Christ encourages us to pray often—in secret, in our families, in our churches, and in our hearts, continually asking specifically for the things we need—telling us, “And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you” (3 Ne. 18:20).
While we were living in California, one of our sons was seriously injured in an automobile accident. His skull was badly fractured, and doctors gave us very little encouragement that he would survive. Three days after he was admitted to the hospital, he contracted meningitis and his condition worsened. Our family doctor and neighbor came to our home and said, “All we can do now is pray.”
And pray we did. For several weeks our neighbors, friends, and business associates joined us in praying for our son and for our own strength. After almost a month, our son’s condition finally stabilized and then improved, and we were blessed to see him eventually recovered and smiling again.
I would not wish a similar experience on anyone, but that terrible, difficult period taught us the principle that President Thomas S. Monson has taught the Church. Said he, “Prayer is the passport to spiritual power.” During our son’s illness, we saw and felt the spiritual power of prayer! Our ward had never prayed harder than it did then, and I don’t think that the members had ever been closer to each other. Our family was sustained by the collective faith and prayers of our friends. And even as our hearts were breaking in fear that we might lose our son, we felt closer to Heavenly Father and more aware of our dependency on Him than at almost any other time in our lives.
While the blessings we ask for and receive through prayer are undeniably magnificent, the greatest blessing and benefit is not in the physical blessings that may come as answers to our prayers but in the changes to our souls that come as we learn to be dependent on Heavenly Father for strength.