Friend to Friend: Seeking Him in Prayer


D. Todd Christofferson
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (John 14:18).

Seeking Him in Prayer

As a child, one of my neighbors owned a large orchard, and my summer job was picking pears and peaches. I would ride my bike over there early in the morning and pick all day. One day, I knew by lunchtime that I had picked fewer bushels than usual, and I thought something really bad would happen to me because I was behind. So I hurried home on my bike for lunch, hoping that somehow my parents would make it right. I was in tears on the way. I remember thinking, “Oh, no, what a terrible thing! What’s going to happen?”

But when I arrived home, nobody was there. The whole family was gone to one place or another. I thought the world was going to come to an end! I had nowhere else to turn, so I knelt down to pray. I asked Heavenly Father to somehow save me from whatever was going to happen. Right away I felt a very sweet inner peace. I knew that everything was going to be all right, and that I didn’t have to worry. So I dried my tears, had lunch, and went back to work. And, indeed, the world did not end—everything was all right. That experience taught me that the Lord is willing to hear my prayers. When problems are important to me, He notices. He will help us when we have trials, even if they seem unimportant to other people.

This faith in prayer started with the teachings of my parents and leaders. When I was a deacon, our bishop told the young people of the ward, “Don’t ever stop praying and pleading with the Lord daily until you receive a witness burned into your heart.” I can’t remember his name, but I remember that challenge.

Later, as a teenager, I visited the Sacred Grove. It was a beautiful summer evening and a quiet setting. It seemed to be the perfect occasion. I prayed for some sort of confirmation of what I believed. I prayed very sincerely for a very long time and nothing happened. Disappointed, I gave up and walked back to the town of Palmyra where I was staying. I asked myself, “What did I do wrong?”

The spiritual confirmation I was searching for came a month or two later when I was at home. I was reading the Book of Mormon by myself, and I was overcome with a very powerful spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith—basically, the kind of witness I was hoping to receive in the Sacred Grove.

I’m glad the Lord didn’t respond when I was praying in the Sacred Grove because it taught me that you don’t have to be in any special place to receive a witness. I was at home, in my bedroom, and the Lord found me there.

We don’t have to travel to Palmyra to find out if Joseph Smith was a prophet. We don’t have to go to Jerusalem to know that Jesus is the Savior, the Son of God. Heavenly Father knows us, and He will find us wherever we are. It is comforting to know that wherever we may be, He will speak to us if we seek Him in prayer.

[illustration] Illustrated by Adam Koford

[photos] Left: At age 4. Below: Elder Christofferson with his wife and family

[photo] Elder Christofferson (r) with Elder Robert Cook (l) and new member of the Church in Villa Maria Branch, Cordoba, Argentina, 1966