I prayed recently to be granted any spiritual gift, any “leftover” gift God will give. I don’t know which spiritual gift is appropriate for my situation, obviously God’s wisdom is better. But then I read D&C 88:65 “And if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.” I am now more confused/fearful to ask, but feel so desperate for any gift to assist my (many) weaknesses. Please help. Thanks
Thank you for your question. First, I would like to commend you for your desire to become more spiritual. Being more spiritual is always a worthy and righteous desire of the heart, and one that we should be actively seeking after.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, speaking on Seeking the Good referred to the Articles of Faith and said:
The last part of the thirteenth article states, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
The word seek means to go in search of, try to discover, try to acquire. It requires an active, assertive approach to life. For example, Abraham “sought for the blessings of the fathers…and to be a greater follower of righteousness.” (Abr 1:2) It is the opposite of passively waiting for something good to come to us, with no effort on our part.
As you read Doctrine & Covenants Section 88, let it not trouble or confuse you any longer. Let’s take a look at a couple of thoughts regarding that section. Using Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, (2002), 197–206 It states:
D&C 88:62-65. What is a Proper Prayer?
Smith and Sjodahl wrote:
“There are too many who call upon the Lord only in their expediency (expediency: the quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral) when they, in desperation need His help. To these he may not be near, but may be slow to hearken to their pleadings. (D&C 101:7-8)
“Prayer is the most wonderful institution in the kingdom of God, and none was more familiar with it than the Prophet Joseph. But there are many who have no higher conception of it than to regard it as only a means whereby to obtain gifts from God, most often of a material character. Is the gift bestowed? Then the prayer is answered. Is it withheld? Then God did not hear. ‘Such theory,’ as one has said, ‘is obviously too simple and superficial to be true. Prayer is more subtle than this doctrine implies. It may be described as the soul speaking to God and hearing God speak to it. It is, therefore, the deepest and the most wonderful act of which a man is capable, for in it the whole universe is, as it were, concentrated.’ …
“Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name.’ That is the prayer that is acceptable to God. To pray in the name of the Lord is to ask as one belonging to Him – one accepted by Him. It is to pray according to the dictation of His Spirit. Such prayers God will hear and grant, if ‘expedient for you.’ There is quite a difference between the mechanical petition of a street beggar and the request of one who is a friend of the son in the house. The latter is treated as a the son. What is good for him he will receive.
Bishop Hall says:
“What God requires and looks at, is neither the arithmetic of our prayers (how many that are); not the rhetoric of our prayers (how eloquent they be); nor the geometry of our prayers (how long they be); nor the music of our prayers (how sweet our voice may be); nor the logic, nor the method, nor even the orthodoxy of our prayers.”
God looks to our welfare, even when He does not give us that for which we ask. If we were to pray for, and receive what is not good for us, it would be for our condemnation”
(Commentary, pp. 551-52)
Is there a time when being truly more spiritual is a bad thing? No. Is there a time when being blessed with a spiritual gift is “not good for us?” No, there is not if our desire for those these gifts originates from a worthy/pure motive. Praying for and seeking spiritual gifts because of worthy/pure desires is expedient for us all, and therefore does not qualify for condemnation.
President George Q. Cannon:
“Every man and woman in the Church of Christ can have the gifts of the Spirit of God divided to them according to their faith and as God will…
…If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections. If I am an angry man, it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind. Am I an envious man? It is my duty to seek for charity, which envieth not.”
It is our duty to seek after gifts of the Spirit that will bless our lives and the lives of others around us. We are not to seek gifts of the Spirit for unrighteous/vain reasons. I would encourage you to continue to pray to become more spiritual Anne. As you pray for this don’t allow yourself to become discouraged if things don’t come as fast as you would like. If and when our Heavenly Father sees fit to bless us for our righteous desires, he will. Also, as you stated trust in our Heavenly Father because, “God’s wisdom is better”. Please remember a wonderful quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell:
“Faith in God includes faith in God’s timing“
Thank you again for your question Anne.