Elder Henry B. Eyring challenged us in October 2007 General Conference to ask these questions daily:
- Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch me (or my family and friends) today?
- Did God send a message that was just for me?
- What can I do to preserve that memory for the day that I, and those I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need him?
We believe in the power of questions. A 14-year-old boy named Joseph Smith once had a question about which church he should join. He also loved reading the Bible and one day he came to this scripture in the book of James:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” –(James 1:5-6)
Later Joseph Smith wrote about the impact of that scripture:
“Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know… At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God.” (Joseph Smith-History 1:12-13)
That one question resulted in the true church of Jesus Christ being restored to the earth. Last May I took a class on the internet about the power of questions which was taught by Wendy Watson Nelson. She made a powerful observation:
“It is no small thing that it was one question, just one question, sincerely asked by a 14 –year- old boy that opened the heavens, that commenced the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. How fabulous is that? One question. I have a testimony about questions. I have a testimony about taking one question to the scriptures daily. I know sisters that as we kneel; take our scriptures; thank our Heavenly Father for the scriptures; tell your Heavenly Father what’s the one question you need to have answered that day; plead for the Spirit to be with you; then you open those scriptures and read. It’s my testimony and the experience of thousands that you don’t have to read very far until you find the answer. These are answer books.”
Sister Nelson received this e-mail after teaching that principle several years ago:
“Not that I doubted you Wendy, but I could not imagine that the scriptures could possibly have the answer to a financial question that my family and I have been wrestling for years. But I tried the experiment and opened my scriptures; telling the Lord what one question we needed in our family; pled for the Spirit to be with me; opened and read to a place in the Book of Mormon which led me to a footnote in the Doctrine and Covenants and there was the answer to our financial question.”
Wendy Watson Nelson has the testimony that:
- Questions are powerful
- Questions open the heavens
I thought about these scriptures I had read in the Book of Mormon which seemed to support Sister Nelson’s testimony:
“Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.” (1 Nephi 15:11)
“Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God.” (2 Nephi 4:35)
I had often found answers in the scriptures, but I had never tried asking a question on a daily basis. At the time I was suffering from debilitating health problems and I had lots of questions. One night I prayed, “Heavenly Father, how can I get my energy back?” I was led to this scripture:
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
That scripture felt like a beautiful promise (and a gentle hug) from a loving Heavenly Father. I trusted Him and I was led to the right doctors and the right answers. It didn’t happen over night, but six months later my energy levels have been renewed! I believe in the power of questions.
Eventually I taught my primary class of 10- to 12-year-old girls about the power of questions. I bore my testimony of the principle by reading several entries from my journal where I recorded the questions I had asked and the answers I received in the scriptures. I challenged the girls to gain their own testimony of the power of questions. A couple days later I got a note from one of the girls in the class. She wrote:
“I know that it is weird me writing you a letter when I could just talk to you, but I’m going to be on a trip on Sunday. But I loved what you taught us on Sunday about prayer. So I didn’t think I was going to try it out so soon, but I did.”
She then shared three experiences where she asked the Lord questions and the exact scripture references came to her mind which answered her questions and brought her peace. I have also taught adults about the power of questions and they have shared similar results. We believe in the power of questions!
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I love this, Kathryn.
Something from today’s Sunday School lesson tied into this for me — as Moses confronts Satan, he says, “I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him….” (Moses 1:18)
Reminds me of Pres. Uchtdorf’s recent CES talk, too.
Questions are great. Sometimes they can be scary too. Or sometimes we make up our mind before we find an answer. If we can keep an open heart, go forward with faith, the answers come. Sometimes the answer is comfort to help us endure, but it makes the difference.
Thanks for your post, and for sharing those sweet words from the girl in your class. What an example. She must be reading her scriptures well to have them pop into her mind!
Today in Sunday School I taught 13 year olds about the Plan of Salvation, or God’s plan of happiness. We talked about the great questions that can be answered by having an understanding of God’s plan for His children. 13 year olds were asking and answering the great questions of life in our lesson today, like Who am I? Where did I come from? Where will I go when I die?
Some felt confident in their answers. Others needed to study and pray more about how they felt, which is great. Asking and receiving answers to prayer binds us to God and helps us to build a personal relationship to Him.
I so loved this post Kathryn.
This post was so inspiring and beautiful….thank you!
One more thing that comes to mind is this post I read recently…a warning about how and when questions can sometimes get in the way, too.
The blessing was that the Lord put the scripture references in her mind — guided her to the exact ones she needed, despite her limited experience with the scriptures.
He seems to answer our questions in the language or way we will best understand — a loving Father teaching His children according to their abilities.
This was incredible. Powerful. Like a bolt of lightning that just keeps striking.
What if everyone who read this post actually took a question to their scriptures every day? We would all be different. Better.
It really requires some desire and effort on our part to reach up to our Heavenly Father. I picture a child stretching their arms up to their parent in the universal gesture that they want to be held. I love nothing better than holding my children and whispering how much I love them. I know our Heavenly Father delights in cradling us and filling us with His love and peace.
Merry Michelle, I love that image…I know that my daily scripture study seems 100 times more powerful and influential when I prayerfully ask a question. It is almost like a teacher using a question to focus the discussion in a class. The Holy Ghost guides me to the answers I seek in the scriptures and helps me make connections and apply it to my life. I usually write my question and the answers in my journal, so that I have a permanent record of each spiritual tutoring session. I know Heavenly Father delights in teaching us how to find peace and joy in our lives…