I want to share a fact that I've come to realise in my time as a member of the Church - prayers are answered, every time, always.
I knew this before I joined the Church but never *really* comprehended it on a conscious level. Let me repeat it so as to impress the conviction with which I believe it.
Prayers are answered, every time, always.
Now of course, 'when' prayers get answered and exactly 'how' are up for discussion. I think the general answer to these questions would be, not at the time or in the way *we* think is most timely or perfect. Why am I so convinced about the efficacy of prayer? Firstly, it's my experience and secondly, because scripture tells us so, plainly and often. Let's put my experiences aside and look at some scripture from the New Testament Gospels.
Luke 11: 5-11. This is the 'ask and it will be given / seek and you shall find' lesson Jesus gives. Look at what He's saying though, it's just stunning. Ask and it will be given to you. Clear cut, no ambiguity, no caveats. There's even statements that though we might be in sin, our boldness in asking our Heavenly Father for something will still see us get what we want.
John 14: 13-14. This is where Jesus states He is the way to the Father. He states "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it". A clear cut, direct promise.
James 5: 13-16. Where we're instructed that "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective". Wow again, the enormity of what's being said is easy to miss. But, we've just been told we all have access to a powerful and effective tool to bringing about our hopes and wishes.
Obviously there are many more references, assertions and confirmations about the power of prayer. I would point out a few observations though. One is the idea that prayer doesn't work unless you're in a perfectly sin free, righteous manner at the time of praying, this is incorrect and scripture tells us that.
In James above we're told "The prayer of a -righteous- man is powerful and effective", that isn't saying therefore the prayers of unrighteous are NOT powerful and effective. Shades of the same thing, some stronger, some weaker, but all of the same.
My belief is that we've been told again and again our prayers will be answered. It makes me smile to think that Heavenly Father is clearly stating He wants to give us what we ask for.
One thing that often stands out though is the idea of 'faith precedes the miracle'. We have to pray with sincerity, believing that we've already been assured of receiving what we ask for because we ask in faith. The evidence for this?
3 Nephi 3 18:20 āAnd whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.ā
Matthew 21:22 āAnd all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.ā Absolutely stunning, shocking, eye opening cast iron guarantees that praying with faith and sincerity is all we need to do. It blows my mind to think how plainly and obviously itās stated to us.
As a father myself I know that if my son were to petition me for something with sincerity, my first thought would be to fulfil his wishes. Of course Iād reflect on his on-going behaviour, the effect that giving him what he asked for would have on him, maybe what he would do with whatever he was asking for, whether now was the right time or I should wait and see if it was a whim or a sincere request and so on.
Iām sure Heavenly Father does the same and it serves us well, along with being respectful, to pray for things that we truly need and not for whims, conveniences or things we might acquire by our own reasonable labour and work. Ideally, things that will enable us to enrich the lives of others, theyāre the most valuable things we can be granted after all.
Knowing how powerful and seemingly guaranteed our prayers are we need to heed the old advice of ābe careful what you ask forā. A cautionary note, I believe that we may well be granted things that are not 100% as perfect as we may believe at that time but by which we can learn and grow.
I can see as a father that I might grant my sonās requests knowing full well things will not turn out quite as he adamantly believes, in order that he can learn. Without coming to any harm or disturbance that would be anything less than minor of course.
Prayer truly is an incredible gift, letās use it.