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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