Q&A: Questions and Answers

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Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

It seems every time I ask my friend a tough question, he answers by saying I need to pray about it. He says he receives immediate answers to his prayers, but it just doesn’t work for me. What am I doing wrong?

New Era

  • You must not only ask, but you must ask with faith.

  • Do all you can to find an answer to your questions before you pray.

  • Study your question by reading your scriptures and talking with people you trust.

  • Live worthy to receive an answer.

  • Everyone receives answers in different ways.

  • Don’t give up. If you try to live your life as you should, and pray with faith, the Lord will guide you.

The Restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began with the prayer of a 14-year-old boy. Looking closely at the scripture that inspired Joseph Smith to pray may give you some insight into how you can get answers to your prayers:

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:5–6).

You must not only ask, but you must ask with faith. Joseph was also actively studying and looking for the true church when he prayed. Likewise, you should do all you can to find an answer to your questions before you pray. Study your question by reading your scriptures and talking with people you trust. Also, you must try your best to live worthy to receive an answer. No one is perfect, but if you are trying to improve your life, God will help you.

People receive answers in different ways. Chances are you won’t receive a vision, and maybe your answers won’t come in the same ways as your friend’s either. Your answer could come in the form of a Sunday School lesson, a talk in general conference or sacrament meeting, or a scripture you find during your daily studies.

“The Lord will hear your prayers in time of need,” said Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve. “He will invariably answer them. However, His answers will generally not come while you are on your knees praying, even when you may plead for an immediate response. … You are asked to look for an answer to your prayers, then confirm that it is correct. Obey His counsel to ‘study it out in your mind’ (D&C 9:8). Often you will think of a solution. Seek confirmation that your answer is right. His help can come from prayer and from pondering the scriptures, at times by the intervention of others, or from your own capacity, through the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

“At times the Lord will want you to proceed with trust before you receive a confirming answer. His answer generally comes as packets of help. As each piece is followed in faith, it will unite with others to give you the whole answer. … At times the Lord will give you an answer before you ask. This occurs when you are unaware of a danger or may be doing the wrong thing, trusting that it is correct” (Ensign, Nov. 2001, 88).

Don’t give up. God wants what is best for you, and He will answer your prayers. He knows your needs. If you try to live your life as you should, and ask in faith, He will guide you.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Don’t be discouraged if the answer to your prayer does not come immediately. Study, ponder, and pray, sincerely having faith, and live the commandments” (Ensign, Nov. 2000, 23). —Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin Of the Quorum of the Twelve


Imagine that you are on the phone with a friend who is asking your advice, and every time you try to answer, your friend interrupts you with another question or comment. Before you know it, it’s time to hang up, and your friend didn’t get an answer to anything. When you are praying, don’t just hurry through everything. Stop and ponder after each question.

Ray Hullinger, 12 Riverton, Utah

Sometimes you have to do more than just ask—you have to try to find the answer on your own. Trust in the Lord’s timing and in His love for you. If you’re asking a valid thing, and you have faith, then He has promised to answer you.

Anna Hansen, 15 Salt Lake City, Utah

I have found that answers come in many ways. You should be ready to receive inspiration and guidance. Remember that prayers are not always immediately answered. It always helps to listen to things like church talks, read your scriptures, talk to your parents, and listen for promptings from the Spirit.

Rachel Welling, 14 Beaverton, Oregon

Just because you don’t get immediate answers like your friend doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. Remember to ask with faith and be patient, and you will receive your answer.

Elder Eze Chinedu, 21 Ghana Accra Mission

If you are not getting answers to your prayers, maybe you are not listening closely enough for answers. Also, answers can come in hidden ways. So be righteous and watch and listen closely.

Karin Rowan, 12 Merced, California

[photo] Photography by Robert Casey. Posed by models