I have been having a lot of experiences lately where I have felt the guidance of the Lord, either through thoughts that come to me or through answers to my prayers. They have been both experiences of not listening and following these thoughts, as well as those times when I have listened and followed and thus realized the blessing or tender mercy extended to me or realized my prayers were answered. This morning I had another couple such experiences and as I did the dishes I thought over these experiences for a few minutes.
They were nothing monumental, in fact, eternally, and perhaps even temporally, they were quite inconsequential. But what struck me as I thought about them is how amazing it is to me that the Lord does care enough and know us and our lives so well as to be able to prompt us and direct us, even if it is merely for our convenience, and not just due to some danger or emergency.
I pray over many things. Little things. Things many people might not think to pray about. Sometimes I feel like an old Saturday Night Live skit I saw as a kid, making fun of a woman in her kitchen praying over everything...that her eggs wouldn't burn, that her coffee wouldn't be cold. I don't believe that I take it to that extreme, but I do find myself speaking silent prayers over many seemingly small things. And I realized this morning, that even when I haven't prayed for a specific direction, I receive thoughts or inspiration over seemingly small things too.
Why would this be? I wondered. Why would my Heavenly Father who sees all the sorrow and pain in the world, still prompt me so often on things that were only for my convenience, not my safety or eternal salvation? I felt amazed by this and the scripture in Matt. 7:7 came into my mind, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Perhaps because I pray over small things, because I ask, that is why I receive direction in small things. Perhaps because I have learned from a few too many experiences of not listening to my promptings, but dismissing them instead as my own thoughts, and because I have now tried to follow them, even if they seem ridiculous or hard, perhaps that is why I continue to receive such direction.
I'm sure others have these thoughts and perhaps they also dismiss them as their own silly thoughts, and don't recognize them as a loving Heavenly Father trying to guide them. This morning as I pondered all this I thought, perhaps it is my growing recognition of His hand in my life that makes it possible for me to follow and to receive more and more of it. The scripture came to my mind: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understnding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). I know this is true. He will guide us as much as we allow it and recognize it as from Him.
Whenever I recognize a blessing or tender mercy, no matter how small, I say as silent prayer of thanks to my Father in Heaven. I want Him to know I realize His hand in small things and that I truly am grateful for everything He does for me. Gratitude and acknowledgment seem to be keys to continued guidance and answers to prayers. Perhaps it is not just that He is more likely to grant it when we are grateful and acknowledge His hand in our lives, but also because we are more apt to see and recognize the many blessings He gives each of us every day.