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By Jeff Borders
Is it selfish to ask for help if you haven’t prayed in a while?
I’m grateful for your sincere question. I think it is safe to say that you are not the only one who has ever felt this way. I have felt this way before when my own prayers are lacking. Sometimes we judge ourselves too harshly and consider ourselves unworthy of God’s love, especially if we haven’t reached out to speak with Him in a long time.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we view God as our literal Heavenly Father, and I think building from this assumption can help to answer your question.
I can’t help but think of my own relationship with my parents. If I don’t speak to them for some time and then go to them to ask them for something, they don’t scoff at me or scorn me for my failure to communicate. No, they embrace me and seek to help me, because they have an unconditional love for me.
The same holds true for our Heavenly Father. He loves us and desires to hear from his children. In his infinite wisdom, he also knows the frailties of mortality, and he understands that we will more than once in our lifetimes fail to communicate with him. When we finally find ourselves seeking him through prayer, he doesn’t turn away from us or punish us. Instead, he reaches out to us, seeking to draw us closer.
In addition, we must understand the whole point of prayer in the first place. Prayer is a two-way communication between you and God. Prayer is a time to offer praise, be thankful and express gratitude, and yes, ask for things that we may not feel worthy to receive, or even be ready to receive.
So, no I don’t think it is selfish to ask for help when you haven’t prayed in a while. I think Heavenly Father wants you to reach out and express the desires of your heart.
But we also must understand that an answer to our prayers may or may not come when we want it to, or it may come in a different way than we think it should. Answers to prayers require patience, and ultimately more prayer to understand the direction given through the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
It’s also important to understand that the answers to our prayers will ultimately lie where our desires and God’s desires for us are in harmony. And that can sometimes be hard to reconcile. Where our desire may be the help to overcome a particular trial or relieve our pain and suffering, God’s desire for us may be growth and progression. What lies between those two is what we can learn; patience, endurance, charity, and a firm reliance on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
In the end, if you are feeling unworthy of answers, don’t be afraid to express that to God, because He is your Father and He wants to know how you feel. You don’t have to sugar coat your feelings for Him. He wants to know our ups and downs. And through our honest, open, and regular communication with Him, we will develop a relationship that can carry us through our mortal existence, and we can gain access to the most incredible and loving power in the universe.