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MARC - How do you petition Heavenly Father according to His will when you are unsure what His will is? How can one find out His will on any given question?

JOEL - I have wondered about this a lot my self. Knowing God's will about anything is not an easy task. The reason?

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55: 9)

Because of this I think He very rarely makes His will known to us up front in any obvious way. He usually expects us to figure things out on our own first, make a decision and then ask Him if it is right. Oliver Cowdery received a special revelation from the Lord teaching him that principle:

"Behold, you have not understood, You have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right." (D&C 9:7-8.)

So we make an informed decision on what to do first and then pray to seek confirmation on what we decided. If our decision is correct, we can have a peaceful warm feeling inside; the Holy Ghost confirming that we have made the right choice. If not, we have a stupor of thought; uncertain of what the answer is.

Pres. Marion G. Romney said,
"When confronted with a problem I prayerfully weigh in my mind solutions and come to a conclusion as to which is best. Then in prayer, I submit to the Lord my problem, tell him that I desire to make the right choice. Then I ask him if I have made the right decision to give me that burning feeling within. When enlightenment and peace come into my mind, I know the Lord is saying, yes. If I have a "stupor of thought" I know he is saying ,no, and I try again, following the same procedure." (New Era, October 1975, p. 35.)

We are much more inclined to know God's will if we have read His scriptures and followed the counsel and teachings of His prophets and other church leaders and have tried to keep ourselves in tune with God and His spirit.

Many times when trying to know God's will for us on a certain issue, the confusion we sometimes feel can mean it doesn't matter to God which way we choose (eg. which house to buy, which school we go to, etc). If we are trying to live right, the Lord will bless us no matter what we choose to do.

President Brigham Young said,
"If I ask the Lord to give me wisdom concerning any requirement in life, and I get no answer from him, and then do the very best that my judgement will teach me, he is bound to own and honor that transaction, and give the divine help that I need." (Discourses of Brigham Young)

And the "burning in the bosom" is not the only method God uses when answering prayers. In revelations to Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and Hyrum Smith, the Lord talks about answering prayers by enlightening the mind, speaking peace to the mind, telling the person "in your mind and in your heart," filling the soul with joy (see D&C 6:15, 23; D&C 8:2; D&C 11:13-14). He will speak to us in ways that will be most effective for our own conditions. We must learn to recognize how we feel when the Spirit is with us and when he is communicating to us. It might be different for different people.

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