For awhile we used, (and sometimes still do), delicious Cliff Kids fruit ropes or, as LJ calls them, "blue snacks", to motivate him to get into his car seat. A few weeks ago, I was really wanting to give him the snack because I knew it would make him happy. It got me thinking to how Heavenly Father really wants to bless us but there are some prerequisites. And, just like I want LJ to accomplish the prerequisites for a blue snack, Heavenly Father wants us to complete the prerequisites he has given us.
One of our amazing Bishops really drove this home for us during our tithing settlement meeting. He talked about the blessings of paying tithing and read the usual scripture from Malachi. He then asked us, "So...what blessing do you want?" It was a very foreign concept to come up with a "wish list" of blessings. We decided on something and our Bishop asked if we could kneel in prayer with him while he asked for us to receive that blessing as we diligently and faithfully paid our tithing over the coming year. He explained that as we express our righteous desires to our Heavenly Father and tell him the things we are willing to do to receive his guidance, that we should expect to receive those blessings as long as they are according to the will of the Lord. In this instance, the very specific blessing was realized within a couple of months and now, looking back, I can see how it later was realized in an even more magnificent way than I had imagined.
In regards to knowing if our requested blessing is in line with the will of the Lord, LJ and I had a related parenting moment. The other day, he came downstairs in the morning and asked to have a popsicle for breakfast. I don't entirely remember what I said, but I know that I thought, "No way, dude! That is a ridiculous request!" It got me wondering how many times I prayed for something or another and Heavenly Father thought, "No way, dude! That is a ridiculous request!" I'd like to think that I've gotten better at not making such requests. Part of that is that I've grown up and have finally realized that my plan is usually not the best plan and that the easy road is usually not the one I need to take in order to become the person I need to be. The other part is that I've learned to request help in knowing what to request. If we are prayerful in deciding what blessings would be helpful, then we can move forward with confidence that they will be in line with the will of the Lord. And, we can expect to receive those blessings as we diligently work towards them.
If you are interested in a more in depth look at this concept, I would strongly suggest the book "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven" by Grant Von Harrison.