December 8, 2008 - Monday
As background to this post, I need to mention something I used to preach in my work and that was distinguishing between "what" was needed as opposed to "how" it would be provided. Too often our business partners would come asking for something from Information Technology and the request would be "how" they wanted something done, and just as often, the "how" they asked for would potentially miss the mark because the "what" was not fully understood.
In district meeting this morning with the elders, one of them used a scripture, 1 Ne 7:17 in his presentation. I have used that scripture in the past as a model for asking in faith, but this morning something else struck me that took me back to my work experience and I decided I needed to share this with you because it’s kind of cool. Ok, my age is showing with that word cool, but that’s what I think it is.
Remember my “what” and “how” mantra related to requirements definition, well I discovered today that is a gospel principle. Let me explain.
In 1 Ne 7:17, Nephi states:
- “I prayed …”
- “…according to my faith which is in thee …” referring to the Lord
- he states “what” he is asking – “deliver me”
- he states “how” he expects it to be done – “give me strength … [to] burst these bands”
How was his prayer answered, “how” was it done? Look in verse 18, “…the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet…”
Here is the insight that hit me today. We need to look and listen for an answer to prayer. The answer won’t be physically obvious each time we ask like it was for Nephi in this instance. Do we sometimes continue to wait for the “strength” we asked for to "burst" the bands when the Lord has already “loosed” them? If we focus too much on “how” we want a prayer answered, we may miss the answer when it is presented to us. Nephi was delivered, that was what he asked for. How it happened wasn't really important. Just something to think about.