Living the Gospel with Grit and Real Intent

What if your prayers aren’t answered? Or the thing you are praying for doesn’t come to pass.

The Bible Dictionary says this about Prayer…
“As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”
Elder James Martino of the seventy said in his October 2015 General Conference talk “Turn to Him and Answers Will Come”
 “God does answer our prayers about the truthfulness of the gospel, but He answers them when we have “a sincere heart” and “real intent.” He does not answer just to respond to our curiosity.”

I love the phrase “a sincere heart” and “real intent.” This phrase is something I have thought a lot about over the years and it is something I continue to seek and receive insight on.

I’ve pondered on this because while serving my mission in Montana I would constantly hear from people, “Oh, I’ve prayed. I received an answer. It’s not for me.” Time and time again I heard that and it really puzzeled me why they didn’t receive an answer to their prayers about the truthfulness of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Church.

If we read Moroni 10:4, the promise of the Book of Mormon, it says…
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

There it gives us three things we must do in order to receive an answer to our prayers: ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ.

The phrase “real intent” only appears in the scriptures five times, all in the Book of Mormon. Four in Moroni, once in Nephi.

Brother Ridd of the Young Men's presidency says…
“Living with real intent means understanding the “why” and being aware of the motives behind your actions.”

When we tie a “why” or a purpose behind what we are doing—a purpose or meaning that we will really follow through with—our intent and desire is driven to find an answer or accomplish something.

I know that a sincere heart, real intent, and faith are key to receiving answers in our lives. When we obtain those qualities, and cultivate them by doing the basics of the gospel (pray, scripture study, church attendance) we become converted to the gospel. And our Savior and His spirit have a permanent place in our lives.

In order to do these things and obtains these blessings, it requires grit. Grit is a topic and term in the world of psychology a performance.

Grit is defined as…
“perseverance and passion for long-term goals. --- Grit is a distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals even in the face of discomfort, rejection, and a lack of visible progress for years, or even decades.”

When I read this definition and think of it in a gospel perspective I think of Nephi. Nephi had gritiness in the gospel. His brothers Lamen and Lemuel, did not. He had a long-term goal and a vision, a purpose, a why, real intent behind what he was doing---that is something we can strive for.

Elder Martino said…
“Mortal life is not easy for any of us. We are placed on earth to be tried and tested. Our response to life’s experiences will often greatly influence our testimonies. Consider some of the reactions of Laman and Lemuel: They murmured when their father asked them to do hard things. They attempted to obtain the brass plates, but when success did not come, they gave up. Their attitude was “We’ve tried; what more can we do?”
“...They came to Nephi and said they could not “understand the words which [their] father [had] spoken.” Nephi asked them if they had “inquired of the Lord.” Notice their response: “We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” 
Nephi’s reply to his brothers is a key for us to receive continual answers to prayer: 
“How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts? 
“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 [will] be made known unto you.”

If we have hard hearts, we lack real intent, we lack the faith needed to receive answers. Elder Martino concluded...
"[There are some] who have had undeniable spiritual experiences, but the lack of certain spiritual habits seems to have caused them to forget the times when God has spoken to them... consider Nephi’s counsel. Be obedient, remember the times when you have felt the Spirit in the past, and ask in faith. Your answer will come, and you will feel the love and peace of the Savior. It may not come as quickly or in the format you desire, but the answer will come. Do not give up! Never give up!"

The Lord will never give up on us, and we should never give up on him. I hope and prayer we will do the basics with real intent. That we will remember our relationship with the Savior and our Heavenly Father. That our prayers will be faith filled, with real intent, and a sincere heart, and I pray that we will be gritty in the gospel and keep in mind our goal of returning to Him.

Andrew Devey graduated from BYU with a degree in communications and is now a marketing professional living in Utah. He is part Texan by marriage, and loves the Big Sky Country (Montana). He is also a sports junkie and dessert connoisseur. He is married to Lisa, and loves being a father to his twin girls and two boys children.

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