this front. But I did manage to capture a few thoughts today.
In April 1829, a revelation to Oliver Cowdery was given through Joseph Smith, Jr at Harmony, Pennsylvania. (One month later, the exact same words were given as revelations to Hyrum Smith and Joseph Knight, Sr).
Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you (D&C 6:5; see also D&C 11:5 and D&C 12:5)
Immediately thereafter, Oliver was given the remarkable gift of being able to assist with translation of The Book of Mormon, along with the following assurance from the Lord:
I say unto you, that assuredly as the Lord liveth, who is your God and your Redeemer, even so surely shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive (D&C 8:1)
As I was reading through these passages, I was reminded of something that happened at Christmas. I was telling the boys about the deal I got on Black Friday on a new TV. Although my old one is 8 years old and shows images in archaic 480p, it still works. Ty asked if he could have the old TV and I say yes. Tate’s immediate reaction was “WHAT! Why are you giving it to him?” I said: ‘Because he asked.”
If you look through the standard works, there are dozens of instances in which we are promised that if we ask we shall receive (especially in the D&C). So often the prerequisite to blessings and understanding lies in the need for us to go the the Lord and just ask. Sometimes it’s that simple.
In virtually every prayer I’ve uttered in the last umpteen years, I’ve asked for something. And though I’m greatly blessed, prayer is not like asking wishes of the genie in Aladdin’s lamp. I found this concept well-illustrated by another revelation to Oliver Cowdery (D&C 9) that followed his just ask revelation (D&C 6) by only a few days.
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. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. (D&C 9:7-8, emphasis mine)
I feel for poor Oliver. Having been told to just ask, he does, only to be told it takes more than just asking. I’ve been in his shoes–just asking without doing the work, the study, or exercising the faith. Sometimes just asking is enough (like getting a flatscreen TV when you’re a broke college kid). More often than not, it’s more about how we ask, and the faith that we bring with us in our petition to God.