Dear 100 Hour Board,
My niece recently auditioned for and got a part in a non religious play at her public high school. Apparently, the teacher decided on the roles, then prayed about the roles for confirmation. This is a school in Spanish Fork.
Is this weird? Does this seem like overkill or a maybe a tinge inappropriate? Or is it just because I didn't grow up in Utah schools? Or am I just the worst because I don't ask for HF's blessing in all of my choices like what to wear in the morning, which restaurant to go to on a date, or which section of Pilates I should take? Because those are the sorts of decisions I would lump "who should be this part in a play" in with.
Has any general authority commented on what we need to be taking to the Lord and what might be taking it too far?
I think that it would not be inappropriate for her to pray about the roles. If she feels like that that is something that she wants to do, then go for it. It might be a little over the top, but not something that I would deem inappropriate. However, the moment that she used the fact that she prayed about them to justify her decisions at all, that would be inappropriate in my opinion. And I can't imagine telling anyone that you prayed over the roles without it being at least a little bit manipulative. Or, at least, it could easily come across that way. So I would say, if you're going to do it, fine. Just don't tell people about it.
Keep it real,
I'm with Sherpa. You can pray about whatever you want, but I don't think it's really appropriate to talk about it in this setting. But I disagree with the idea of restricting what people can pray about. I can see where it would a be serious concern for the teacher and we all have different things we care deeply about. This teacher probably wants to make sure the production goes as well as possible, and that he or she creates the best experience for the students. If there was a student whose life could be influenced for the better by certain theater experiences, I would definitely want to know. I've heard so many people talk about how formative theater was for them so that's not surprising to me.
I've been looking for General Authority statements about this. I feel like I remember some words about it but I can't find or remember them. I've seen, however, an overwhelming number of statements about praying all the time about anything and everything.
It's important that we all feel like we can pray about absolutely anything we worry about. It is "not meet that [we be commanded] in all things." You are 100% right about that. But I think that has more to do with getting answers. I don't think it's about restricting how we pray. Who are we to tell what's important enough for God to hear? Maybe he does have something to say about our dumb little decisions. But we also shouldn't get hung up if we're "not getting an answer." It could be that the Lord just isn't worried about it. You don't need to be commanded in that thing.
I pray about dating often because that's what freaks me out. I feel kind of dumb for doing it because it doesn't seem like boys should be such a huge issue. But I can feel Him listening and feel a "Glad you're keeping in touch, but it's really up to you. You'll do fine." kind of response. Sometimes he will tell me I'm looking beyond the mark though. He listens, quiets my fears, and then adds "How's your brother? Don't forget to pray about other people too."
Your restaurant example is a good one. I'm not in the habit of praying about the restaurant to go to. But if I had a sudden prompting to do that, I would. Maybe I'll avoid a car accident or run into a friend who needs me. Or what if I have goals for my diet that are important for my health and I need support making the healthy choice?
You never know. People need different things. As long as we don't fixate on any kind of distraction we should pray about anything we want.
I'm just dredging up a past answer here, specifically Board Question #82668; I feel it's relevant.
Is it really necessary to pray about every decision?
According to Elder Dallin H. Oaks,
Closely related to [the person who seek answers to questions God has not chosen to answer] is the person who has a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but who unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable.
We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment. Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of false revelation. Revelation from God is a sacred reality, but like other sacred things, it must be cherished and used properly so that a great strength does not become a disabling weakness.
Of course, some people push the whole being "led in all things" to another level. Said Elder Oaks on yet another occasion,
I once heard a young woman in testimony meeting praise the spirituality of her husband, indicating that he submitted every question to the Lord. She told how he accompanied her shopping and would not even choose between different brands of canned vegetables without making his selection a matter of prayer. That strikes me as improper. I believe the Lord expects us to use the intelligence and experience he has given us to make these kinds of choices.
Sing it, Elder Oaks. And a hearty amen.