(October 11, 2014)
My understanding of prayer is far from what it needs to be. On the one hand, I think I understand fairly well the process by which the Lord instructs us through prayer. My whole life I have sought out to know the will of the Lord through prayer, and while I still have a long way to go in this respect, I think that my foundation is secure enough to continue to build upon.
But what about praying to the Lord for a specific result? I don’t know that I really understand that. For example, I would love to have certain people do certain things that would resolve many things that cause me no end of worry. But these things are impacted by the agency of others. In fact, there is very little that I can pray for that I need that is not impacted by the agency of others.
But reading this chapter, I think that there is nothing wrong in praying for things that are impacted by the agency of others if we both respect that agency and respect that the Lord’s will must be done. I can remember clearly a prayer that was only recently answered where I prayed for a certain person to contact me. That person called me out of the blue some 40 minutes later. That person had agency, and in their agency they could have chosen not to call. But the Lord prompted and they responded and I was blessed by my asking.
By the same token, there are things that I think are important to have happen for both me and those that I love. There is agency involved – I cannot simply ask for others to choose what I would have them choose. But what I can do is ask the Lord for them to do what I see as important and necessary. Then, with the Lord as intermediary, I do not need to worry about unrighteous dominion or inappropriately affecting the agency of others, because such unrighteous requests would simply be ignored by the Lord (hopefully with some education to me in the process so that I do not make similar mistakes in the future).
With that understanding, I can see that there is no problem in asking for things through prayer which are dependent on the exercise of the agency of others, so long as we respect that agency and that our prayers (even if righteous) may not be answered because the agency of another is a higher value than even our desperate prayers, and because we can trust the Father to not interfere with the agency of another simply because we might ask amiss.