Archive

Archive for the ‘Talks’ Category

When I pray how do I know my prayers are answered?

January 24, 2011 1 comment

This was the subject of my talk I had to give in church today and one of the Missionaries talked about the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Now neither one of us talked with the choir ester about the subject of our talks nor did the Bishopric tell her what the talks were on but the music was a perfect fit with our talks, First was “Did You Think to Pray” #140, the Intermediate Hymn was “Be Thou Humble” # 130 which references a scripture I quoted in my talk and the closing Hymn was “Let they Holy Spirit Guide” # 143 which Elder Thompson quoted.  This just proves that the Holy Spirit guided each of us in our talks and song selection.

Well here is my talk.

Good Morning, My name is Deb Smith and my husband is Ed Smith, we just moved back to the area the end of August with our son Ben and Daughter Lynn and her son Xavier.  We have a total of 6 children and 10 grandchildren of which 9 are boys.  We are converts to the church and were baptized in 1990 starting out in the Baraboo Branch before they got their chapel.  We then moved to the Madison area in 1992 and in 2000 I took a job with AT&T and moved to New Jersey where we were for 3 years and then I was able to transfer to the office in Minneapolis bringing us closer to home.  For the past 4 years I have been able to telecommute and work from home, and only going into the office once per quarter and now with some things happening and the prompting of the Spirit we are back here in Wisconsin by our families.

I was asked to answer this question: When I pray how do I know my prayers are being answered?

Prayer is one of the greatest blessings we have while we are here on earth. We can communicate with our Heavenly Father and seek his guidance daily through prayer.

As we pray to our Heavenly Father, we should tell him what we really feel in our hearts, confide in him, ask him for forgiveness, plead with him, thank him, and express our love for him. We should not repeat meaningless words and phrases (see Matthew 6:7-8). We should always ask that his will be done, remembering that what we desire may not be best for us (see 3 Nephi 18:20). At the end of our prayer, we close in the name of Jesus Christ (see 3 Nephi 18:19).

We are all children of God and He loves us and knows our needs, He wants us to communicate with him through prayer.  As we make a habit of approaching God in prayer, we will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Our desires will become more like His. We will be able to secure for ourselves and for others blessing that He is ready to give if we will just ask in faith.

Answers to prayer come in many ways. They often come through a still, small voice of the Holy Ghost. They may come in the circumstances of our lives or through the kind acts of those around us.  When I had applied to work for AT&T, I actually had two branch locations I was talking to. One in NJ and one in Indiana, I wanted the one in Indiana because it was closer and had prayed that I would hear from them first with an offer. But the Lord knew better, I received an offer from NJ and Indiana was delayed due to seeing if the budget would allow them to offer me a job.  Later I discovered that NJ was the choice,  a year and half later there was a large work force reduction by 50 % and I would have been let go if I was in Indiana but because my current job was opened for the 50 % of us NJ I still have a job today, that was 8 years ago. As we continue to draw near to our Heavenly Father through prayer, we will recognize more readily His merciful and wise answers to our pleadings. We will find that he is our “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Our Heavenly Father is always ready to hear and answer our prayers. Our sincere prayers are always answered. Sometimes the answer may be no, because what we have asked for would not be best for us. Sometimes the answer is yes, and we have a warm, comfortable feeling about what we should do (see D&C 9:8-9). Sometimes the answer is “wait a while.” Our prayers are always answered at a time and in a way that the Lord knows will help us the most.

Sometimes the Lord answers our prayers through other people. A good friend, a husband or wife, a parent or other family member, a Church leader, a missionary—any of these individuals may be inspired to perform acts that will answer our prayers. An example of this is the experience of a young mother whose baby was injured in an accident at home. She had no way to get the baby to a doctor. She was new in the neighborhood and did not know her neighbors. The young mother prayed for help. In a few minutes, a neighbor lady came to the door, saying, “I had a feeling I should come and see if you needed any help.” The neighbor helped the young mother get the baby to a doctor.

Sometimes answers to prayer are not recognized because we are too intent on wanting confirmation for our own desires. We fail to see that the Lord would have us do something else. Be careful to seek his will.

Often God gives us the power to help answer our own prayers. As we pray for help, we should do all we can to bring about the things we desire. As we live the gospel of Jesus Christ and pray always, we will have joy and happiness. “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10).

Sometimes we already have an answer available before we kneel down to pray. The Lord expects us to search the scriptures and the words of living prophets. For example, a healthy Latter-day Saint young man does not need to ask if he should go on a mission. The Lord has already spoken clearly on that matter.  It has been said that if we want to talk to the Lord, we pray. If we want the Lord to speak to us, we read the scriptures and the words of the living prophets.

Often the Lord requires us to use our own judgment, and therefore He lovingly and tutorial withholds an answer. When he withholds an answer it is not for lack of concern, but because the Lord loves us perfectly. He wants us to apply truths He has given us. For us to grow, we need to trust our ability to make correct decisions. We need to do what we feel is right.  In time, He will answer. He will not fail us.

The Savior taught, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8) Heavenly Father hears our prayers. He may not always answer as we expect, but He does answer – in His own time and according to His will. Because He knows what is best for us, He may sometimes answer no, even when our petitions are sincere.

He is our perfect Father; He loves us beyond our capacity to understand. He knows what is best for us, He sees the end from the beginning. He wants us to act to gain needed experience:

When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.

When He answers no, it is to prevent error.

When he withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act. Most often what we have chosen to do is right. He will confirm the correctness of our choices His way. That confirmation generally comes through packets of help found along the way. We discover them by being spiritually sensitive. They are like notes from a loving Father as evidence of His approval. If, in trust we begin something which is not right. He will let us know before we have gone too far. We sense that help by recognizing troubled or uneasy feelings.

I am grateful that this dispensation was opened because a young man believed in God and asked in prayer for direction. It is today as it has been from the beginning and will be until the end of time: God hears and answers prayers He is willing to grant us wisdom and help as soon as we are ready to receive. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Advertisements
Categories: Talks Tags: ,