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I wonder if we sometimes pray  amiss.  In Elder Groberg’s book “The Other Side of Heaven,” he shares a lesson he learned about prayer.

As they often sailed to get to their destinations in the Tongan islands, he would pray for a good tail wind.  But someone else taught him that such a prayer, if granted, would actually be detrimental to someone else sailing the opposite direction.  Instead, he should pray for a good wind.

Elder Groberg concluded:  “Sometimes we pray for things that will benefit us, but may hurt others. We may pray for a particular type of weather, or to preserve someone’s life, when that answer to our prayer may hurt someone else. That’s why we must always pray in faith, because we can’t have true, God-given faith in something that is not according to His will.”

Another example of praying amiss is when we ask for blessings yet do little or nothing ourselves to obtain those blessings.  We may pray for protection, and then drive unsafely; we may pray for health, and then eat unwisely and exercise insufficiently; we may pray to do well on a test or to accomplish something at work, and then neglect to perform the labor that would contribute to the blessing being realized, etc.

I love the sentiment expressed in this prayer by Francois Fenelon:

Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee;
Thou only knowest what I need; Thou lovest me better
than I know how to love myself. O Father, give to Thy
child that which he himself knows not how to ask.
I dare not ask either for crosses or for consolations;
I simply present myself before Thee,
I open my heart to Thee. Behold my needs
which I know not myself; see and do according to
Thy tender mercy. Smite, or heal; depress me,
or raise me up; I adore all Thy purposes without
knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself in
sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee; I would have
no other desire than to accomplish Thy will.
Teach me to pray. Pray Thyself in me.

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I had not heard of Travis Pastrana until a few days ago.  If you haven’t heard of him either, he started off racing dirtbikes and also does freestyle, rally car races, and base diving.  He is quite amazing, and I’ve enjoyed learning a little bit about him.

This video montage shows a few of his wipeouts:

It might seem odd that I would post a video of him crashing when there  are so many other spectacular feats of his that I could have chosen, but I think these less successful attempts illustrate some important life lessons.

When we see athletes and performers of any type that really excel, we generally do not see the many hours of practice that preceded the success.  I believe that we (in general) can accomplish amazing things, but we should not deceive ourselves into thinking that worthwhile achievements of any kind come without a price.

Also, what may seem initially as a failure can really be just a stepping stone to success.  Travis probably rarely succeeded on his first attempt.  He tried, learned what went wrong, and continued this process until his jump (or whatever he was attempting) was perfect.  If we want to achieve something great, we should expect to have some setbacks along the way.

And although it isn’t directly related to Travis or the video, relatively few will have Travis’ type of public achievement, but all of us can have significant personal successes.   We can develop great honesty, kindness, and the ability to forgive.  We can excel at being a world-class brother or sister, a gold-medal father or mother, or a champion husband or wife.  After all, can there be a greater achievement than this?