We all appreciate life and opportunity. We are thankful we were born in this wonderful age. But great blessings and opportunities mean great responsibility. Our Father in Heaven is watching over the earth and has a glorious plan of establishing the kingdom of God on earth. He also has a general plan for each of his children and is depending on each of us to help further the gospel plan. If we appreciate this, can we do less than put our best effort into the work? Can our standards be too high? Jesus said, “He who is not for me is against me.”16 I think he meant actively for, and that inasmuch as we are passive, think superficially, inasmuch as we fail to put enough effort and time into our thinking and doing, so that we are thinking and acting straight and honest, inasmuch as we fail to put our heart and soul into the work—just so much are we against him.
But we can only be sure we are solving our problems in the right way if we have the help of our Father in Heaven. He has said, “Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not.”17 But “There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of the world upon which all blessings are predicated.”18
We have been given very definite laws governing prayer. We must ask in faith. Faith does not come without effort—waiting until the moment of need and saying, “I will have faith.” Faith comes through obedience. Our prayers must be sincere. They are sincere when we put forth our best efforts and then humbly ask for guidance or confirmation. When Oliver Cowdery wished to translate a part of the Book of Mormon he failed to receive the necessary inspiration, and the Lord said to him: “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.”19 There is a difference between asking our Father in Heaven to bless the poor, and in asking that we may see the needs and help to bring the blessing.
Let us pray for our church leaders, but let us also give our Father in Heaven the assurance that if he will inspire our leaders we will put forth our best effort to follow their guidance.
The Lord has also said, “Pray in your families.”20 Family prayer will do much to keep the family close together. Praying together does something to people. But there is a difference between praying and saying our prayers. Family prayers must never become routine. Let us show our children what prayer means to us. When Jesus was with his disciples he received so much help and comfort from prayer that they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”21
Let our prayers be that we may have new insight and new unselfishness, that we may not disappoint our Father in Heaven in the tasks he has given us to perform.
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There Is a Difference, At the Pulpit, accessed February 28, 2024 https://production.churchhistorianspress.org/at-the-pulpit/bonus-chapters/bonus-5