Texas Sunset beside the pool
I’d like to share with you a story about a little eight year old boy named Jordan. This boy is pretty special, because he is my oldest son who is now 27. Back then he had a best friend whose name was also Jordan. The two would play all of the time and were inseparable. One day the two Jordan’s decided that they wanted to ride their bikes to school for the first time. I watched that morning as they rode down the street until I couldn’t see them any more.
When school was over my Jordan could not find his friend. Hesitantly he got on his bike and started in the direction of what he thought was home. As he rode down the streets soon fear overcame him as he realized he did not recognize anything around him. Scared and alone he stopped, got off his bike, and found a little grassy area.
Not knowing what to do or which way to go he remembered that he was not alone and that Heavenly Father was watching over him. With a humble heart and mustering all of the faith he had, he prayed, asking Heavenly Father to please help guide him home.
When he arrived home that day he recounted to me that he got back on his bike and started riding down the street to the corner. At each crossroad he would say another prayer and the spirit would prompt him as to which way he should turn. This happened several times until he was finally on our street and safely back home.
Our oldest son Jordan
Heavenly Father hears our prayers no matter where we are, even if we are in the belly of a fish, he can hear our prayers. Jonah 2:1 says “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God”. We know that the prophet Jonah’s prayers were heard even while in the depths of the ocean. Whether you are lost in the ocean, are uncertain of which choice to make, or which way to go, Heavenly Father will guide us all on the correct pathway when we go to him in prayer. He is always there for us and we are never, ever alone.
When we pray to our Heavenly Father, He can offer us strength, hope and assurance. In the book of Mosiah chapters 23 & 24, righteous people were enslaved by wicked men who forced them to carry heavy loads. The people cried unto the Lord and they were then blessed with spiritual as well as physical strength. Their burdens were made light so “they could bear them up…with ease, and they did submit cheerfully with patience to all the will of the Lord.” In a similar manner, God strengthens us through prayer to carry our own burdens and assures us that He will fulfill His promises.
About five years ago I had something very similar happen to me. Back then I had all five of my children still home and was also working full-time at a very demanding job. The office I worked at needed me to run the entire show. This meant that I had to be there to unlock in the morning and also lock up at night. Some days I would be gone for 12 hours straight. After several months of this the burden became too much to bear. I felt as if my world was falling apart. I was gone all day and would come home to a huge home to clean, I was missing out on many of my children’s activities, and would be up helping with homework until midnight some evenings.
One day in particular I was very exhausted and stressed. I was so overwhelmed and felt an incredible weight on my shoulders. I remember going up into my bedroom and kneeling beside my bed and weeping. I began by pouring my heart out and telling Heavenly Father what was happening and how it was tearing me apart and that I didn’t know what to do. A voice came to me, as clear as if someone were sitting right next to me and said, “Quit your job”. Now I had never considered this as an option so was taken by surprise. I questioned, “Quit my job?” Then it came again, “Quit your job”. I repeated back, “I’m to quit my job, I’m going to quit my job” and as I said the words I felt the huge weight I was carrying begin to completely lift off of my shoulders. I knew then what I had to do.
When I saw Doug that evening I was a bit apprehensive to tell him what happened. But I gave him a hug and said, “Guess what? I’m going to quit my job”. He replied, “Thank Goodness!”
Me around the same time I was told to quit my job
This experience changed the way I said my personal prayers. Instead of going to Heavenly Father in prayer and thanking Him and asking him for things I started talking to him as a daughter would her father. He is my father after all and obviously if he cares enough about me to give me spoken advice then surely he doesn’t mind if I confide everything in Him.
As a matter of fact, it is unfortunate that I was never close to my own father. I love him, but we just never had the type of relationship where I could tell him my worries and go to him for support. Often times as a teen I felt that he did not love me. This always hurt inside as I was growing up. But then something beautiful happened. When I was twenty-one I decided that I was ready to have my Patriarchal Blessing. The Lord knew what I needed to hear and what would mend my broken heart. The first thing my blessing told me was that Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother raised me and that I sat on their lap as a spirit child and that they loved me. Knowing this filled that void in my heart. Heavenly Father raised us all, we are his, and He is our Father. He loves us unconditionally, of this I am certain. Just like you want to answer your own child’s questions and bless them with every righteous desire, He also wants to do the same for us.
One way that I make my prayers more meaningful is to take the time to invite the spirit before I pray. Often times this is by listening to a conference talk in the morning while getting ready for the day. Afterwards I will say my morning prayer with a sincere heart.
I have prayed for a lot of things and most of them were never received. However, all of my prayers have been answered, just never the way I thought they would be and sometimes not on my time line. I have learned to always have a grateful heart and give thanks immediately to Heavenly Father when I see a blessing, acknowledging that it was from Him. I often find myself changing the wording of my prayers that if it is not His will to please bless that I will have the strength to bear the circumstance. He always, always gives me the strength I need to bear what is happening and for this I am grateful.
About six months ago something minor happened with a friend and I don’t know that they even meant for it to hurt me, but I was left with a wound in my heart. This little hole in my heart ached for days. I prayed, and prayed more, but nothing was helping it. Then one morning as I went about my day I continued to feel the sting. The thought occurred to me that I should kneel down and pray specifically about it and ask for the hurt to go away. So I did just that. I went in my room and asked Heavenly Father to take the hurt from me. As soon as I said the words the sting vanished. This was a good lesson that I shouldn’t beat around the bush and just ask Heavenly Father for what I need, especially if I am suffering. He wants to help us, but also wants us to be humble and not prideful, so this is how we show it, by asking for help.
Russell M. Nelson gave a conference talk titled Sweet Power of Prayer in this he states,
“We can also find answers to our questions through prayer. Spiritual knowledge—like knowing if God lives or if the Book of Mormon is true—can come only through sincerely praying to our Heavenly Father. Moroni, the last prophet to write in the Book of Mormon, invites everyone to “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart . . . he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4).
Mormon taught his son, Moroni, that we should pray “with all the energy of heart.” Nephi exclaimed, “I pray continually for [my people] by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, … and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.”
The sweet power of prayer can be intensified by fasting, on occasion, when appropriate to a particular need.
Prayers can be offered even in silence. One can think a prayer, especially when words would interfere. We often kneel to pray; we may stand or be seated. Physical position is less important than is spiritual submission to God.
When should we pray? The Lord said, “Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.”
Alma said, “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.”
We pray privately, with our families regularly, at mealtime, and in daily activities. Simply summarized, we are a praying people.
Our dog Sparky joining us for family prayer
At certain times in my life I have found that it would be difficult to choose the right and stand up for what I believe in without the power of prayer. I know and have a testimony that the Lord has always followed through with his promises to me. I’ve have a happier and more fulfilled life when I follow His promptings and make correct choices after consulting with him and receiving promptings from the Spirit.
The Power of Prayer is real, it is here for us to use any time we choose. No one can take it from us. Prayer has no barriers. Governments cannot stop it, school cannot stop it, our location cannot stop it, and enemies in the spiritual realm cannot stop it. Prayer is an open door which no-one can shut. The power of prayer is a blessing we are all entitled to and should continually use.