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MARC - Can Heavenly Father be persuaded through our prayers? Can He, if He chooses, deliver someone out of any situation? Does He consider propositions?

JOEL - Heavenly Father hears every prayer and if it is not against His will for the individual He will answer the prayer in a way that is best for that individual. I don't know if the word "persuade" is really applicable. To persuade someone means to cause them to change their minds about something in a way that you think will bennefit yourself. We can't persuade God to do anything against His will or against what He knows is best for us. However, there are of course times in the scriptures where humble faithful people recieved an affirmative response to their prayers.

Abraham 2:19
And the Lord appeared unto me in answer to my prayers, and said unto me: Unto thy seed will I give this land.

Jacob 7:22
Now, this thing was pleasing unto me, Jacob, for I had requested it of my Father who was in heaven; for he had heard my cry and answered my prayer.

Mosiah 23:10
Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth

According to the Lord's prayer God can apparently deliver us from a bad situation:
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (Luke 11:4)

"Considering propositions" is just another way of saying bargaining with God; which many people have done in stressful situations; like soldiers in foxholes or students just before taking an exam. Like the word persuade; a person who bargains might be selfishly trying to get what he wants, which may not be what the Lord wants for Him. If a person promises to do something good if God will give him what he wants, does that mean that if God does not give it to him the person will not do the thing that he should have been doing anyway?
The best attitude to have during prayer is to be humble, faithful and willing to submit to the will of God. Rather than trying to persuade or bargain just come right out and ask God to help you with whatever you need. If it is a righteous desire and not against His will He will consider it.

MARC - I read the book "The Worth of a Soul." It contains a personal narrative of a member who was excommunicated. He details his struggles and how, even in his sinful state, the Lord still loved him and helped him and his family. Also, in the 1993 Ensign "The Blackness and the Moon", a man gets a second chance at life, despite his lifestyle at the time. Member accounts of receiving divine help, despite their unworthiness, is extensive. Alma the younger, the sons of Mosiah, Jonah, and Paul are other examples.
Why is divine help extended to some, including those in a depraved state, but for others it seems it is placed on hold? Does the help eventually come? To me, it would seem unfair for Him to help some who want and need help and not others who also want and need it.

JOEL - According to a popular movie:
"Life is pain, ....Anyone who says differently is selling something." (Princess bride)
God is all-knowing and has a plan for each of us. He knows who we are and what we are capable of. This life gives us the opportunity to prove ourselves worthy of salvation. Some are stronger than others and can take more. Only He knows why certain people are helped more and why others not as much. Perhaps God wants to see if the person who is help more will humbly acknowledge His hand in it or take the credit for himself. All we can do is endure to the end with what we have and become the best person we can under the circumstances and our salvation will be just as real as the one who got more help.

MARC - We are judged according to our works and desires. Do we know what weight desires have on our judgment? In other words, does He place any merit on the individual who says I did this, this, and this wrong, but if I could go back and do it again I would it do it this way.

JOEL - I don't know what weight our desires have on our judgement. We are told that if someone through no fault of their own did not have the opportunity to accept the gospel, but would have if given the oportunity, that person could still obtain exaltation.
When the scriptures say we are judged according to our works it does not mean that God is keeping some kind of score card up in heaven and as soon as all the boxes are checked we automatically receive exaltation. We are judged according to what is in our hearts and what we have become as a result of the works we have done.

Apostle Dallin H. Oaks said:
"From such teachings we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become." (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” New Era, Aug. 2002, 12)

MARC - How do we pray with faith? I know the church teaches that no matter what we have done wrong, He listens to our prayers. Is an individual still able to pray with faith, in spite of their shortcomings? A general authority said what is important to us becomes important to Him simply because He loves us. Does He consider all of our petitions, even with the ones where we are completely dependant on Him, ie healing of a physical affliction? Does consistent prayer make a difference?

JOEL - Yes to all the above. A person who prays with faith expects an answer; whether directly from God; or through their own inspired thoughts and ideas; or through the acts of other people. They are patient to wait for the answer but at the same time do all they can to make it happen. Pray as though everything depends on God and work as though everything depends on you.

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