“Heavenly Father Provided an Answer to Prayer When …” Ensign, January 2015, 18–21
We are beloved children of God, who loves us and wants us to communicate with Him through prayer. Here young adults share different ways Heavenly Father answers prayers.
I had never had a desire to serve a mission, so I never paid attention when people would ask me if I was going to submit my missionary papers. One day, a missionary couple I had grown close to, the Thomases, asked me the same question: “When are you going on a mission?” As was my custom, I didn’t give their question much thought.
Not long afterward, though, Sister Madalyne Thomas brought up the subject of a mission again. She advised me to pray about serving a mission. Initially I didn’t think much about her counsel, but something changed that night: I decided to pray about serving a mission as Sister Thomas had said. And Heavenly Father gave me an answer.
I submitted my missionary papers shortly after that. I entered the South Africa Missionary Training Center in February 2009 and then served as a missionary in Kenya.
Zachary Fernand Meistré, Gauteng, South Africa
I grew up on a cattle ranch and have always loved animals. So when my fiancé and I were making wedding preparations, we decided to include my horse, Lucy, in our bride-and-groom pictures. In order to take advantage of the beautiful autumn colors, we scheduled the picture-taking for the end of October. As the date approached, however, I worried about my horse’s appearance. During the fall, horses grow a long, thick winter coat that gives them a fuzzy, unkempt look. So I planned to groom her the afternoon before picture day.
As I started the grooming process, Lucy was a little restless, but I managed to comb out the tangles from her mane and tail. Now it was time for the ears. As I moved my hand up the side of her head and began snipping a few hairs with some scissors, she threw her head out of reach and pulled away from me. No matter how I tried, she wouldn’t cooperate. We were both flustered and tired. There was one more thing to try. I knelt down on the barn floor and said a simple prayer.
I stood up, took a big breath, and slowly walked to Lucy and patted her neck. As I spoke to her in a gentle voice, I raised my hand to her ear and she didn’t move. I slowly closed the scissors on the hair and she acted like nothing had happened. I said out loud, “Thank you, Heavenly Father,” and with tears in my eyes and gratitude in my heart, I finished the job.
That day I learned for myself that prayers are answered, even if they are about a horse.
Paige Nelson, Idaho, USA
Some time ago I was talking to some co-workers about my membership in the Church and my service as a full-time missionary. A woman at my work soon came up to share with me an experience she had had years earlier.
At the time, she explained, she was recently divorced and had reluctantly agreed to let her children move to another state to live with their father. Around the same time, she accepted a job that would move her even farther away from her children. On moving day, the people who had agreed to assist her in loading the moving truck cancelled at the last minute. Already feeling uncertain about her recent life choices, she was left with an empty truck in the driveway, no one to help her move, and despair in her heart. Yearning for divine assurance, she offered a silent, pleading prayer.
Soon after she prayed, the doorbell rang and she met two young men at her doorstep eager to share their message of hope and God’s love. The two missionaries immediately recognized her need and proceeded to load everything from her house into the moving truck. The example of those missionaries was ingrained in her memory, and the charity they shared impacted her outlook on life for years afterward.
As we continued to speak of missionary work and service, I was able to testify that her experience was not a coincidence but an answer to her fervent prayer. Her experience reminded me that God is aware of us all and can answer our prayers in unexpected ways.
Ben George, Ohio, USA
At an early age I was taught that I have a Heavenly Father who knows and loves me. I was taught to pray, and as I followed the example of my parents and prayed to Heavenly Father, I came to understand for myself that He answers my prayers. When I prayed to find things I had lost, He helped me. No matter the significance of what I prayed for, I knew that my Father in Heaven would hear my prayers and answer them according to His wisdom, will, and timing.
I know that through prayer we can come to understand God’s will for us and can come to better understand and emulate the attributes of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I know that prayer is the link between heaven and us; as we pray, Heavenly Father does indeed listen. While sometimes He doesn’t answer right away or in the way we expect or desire, through the power of the Holy Ghost, He always gives an answer. He understands the desires of our hearts, and as we pray He will answer and bless us.
Emily Lloyd, Colorado, USA
Several months after returning home from a mission, I had the opportunity to go back to the city where I served to do a research project to finish my undergraduate degree. As I traveled each day throughout the city to do my project, Heavenly Father blessed me in many ways. He guided my path and protected me. He gave me opportunities to share the gospel, and He multiplied my time so I could do my project and also visit many of the people I taught, knew, and loved as a full-time missionary.
I felt so blessed that every morning and night I poured out my soul in gratitude to my Father for the chance to be there. Throughout the day I prayed in my heart, thanking Him when my plans went smoothly. And when they didn’t go smoothly, I thanked Him for the plan He had for me instead, which usually ended up being a better one anyway.
One day on the trip, I sat pondering my experiences. I wondered why Heavenly Father was helping me so much. The thought came clearly to my mind: “It is because you are being grateful.” That day I learned that sometimes gratitude precedes the blessing. The more grateful I was, the more I could recognize the blessings I received and appreciate the lessons I learned from difficulties. And the more I recognized the blessings and lessons, the more I had to be grateful for.
Elizabeth Stitt, Utah, USA