Sometimes we struggle to help family members in need. Perhaps at times we want to say, as did Alma, “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and … cry repentance” (Alma 29:1) unto our own family members!
Concerned over the choices of a loved one, I seemed to be filled with the same frustrations that Alma expressed. However, after months of concern and prayerful consideration, I concluded, as did Alma, that “I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me” (Alma 29:3).
Still, the struggles continued to weigh heavily on me. I took occasion to discuss this problem with a friend and associate. After I shared the situation with him, he asked me: “What are you doing to solve the problem?”
“I’m praying a lot,” I replied quickly.
“Are you praying for an angel?” he asked pointedly.
I thought of the words given to Alma the Younger by an angel of God:
“Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father” (Mosiah 27:14).
My answer to the question came more slowly. “Yes,” I replied. “I am praying for divine intervention.”
“Jerry,” he said kindly, “God will not ask you what you prayed for but rather what you have done. My guess is you are the angel. Go and deliver the message.”
Could it be that the Lord would expect me to be a messenger to my loved one?
With my friend’s counsel in mind, I continued to study the matter and ponder the scriptures. My first clue came as I read the story of the brother of Jared, who was faced with the problem of providing light for his vessels. The Lord asked of him, “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light?” (Ether 2:23). Could it be that the Lord would ask of me, “What will ye that I should do on behalf of your family?” In such a case it would be unreasonable for me to expect the Lord to act until I, like the brother of Jared, had developed a plan and showed my willingness to do all I could do.
As with the brother of Jared, who still had 344 days of a difficult journey ahead, the challenge for me had not gone away simply because I prayed with real intent. Now my task was to search for the words and counsel to help my loved one. I must not expect the angels to deliver messages or do work that I should be doing.
My next clue came as I read the words of Nephi:
“Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? …
“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ” (2 Ne. 32:2–3).
I came to understand that if we have the Holy Ghost, we can speak with the “tongue of angels”—with power to deliver the words of Christ.
I marveled as this understanding flowed through me. I could not know, of myself, the words to speak, but by the power of the Holy Ghost I could speak with the tongue of an angel. Jacob, before teaching in the temple, “first obtained [his] errand from the Lord” (Jacob 1:17). While I, of myself, might not know what to say, I knew that if I prayerfully approached the Lord to obtain “mine errand” and sought the guidance of the Holy Ghost, I might also speak appropriately to my loved one with the tongue of an angel. Finally I was ready to follow the advice to “go and deliver the message.”