By Delisa Hargrove.
Probably because of recent devastation throughout the world, friends on social media have loudly questioned if God lives and answers prayers.
I’ve always believed in God. I believe that I am His child. I believe that you are His child. I believe that He is interested in my life—my hopes, dreams, challenges, and weaknesses–and yours. He answers my prayers. I know He will answer yours.
I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently called the Mormon Church), and have read the scriptural accounts of miraculous answers to prayers: the children of Israel’s escape through the Red Sea (Exodus 14); the woman with an issue of blood healed by touching Jesus’s garments (Matthew 9:20-22); the brother of Jared’s people escaping darkness (Ether 3); Joseph Smith’s vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in answer to his humble prayer about which church to join (Joseph Smith History 1:15-16).
There are so many ways Heavenly Father answers prayers. A few years ago, church leader President Henry B. Eyring’s comments about remembering the hand of God in our lives really struck a chord with me:
My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness…You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done.
The challenge to remember has always been the hardest for those who are blessed abundantly. Those who are faithful to God are protected and prospered. That comes as the result of serving God and keeping His commandments. But with those blessings comes the temptation to forget their source. It is easy to begin to feel the blessings were granted not by a loving God on whom we depend but by our own powers.
There have been times when I wondered if my prayers ever made it through the ceiling on their way heavenward. But, as I’ve followed President Eyring’s counsel, not only have I noticed God’s hand in my life more often, but now I recognize how consistently He answers my prayers.
My prayers consist of four parts:
Addressing God as my Father: “Dear Heavenly Father”
I thank Him for blessings: “I thank thee for….”
I ask Him for needs: “I ask thee for….”
Close in the name of Christ: “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Here are a few 7 examples of how diversely my prayers have been answered during the past 7 months.
1 – “I Will Tell You In Your Mind and In Your Heart” (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2).
The other day, I met a vivacious woman who recently had her first child and is now back at work. She offhandedly mentioned her exhaustion. I cannot even comprehend the kind of exhaustion felt by a mom whose baby doesn’t sleep through the night—for months. I feel a little bit crazy after losing one night’s sleep.
A few days later, after my morning prayers asking who I could serve, the thought came to my mind to take her dinner. I expected to just take a meal she could throw in the fridge or freezer for later, but when I texted her my intention, she wrote back that she was home sick and a meal would be perfect for her family. Through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, God answered my prayers to serve.
2 – “Succor the Weak, Lift Up the Hands Which Hang Down, and Strengthen the Feeble Knees” (Doctrine and Covenants 81:5).
Recently, I was asked to play the organ for Sunday church services. I’ve played the organ for church before and decided that no other form of church service can humble (or humiliate) me so quickly. There’s something about inadvertently pipe-blasting a congregation that draws unwanted attention. However, knowing that God qualifies and magnifies those who willingly serve, I accepted the assignment. My first Sunday, I felt so nervous that I thought I would faint. Anthony pulled me into a pew and prayed with me. I felt weak, my hands hung down, and my knees were definitely feeble. Then, I walked up and played the best I could, and prayed that my offering would be accepted by God. That afternoon, I received two heaven-sent emails that witnessed that the Lord was aware of me. Two wonderful people followed His prompting to send me emails thanking me for playing the organ and which answered my prayer.
God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. … So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds! Spencer W. Kimball
3 – “For It Was Given Unto Them What They Should Pray” (3 Nephi 19:24)
We all need to feel that our lives our purposeful! One of ways I really feel purpose and meaning in my life is when I share my faith in God. I want to be an effective witness of Him. I felt that I needed to pray for something tangible to happen in that regard. A door suddenly swung open. I came in contact with More Good Foundation, whose sole purpose is to declare faith in God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the restored Church of Jesus Christ, and how living the Gospel of Jesus Christ impacts lives. I love being a part of such a wonderful cause!
4 – “Repent and Call Upon God In the Name of the Son” (Moses 5:8).
One beautiful Sunday morning, I felt particularly weighed down by my recurring sins and weaknesses. As the church service began, I silently pled for God’s forgiveness (again.) During the Sacramental hymn, the Holy Spirit profoundly testified to me that through Christ, I can be free from sin.
We’ll sing all hail to Jesus’ name, And praise and honor give
To him who bled on Calvary’s hill And died that we might live.
He passed the portals of the grave; Salvation was his song;
He called upon the sin-bound soul To join the heav’nly throng.
I am the sin-bound soul. Salvation is His song and He offers it freely to me!!
He seized the keys of death and hell And bruised the serpent’s head;
He bid the prison doors unfold, the grave yield up her dead.
The bread and water represent His sacrifice for sin;
Ye Saints, partake and testify Ye do remember him.
“We’ll Sing All Hail to Jesus’ Name” Hymn 182
I felt prison doors unfold for me at that moment because of His sacrifice for my sin. He forgave me again and through the Holy Spirit, I felt His peace.
5 – “Trust In the Lord With All Thine Heart; and Lean Not Unto Thine Own Understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
After our move from Hawaii to Utah, Anthony and I lived in my parents’ basement while looking for a place to live. We prayed that God would lead us to a spot that would feel like home and where we could be of service to Him. We felt led to a neighborhood we loved and a house that seemed perfect! Our offer was accepted. We were so excited! Then, everything unraveled. The open door slammed shut. Confused, we wondered how we could have misunderstood God’s answers to our prayers so completely. The situation didn’t make sense to us. We decided that we had received and followed promptings received from God and that we should continue to trust in Him. We lived with the folks a few more months and then felt compelled to look again. Within two days, we found a spot in an even more perfect location. Another couple had dibs on the home, but changed their minds. What a miraculous answer to prayer!
6 – “Whatsoever Ye Shall Ask in My Name, That Will I Do” John 14:13
Anthony manages a premium speaker and home theater store. Traffic in the store drastically declined in August. He felt pressure from corporate to meet and exceed the store goals. Together we prayed that the Lord would direct people for whom the product was right into the store. Traffic counts remained low, but the customers visiting the store purchased merchandise. In September, his store was the corporation’s #1 store in the nation!
7 – “The Comforter…Shall…Bring All Things To Your Remembrance” (John 14:26).
Trying to always have a prayer of help in my heart enables me to be more open to the Holy Spirit’s reminders of things I need to know or do. This morning, as I headed out the door, the Spirit gently reminded me to grab something I would need later in the day. I would have been hugely inconvenienced had I forgotten the item.
The importance of each prayer answered varied from critical to nice, but constantly demonstrates to me how mindful God is of me!
My favorite prayer is one of total thanksgiving! I feel such joy when I spend a few moments focused on thanking God for everything in my life!
God lives and He will answer your prayers! When I first learned to pray, I really didn’t know what to pray for. This scripture taught me that God listens to absolutely any prayer offered!
Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day (Alma 37:36-37).
I invite you to visit with Mormon missionaries to answer any questions you may have about prayer and the existence of God! You can also visit comeuntochrist.org to ask questions and find out more about what Mormons believe.