My husband and I watch over an independent branch at a care facility. We have grown to love these people (mostly ladies) and enjoy the spirit we share together. There is one particular sister who has been deaf all her life. We all struggle to understand her, but she is patient with us. She typically attends her deaf ward, but—and this is quite remarkable—she likes to attend our Book of Mormon class, which we hold as our Family Home Evening. Again, she can’t hear what is taught, but she told me she likes to come because she feels the Spirit there.
I tell you all of this because I witnessed a beautiful moment with this deaf sister once. We took “the ladies” to the temple one gorgeous Saturday morning. Five women in wheelchairs, one 95 year old, who could still walk on her own and kept busily helping everyone else, and this deaf sister, who also walks on her own and has regularly attended the temple in the past. We all got on the shuttle, ready to go, when Jane (our deaf sister) said we needed to have a word of prayer. We all agreed and my husband said the prayer.
We got to the temple and everyone had their recommends, only Jane’s had expired. Because she actually belongs to the deaf ward, my husband couldn’t vouch for her, so I waited with her while the Recorder called her bishop. We waited and waited and five minutes before the session was to start they let us through. Of course, word had to be sent ahead that the room needed to be prepped for an ASL monitor.
The next two hours were exhausting, yet at the same time exhilarating, because the Spirit was with us. Quite a few other mishaps occurred, but were resolved quickly, and let’s just say we were an exciting part of that temple’s day.
As we all climbed aboard our shuttle, again Jane reminded us we needed to pray. I absolutely agreed, because the Lord was definitely with us that morning and I witnessed several miracles and tender mercies.
Jane has had to be dependent all of her life and I believe she has chosen to be dependent on the Lord. This is what it means to be a Master Asker: that we navigate through life knowing where to turn every time.
In The Infinite Atonement, Elder Callister encourages us to become a Master Asker. It is for us to gain that dependency upon the Lord for answers, for comfort, for blessings, for knowledge, for everything. When we finally make this a habit, having pushed back the natural man, and the natural tendency to do things on our own, and only after this has been tested by us and by God, will we have achieved the level of mastering ourselves. We can now become Master Askers.
Elder Callister explains,
“The Prophet Joseph was our exemplar in this regard. He was the “master asker.” His queries triggered the First Vision, the Word of Wisdom, the revelation on celestial marriage, the vision on the three degrees of glory, and in truth, almost every other notable revelation in this dispensation. He exploded the parameters of divine knowledge because he righteously asked. He was empirical proof of the divine invitation, ‘If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things” (D&C 42:61).
Many of us believe the mysteries of God are “When will Christ come again?”, “Why don’t women hold the priesthood?”, or “Where are the Lost Ten Tribes?” If you think about it, those questions are not aimed toward a dependency on the Savior. The mysteries of God are hidden so those who have pure desires to gain salvation will take the proper steps necessary to seek and find.
Neal A. Maxwell said, “Coming unto the Lord is not a negotiation, but a surrender.”
In the beginning we might say, “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.” (see Mark 9:23-24) Accepting the will of God through prayer changes how we pray. Instead of begging and pleading, we become calm and trusting.
Elder Holland gives three aids for those who want to believe more, build their faith, and gain knowledge of the Son of God (see Gen. Conf. Apr. 2013):
- Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.
- When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have.
- When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help.
We know that faith is an action word. If we desire to ASK in faith, then we are telling the Lord that we will ACT in faith. That may be the hardest thing we will ever do on this earth, but by doing this, the branches will grow and the blossoms will bloom upon the Tree of Life we are growing inside ourselves.
By releasing our own will, we receive the power to overcome all trials. Our suffering and sacrifice is real and painful, but if asked, such a conqueror will say it was all worth it because the blessings were more beautiful than the excruciating pain. Prayer relieves suffering. The sooner we call upon God, release our own will, and accept the simple requirements of heaven, the Lord’s blessings will shower down upon us like gentle tears from a loving parent.
Anti-Christs abound in this world. Their sole purpose is to convince us out of Jesus Christ’s mission. They don’t want us to know who we are, why we’re here, and where we are going in the next life. They want us to think life ends here, that there is no hope, and we must seek after our pleasures now. The belief, or unbelief, in Jesus Christ, and His atoning sacrifice, is pivotal upon the righteous as well as the wicked. That is why our faith has to be planted in Jesus Christ and what He did for us. Our faith in Him will inspire us to Come Unto Him, to ask in our faith, to believe what He says, and to place a desire in us to work our way toward His Kingdom. Faith comes with a desire to be saved.
I add my thoughts to the following scripture which I believe is our witness and warning:
“But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God (come unto Him), who giveth liberally (because He is waiting for us); and that which the Spirit testifies unto you (the Spirit must be with us to hear Him) even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart (determination), walking uprightly before me (in humble righteousness), considering the end of your salvation (this is what life is really about), doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving (broken hearts healed amidst profound blessings), that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, (who can overtake us if we let them), or doctrines of devils (listening to the god of this world), or the commandment of men (and that ever-present arm of flesh); for some are of men, and others of devils. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived.” (D&C 46:7)
As a true Master-Asker we will see the path clearly, minimize the deceit which is part of this world, and recognize–in an instant–light from darkness.