I have often struggled with my prayers – and one of the big reasons why is because I didn’t know how to be bold with God. Jeffrey R. Holland explains better how I felt:
“Some in the contemporary world suffer from a distressing misconception of Him. Among these there is a tendency to feel distant from the Father, even estranged from Him, if they believe in Him at all. And if they do believe, many moderns say they might feel comfortable in the arms of Jesus, but they are uneasy contemplating the stern encounter of God.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, The Grandeur of God, CR Oct 2003).
The Book of Mormon teaches us that we can and should be bold when we come to God in prayer.
The Brother of Jared was a great example of this in the book of Ether. God had commanded him to build boats to cross the great waters. He did it. Then He commanded him to cross. The problem was that they still didn’t have a way to get air or have light in these air-tight ships. So the brother of Jared asked God again: “how will we breathe?” On this one God gave a direct answer: “make holes and let in air every once in a while…oh and if water comes in, put the plug back in.” (Ether 2:20) But even with air, they still couldn’t see. The only light they knew was from the sun and from fire. So he asks God again: “What about light? We can’t have fire, for obvious reasons, but we can’t cross in darkness. What should we do?”
Then the Lord returns the question to the prophet: “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” (Ether 2:23).
This says so much about what God sees in us. We depend on God in this life, AND He wants us to become like Him. After thinking more about this request from the Lord, the brother of Jared responded:
“I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea. Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this.” (Ether 3:4-5)
I like that the brother of Jared is so deliberate in his faith. He doesn’t vacillate or hesitate, but he goes boldly to the throne of grace and doesn’t even ask. He just states his level of faith and confidence in the Lord. To embellish a little on what he said, adding my own personal expression to it, here is the gist of what he said to the Lord:
“I know You have all power . I know You can do anything and You are the most powerful being in the universe. You created the universe! You can do anything! You are God! And you just asked me, the tiny little brother of Jared, what I would have You do. Here is my answer: Touch these stones. Make them shine in darkness. You can do this. Do it.”
I love this deliberate command. It isn’t bossy or inappropriate. It is the response to a request from God. And his response is bold and full of confidence in the Lord’s ability to do anything.
How NOT to Pray
I have too often found myself with a slow approach to God’s throne with hesitation and then in a small voice letting Him know of my “lame” petitions. It is an attitude of complete vacillation – total hesitancy. The opposite of confidence. Something like this: “Heavenly Father, if you see fit, I wonder if you might consider, possibly, maybe, perhaps helping me with this one thing….if you have time…I know I’m not really that important in all the other things you have to get done, so if you are busy, then don’t worry about me…but if you have time, maybe consider it.”
This is NOT the way to pray. It doesn’t show faith in God and it doesn’t show God that we know who we are. We are His children. He does love us and has all the time in the world for us. I submit to you that if we came more boldly to God’s throne, He would answer more boldly. To the degree we have confidence in the Lord, to that same degree we will receive answers.
How you Should Pray
Come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) and say to the Lord: “I know Thou hast all power,” followed by your deliberate request. Be deliberate with God and He will answer.
We are all crossing a dark ocean and need to have light in our vessels. And God has already promised to give us light if we ask Him. So how does that apply to you? How can you be deliberate with God?
Here are some things you can deliberately request from God:
- Heal me
- Make me strong
- Change my carnal nature to an eternal nature
- Touch my heart
- Fill me with light
- Pour down pure intelligence upon me in revelations
- Endow me with further light and knowledge
- Fill me with charity
- Make me holy
These are all things he has already promised to give us on the condition that we just ask Him.
Don’t get me wrong. The brother of Jared was humble and ready. He asked for forgiveness for his possible ignorance. He repented before coming to the Lord. And he showed pre-prayer, faith-action (see verse 3):
“Behold these things which I have molten out of the rock.” He went to all the trouble of mining and chipping and melting and molding – all with faith that God COULD and WOULD do it. Then he showed deliberate faith.
Touch these stones, and I know they will glow.
And the Lord touched them. And the stones became lights.
This is the power of deliberate faith.
Do your homework and know God’s promises and then seek Him in confidence.
This is how to be bold with God. This is how to get answers to your prayers.
Written by Andy Proctor
Andy is the current director of The Returned Missionary. He is an internet entrepreneur, and his passion is in online missionary work. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 2009 after living in the Holy Land and studying at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. After graduation he has worked in internet technology industry with Qualtrics.com, OrangeSoda.com and he started ColorfulSEO.com in 2012. He started TheReturnedMissionary.com in 2010 and is in the process of writing a book to help returned missionaries apply the truths and principles they learned in their mission and in Preach My Gospel in their post-mission life. He is married and can’t wait for the kids to start dropping from heaven.