How Can Two People Ask the Same Question  

and Come Up With Two Answers from the Lord?

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2004

According to D&C 9:8-9 if you take something to the Lord after you have studied it out and have come to a decision, you will receive an answer (burning in the bosom or stupor of thought) whether the thing you are asking for is right or wrong. I thought I understood that part but was recently asked this question. How can two people ask about the same thing and come up with two opposite answers? Could it be the way (wording) the two individuals have asked? What if they both kneel, down together, and ask the question together and still come with different answers?  Could it possibly be right for one and not the other? I'm so confused on this one. I've been searching for an answer or at least some insight on this subject. Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

- Confused


Dear Confused,

There are as many answers for this phenomenon as there are questions.  It is not wonder you are confused on the matter.  I will try to explain:

A month ago when my daughter was asking God if her sweetheart was the one He wanted her to marry.  I had been following the relationship and had prayed often and gotten the answer – Yes.  I will get to her answer later.

I had a right to that answer because she was my child.  Some people pray for answers to things that they have no right to.  In those cases the Lord is simply saying “No,” because He was not going to answer that for that individual.

Some people do not understand who they are able get answers to prayers for.  When a person puts himself in a position under another in a boss-employee situation or a counselor-counselee situation; the boss and counselor have limited inspiration for the employee and counselee. 

The boss has the right for inspiration for that employee in the realm of the work situation and his personal life as it touches the realm of work, but not for other parts of his personal life.  The counselor has the right for inspiration for the counselee for the parameters of the problem which is being worked on.  This, however, may bleed over into many facets of the counselee’s life and many problems have their origin in many areas of our lives.

I knew that I had a right to inspiration for my family, but I came to find out that that just didn’t mean my immediate family I was raising, but also my family of origin as I was responsible as much as possible to help my siblings and their families to become the best people they could be, and also my family before me (my progenitors) as I needed to find out who they were (inspiration in tracing my lineage) and make their life lessons part of our family so we could learn from them.

Back to my daughter’s problem… My daughter couldn’t get answer until a couple of months later; it was not until her very cautious sweetheart was ready to except the answer the Lord was ready to give him.  God knew if He answered her question months before her sweetheart was ready, that that would be more frustrating for her to know months in advance of her sweetheart, than just making her wait.

When my husband was in the Air Force, it was time to fill out a dream-sheet of where we would like the Air Force to move us on our next move.  We both prayed about it and got the same answer – “Washington state!”  We confidently fill out the dream-sheet with that answer.  

A few days later the people from personnel called and said that that choice was not available to us at this time.  We asked them to check again, because we were sure that was where the Lord wanted us to go.  They did and the answer was the same.  They gave us the choice of several places and Anchorage, AK.  The other places were dreadful and AK brought visions of cold, igloos, log cabins, and dog-mushing to our minds.  We didn’t know what to do, so we took it back to the Lord. 

We came to realize that we were indeed supposed to go to Washington, just not right now.  For now, He wanted us to go to AK.  We learned that you can ask a question and get an answer that doesn’t necessarily mean the answer was for the time you were asking for.  We learned that we had to very specific when we asked a question so we would get a specific answer for what we needed.

For example my daughter and her sweetheart came to the conclusion that they really cared for each other.  She suggested to him that they pray to see if they should get married.  He thought that was a great idea and suggested and suggested that they, “Pray for enlightenment.”  How vague is that???  She got the feeling she would have to wait for an answer and he got absolutely nothing, which is exactly what he was asking for with such a vague question.

The way a person perceives an answer is something to factor in.  My daughter’s sweetheart dated her for seven months before he realized his answer.  He was thinking the Lord should give a “thunder and lightening bolt answer, which he was not receiving.  He finally did some very serious fasting and praying and got the thought that the Lord had already answered his prayer.  He the thought came to him, that he had heard some years back.  It was this, “Why would the Lord use thunder and lighting, when a gentle breeze will do the trick?”  The Lord helped him to realize that He had been sending him gentle breeze answers since the fourth month of their dating, and he had not listened or interpreted it appropriately.

As you can see for this example, you have to be open to the answer and except what the Lord is willing to give, not what you want or expect Him to give you.  Also, this example shows that we can receive thoughts to guide us, when it is needed.  We can often mistake this guidance as our own thinking.  You can tell these from your own thinking or thought coming from Satan.  The thoughts from God will continue to persist until you make a decision one way or the other.  After the decision is made, the thoughts will go away, unlike Satan who continues to persuade people to do wrong things. The Lord’s thoughts are accompanied with the feeling of rightness and/or peace. 

Since you can be influenced by the thought from good and bad sources, it is always a good thing to pray and check if what you are receiving is the right thing for you to do, at this time.  Of course be specific!  Example:  The think I was just thinking, (whatever it was) is that what you want me to do now?…or the way I should go at this time?

You asked about the scenario of two praying together and coming up with different answers, how that could be?  It could be a combination of the things I discussed above. 

Whatever the reason for the different answers, it is obvious that the Lord must be consulted.  Getting an answer should not be like using a toy eight ball to get a glimpse of answers, but a two way correspondence with God. 

It could be that God gives us vague answers so we will learn to consult with Him more often and learn to trust Him.  Many people open the day with prayer and never close it, but instead consult with the Lord in all that they do, throughout the day.  In essence the Lord become their best friend and confident and thereby guides their lives. 

The bottom line, however, in understanding the answer to prayers is to take it back to the source for clarification whenever you get an answer to a prayer.  If in doubt, ask the Lord!

I hope this answers your questions.

Best wishes,

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

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