Here’s a memory from my childhood. I was quite young (maybe 8 years old) and I was starting to get interested in reading. One night, I was watching TV with my family, and the show was ending at 8:55 p.m. My bedtime was at 9 p.m., so I asked my parents if it would be OK if I got right into bed so I could read for five minutes before it was time to go to sleep. They agreed. Well, as it turned out, I laid in bed for about an hour, reading my book, until I finally just fell asleep.
The next day, I was sort of congratulating myself for having gotten away with extending my bedtime for an hour. Then it hit me — my parents wanted me to read! They were happy to give me what I wanted (being able to stay up past my bedtime) in order to encourage me to read. If I had asked to stay up to watch an extra TV show, I wouldn’t have gotten the same response, but they were happy to give me what they wanted me to have.
This is basically the same way that God works when responding to our prayer requests. If we ask for something that God wants us to have, there is a much greater likelihood that we will receive it. When speaking to the Nephites, Jesus said it this way:
“Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.” (3 Nephi 18:20)
Notice the use of the phrase, “which is right.” Don’t think of this in terms of right vs. wrong but rather as being indicative of what God considers right for you — in other words, it’s something that God wants you to have. This is the concept to keep in mind when asking God for anything. Pray for what God wants you to have — even preface your requests with “if it be your will” or something similar — and you will see more frequent answers to your prayers.
Note the difference between the above verse and the oft-quoted statement from the Sermon on the Mount that — when taken out of context — makes it sound like God gives us anything we ask for (which we know from experience is not the case):
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8, also Luke 11:9-10)
In this case, you have to keep reading in order to find out what it is that God gives to everyone who asks for it. In Matthew’s version, Jesus says that God gives “good things” to people who ask for them. Luke’s version is even more specific, identifying the No. 1 gift that God wants to give to everyone and is happy to give to all those who ask for it:
“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:11,13)
The Holy Spirit, which represents Jesus Christ in the individual lives of each of His followers, is the gift that God gives to all who ask for it. When you ask for your baptism and you repent of your sins, the Holy Spirit is then bestowed upon you via prayer from the Church ministry. The Holy Spirit is a very valuable gift that gives great insight into how to serve God and keeps each of us on the path that leads to eternal life.
But what if you’ve already received this gift? Does that mean there’s nothing else that God wants to give you? On the contrary, there are many gifts in the storehouse of the Lord that He is happy to give to those who ask for them.
There are things that God gives that are related to the flesh. We often hear testimonies of healings, jobs supplied, relationships mended, etc. However, recognize that when we pray for things for the flesh, that’s when we are most likely to wander into the area of praying for things that God may not want us to have. So, if you pray for something in the flesh and God grants it, consider it a nice bonus and also an indicator of how much God can do for you spiritually.
Clearly, it’s in the spiritual realm that God’s storehouse is full of gifts that He wants to give us. For example:
- Galatians 5 lists things like love, joy, peace, faith, etc. as things that are available to all who have the Holy Spirit.
- Have trouble understanding God’s Word? Pray for increased understanding.
- Interested in spreading the gospel? Pray for opportunities to do so. (If you ask for this, be ready — the opportunities will come!)
God has a storehouse of gifts, especially spiritual gifts, that He is waiting to give you. If the gifts remain in the storehouse, the only reason may be because you never asked for them. Focus on asking for what God wants to give you, and watch the doors of His storehouse swing open!
From No. 80 in the Songs of Zion “The Storehouse of the Lord”
Here’s a love so divine you can share it.
Here’s a smile for each day, always wear it.
Here is peace and each child gets a part.
Here is joy, like a jewel for the heart.
Here’s the word, take it freely and use it.
Here is faith, and you must never lose it.
Precious gifts in the storehouse of the Lord.
And there’s nothing, child, you can’t afford.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.