General Conference, April 2019 – Saturday Morning Session – “Answers to Prayer” by Elder Brook P. Hales, of the Seventy
I was listening to this talk on my Gospel Library app the other night and it reminded me of something I had read earlier in the day, “8 Divine Accounts of Prophets and Apostles Seeing the Savior” and something about the nature of prayer clicked for me.
When we pray, the Lord is bound or obligated to do something in response to our prayer. He’s not required to say yes to everything we ask for, obviously, but He can’t just ignore our prayers, either. I don’t mean that He doesn’t ignore our prayers, but that He can’t ignore them. Can’t. Cannot. Ignoring prayers would go against His very nature! He must do something.
I think most times, the something that the Lord does in response to our prayers is to simply answer them. Sometimes He says “Yes” and sometimes He says “No.” Other times, He says “Not yet.” “Not yet” can also sound like “Not exactly like you’re asking or envisioning” or “I have a better idea” or “The timing isn’t quite right” or “This situation depends on the agency of someone else, so it may turn out different than you expect.”
The Father is aware of us, knows our needs, and will help us perfectly. Sometimes that help is given in the very moment or at least soon after we ask for divine help. Sometimes our most earnest and worthy desires are not answered in the way we hope, but we find that God has greater blessings in store. And sometimes our righteous desires are not granted in this life.
Elder Brook P. Hales
Other times something happens in response to our prayers. Recently my stake held a special fast for rain and relief from the wildfires we had this summer. I heard from a couple of people that the day after the fast, there was hail in one of the affected areas and rainbows in other areas.
Right now, my family is waiting for the “Go ahead” from Heavely Father to make the next move. Literally! We’re moving! Our house is listed for sale, we’re job searching in other states, and we’re just waiting for all the pieces to come together so we can hit the road.
I confess that I’m excited (and impatient) to move on to the next chapter in our lives, but this is one of those situations that depends on the agency of someone else, like the future buyer of our home and our future employer(s). Heavenly Father, of course, knows the end from the beginning and He’s got everything planned out perfectly so I need not fear. It’s up to me to mold myself to His will and not push my own agenda, though.
If you’re interested in following along on our adventures in moving, I have another blog dedicated to that. I’d love to see you over there!