Ricardo and his friends stood outside one of the sealing rooms in the São Paulo Brazil Temple, wondering why they couldn’t go in. No one was stopping them; after all, the temple was being rededicated, and this was its open house. They asked the leader they were with why they couldn’t go in, but he couldn’t tell them. He felt the same restraining spirit. It was a good spirit, but still it stopped them from entering.
Then it occurred to the leader. This room was reserved for President Gordon B. Hinckley. He would be there shortly, looking for some time alone in the Lord’s house, seeking the Lord’s peace and inspiration in prayer.
Ricardo and his friends quietly left.
We expect, of course, that Heavenly Father listens to the prayers of the prophet. But what about the rest of us? Can we really expect God to listen to our prayers?
Luis Ricardo da Silva can answer that question. At one time he considered himself too unimportant for the Lord to pay attention to him. “I felt, why would God pay attention to someone of no importance like me? But now I know that Jesus loves me. I feel His Spirit, and I know Heavenly Father listens to my prayers.”
He knows because he has had prayers answered. He speaks quietly of times at home and school and church when the Lord has responded to his prayers. One experience stands out: “I was in the temple with friends one day doing baptisms for the dead. We decided to have a prayer in the dressing room of the baptistry. While we were praying we felt something special, as if a light had filled the room and someone else was with us. I had been praying to know that God really lives, and this was my answer. The feeling that I had was powerful. I just knew. Prayer is sacred.”
Ricardo’s testimony was strengthened that day, but before he was 11, he didn’t even know what a testimony was. Then one day a friend invited him to church. He enjoyed it so much he kept coming back.
His mother didn’t like him going. And she didn’t want him joining the Church when he asked to be baptized. “But the missionaries talked to my mother, and she liked them, so she finally gave permission,” he says.
Ever since then Ricardo has been a devoted and energetic disciple of Christ. He currently holds the priesthood office of priest in the Barueri Ward, Barueri Brazil Stake. Ricardo is usually the first one at church, even though he must walk two and a half miles (4 km) to get there. He says he wants to come to every meeting, even those not on Sunday.
Although he is the only Church member in his family, he still does all he can to build the Lord’s kingdom. That’s what you want to do when you have a testimony, he says. He is even learning to play the piano so he can accompany the singing in priesthood meeting.
“What is important is eternity,” he says. “Now that I’m a member of the Church, I see everything in an eternal light.”
Does heaven’s light shine for anyone who seeks the Lord? Even for those who consider themselves the least in the kingdom? Indeed it does. Ask Ricardo. He knows.