My wife and I were doing some work in an LDS Temple a couple of weekends ago, and part of the ceremony we were involved in focused on the promises we make to each other and to God when we get married to each other. In particular, my mind was keyed in to two phrases:
* the Husband’s promise: To RECEIVE this woman to be your wife, for time and all eternity.
* the Wife’s promise: To give yourself and RECEIVE this man to be your husband, for time and all eternity.
Somehow, my mind turned to the word RECEIVE, and I learned something new.
When a man RECEIVES his wife, he opens up his heart and himself to her and EMBRACES her COMPLETELY. That means, all her strengths, her weaknesses, her dispositions, her annoyances, her beauty and her flaws, her past…present…as well as whatever her future will be, all her “good” as well as all her “needs-some-work”. That EMBRACE encompasses ALL OF HER…with ALL OF HIM. Not only will he cherish her for all of the good that is about her, but he will be a safe haven for everything about her that isn’t always the most desired. He will protect ALL of HER…from outside as well as inside attacks. And he chooses to do this…willingly…for all of TIME…as well as for the rest of ETERNITY (which means, past this life). And in that tender embrace, she becomes a part of him. His closed embrace “seals” that completion. That’s quite a commitment.
The same applies to the woman who must GIVE her SELF to him…COMPLETELY, WILLINGLY…while, at the same time, RECEIVING HIM…COMPLETELY. That means, she allows herself to BE EMBRACED, while she WILLINGLY EMBRACES HIM…in his entirety. All his good, his strengths, his current handsomeness, and his needs-some-work…now, and later on. She becomes a SAFE HAVEN for him to work out his imperfections…protecting him from outside as well as inside attacks. This she willingly chooses to do…for Time…and all Eternity. And in that tender embrace, she becomes his….and he becomes a part of her. Her closed embrace “seals” his embrace.
In Receiving each other, both become willing partners in this EMBRACE of LOVE, this shield of Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Long-suffering, Trust, Hope. Indeed, it is the welcoming, open arms of un-conditional, un-manipulated Love. In receiving each other completely, they complete each other in ways they will have yet to discover.
I kinda envision this RECEIVING EMBRACE in the story of the Prodigal Son….where the father runs to his wayward son who has chosen to return…and the father lovingly, tenderly, embraces the son whose hands, head, and heart now hang low. It is that embrace that lifts this son from Rebellious, to Repentant. It is the embrace that welcomes you home and makes you a part of Home.
This is what it means to truly RECEIVE:
Welcoming, Open Arms, Embrace, Taking Into One’s Heart, and Protecting, Cherishing, Preserving, Treasuring, and Loving who…or what…was received. We become automatically accountable for that which we have received.
In Praying To God
So when I read this scripture that said:
And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.
…it hit me in a different way.
Usually, whenever we read this, we understand it to mean that when we pray for something, and we claim to “have faith”, we believe we’re gonna get an answer . So, we wait to get an answer.
And we’re usually disappointed when we feel like we haven’t gotten an answer.
Please consider this:
1. “…Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right” : This is the part where we’re making a request from God (ask the Father), using Christ’s credentials (in my name), but is also a righteous request (which is right).
We’re not just asking for stuff willy-nilly. We’re not asking for something bad or against what God would do or anything that would go against God. We’re going to make a request as if Christ was going to the Father to make that request in our behalf. This request that we’re about to make…is it good, is it right, and is it what Christ would request of God for us, and is it something that would agree with what God would want for us?
* “…believing that…” : For me, to ‘believe’ means that I’m willing to accept something. I’m open to the idea. I’m willing to entertain that idea. I’m willing to test it out, try it out….in essence, I’m willing to prove it. I haven’t done so, yet…but I’m open to it.
* “…ye shall receive…” : This is where it changes for me. The scripture doesn’t say, ” ye shall be given” at this point. Nope. It says that I shall RECEIVE. And that means, that I’m going to EMBRACE whatever is given to me. I’m going to cherish, protect, love, and honor…indeed, even TREASURE this answer given to me by God. Whatever this answer is, it’s gonna mean THAT MUCH to me. Whatever it is, I’m going to be fully accountable to it, and that I will INTERNALIZE it, whole-heartedly, willingly.
So, let’s go back and put everything together.
If I’m going to make a request from God when I pray to Him, is this request a good and right thing? Is this request something that God would be willing to give me? Is this something Christ would request God in my behalf if he did the asking?
And then…would I be open enough, willing enough to accept an answer from God? And, when He does answer me, would I be willing to embrace that answer whole-heartedly and willingly? Would I do something about that answer? Preserve it? Protect it? Use it to do something good…for not only my benefit, but also to benefit others?
Because,….if that is so…then we get the last part of that scripture: “behold it shall be given unto you.”
Here’s what I know:
I know that God is waiting to answer our prayers. He will hear every prayer that is said, but only those who pray with “real intent”….meaning, those who pray with a true intent to do something good with the answers that are provided to them, those who treasure in their hearts (embrace) those answers that will be given to them…then God will be most happy to provide that which we truly seek.
Those who pray for curiosity’s sake, or feel like they just have to pray, without really intending to do something productive, without feeling and without heart…will find themselves empty. Unanswered. God doesn’t want us to trifle with Him. He doesn’t want us to ask of something…and we think we’ll always get whatever we request. There’s too much at stake. Too much of His love to just be thrown away or cast aside as just another answer.
Those who pray for something good that is according to what God wants for us, with the intent to truly embrace the answer…and the responsibility and ramifications associated with that answer…will get what they request.
Those who pray to find God, who are truly seeking Him and wish to come to Him, will find that He will answer them….because He truly wants that relationship with them.
Those that seek Him…will receive Him…and embrace Him.
And they, in turn, will find themselves….embraced, protected, upheld, and treasured…indeed, RECEIVED…by the very God they seek.