• Uncategorized
  • 0

Answers to Prayer, Sometimes

by Jessawhy

Often, I want to write about my latest doctrinal question, or the most disturbing affront to feminism I witnessed in my ward last week. But today I want to talk about occasional answers to prayers.
I don’t pray as much or as long as I used to. Prayer is harder for me because so many of my questions go unanswered.
However, sometimes I get answers to prayers and that’s a much bigger deal to me now than it ever has been.

And because I imagine some of you feel like I do, I want to make this thread a place where you can share if you have had an answer to prayer despite significant questions or angst.
For those of us who get small or big answers, frequently or infrequently, it’s nice to have someone who really understands what that means. EmilyCC called me the other day to tell me about a small but special spiritual experience she had during a rough day. I was so grateful for her story that reminded me how important it is to have someone who can recognize the blessings within the struggles. Also, my choosing to notice these answers as blessings and tell them to others is an indication that I do want to improve my relationship with God.

So here are a few. Some of these are obviously silly, insignificant things, but sometimes those are good to notice.

1. Lost I
One Sunday I was wearing a dress that has a ribbon around the waist, I ran around all morning looking for the *!%*# ribbon. The dress does NOT look good without the accent ribbon, and I didn’t have time to change. “Please, God, help me find the ribbon.”
Ta Da! There it is. And I told my Primary children God answered my prayer that morning.

2. Lost II
Another lost item, a library DVD. We looked for 2 straight days and eventually found it. (not immediately after the prayer, but I am so grateful I don’t owe the library $15, I will attribute it to God, or perhaps a heavenly media power)

On a more serious note. . .
3. Damming the Pain
My close friend’s baby died a month ago and it has been really rough on me. I find myself crying at random times during the day and thinking about it at night.
One night while praying with my husband and asking God to bless her and her family with peace, I felt the familiar wave of grief coming on (usually accompanied by tears). But this time, right before the melt-down, I felt something different. It was like a dam stopped the wave. It wasn’t there, the pain and tears didn’t come.
It was really amazing. And I have a hope that God is helping her by damming the pain occasionally as well.

4. Health and Well-Being
My two oldest sons have severe hemophilia, and we’ve always prayed for their health, and they’ve always been healthy. Thanks to advanced treatment, and God, neither of our boys has had a bleed in years. It’s really miraculous that they lead such normal, healthy lives.

My struggle with understanding God, the gospel, the church, and my place in it is still very difficult for me. But, I can only feel frustration and angst for so many hours of the day. Looking for the blessings and answers to prayers is a way that I try to make peace with my struggle.
It also shows God that I’m doing my part and maybe in the future, I’ll receive more answers to some of my deeper questions.

Jessawhy

Jessawhy is a wife, mother, community volunteer, activist and student. She is currently working towards a Physician Assistant degree.

You may also like...

No Responses

  1. anon says:

    Prayer has always been a difficult issue for me. I have always been active, served a mission, fulfilled my callings. I feel the spirit occasionally in my life, I recognize blessings from the Lord. But when I kneel by my bed, I have never felt like anyone was listening. I say the words and feel like I am going through the motions but am alone. Many times I have prayed to just let me know that He knows that I am there, but felt nothing. I don’t know how to make that connection.

  2. gladtobeamom says:

    I to have a hard time with prayer. I have had a few very clear answers or times when I experienced very clear help from God. A lot of times though I struggle and don’t seem to get anything.

    I seem to be having that right now. Which is hard because I am going through a particularly hard struggle at this moment in my life. I get little things every now and then but sometimes I don’t understand why I get nothing.

    It makes it hard. I do try to make a point of either writing down when I do get an answer or mark a scripture special and make a note by it so when I hit all those moments when I seem to be left alone I remember that I have had answers in the past.

    Honestly I have an easier time recognizing the spirit when I listen or sing a great song. I wish I was capable of doing this when I kneel in pray. Sometime I wonder if it should be easier then this. Or what I am doing wrong. I have been taught I can pray about anything. I too have received helped with lost items or things that seem trite it is when it comes to bigger things, times when I really need and answer that things get difficult. I just don’t know what to pray for anymore. I always seem to pray for the wrong things. It becomes so frustrating that I maybe don’t pray as often as I should.

  3. Caroline says:

    I’m not sure where I stand on prayer right now. On the one hand I want to believe in a God who cares enough to help us with little things like lost items. But on the other hand I have a hard time reconciling that with a God who would ignore the pleas of thousands of frantically praying parents as their children were drowning in the tsunami. Or the woman in Utah who drove around for hours fervently praying and looking for her missing child, only to discover her child was suffocating in her trunk as she drove around. How does one wrap one’s mind around that kind of God?

    I think I might be more inclined to believe what the Bible dictionary says about prayer – that it’s all about reconciling one’s will with God’s, not necessarily about changing God’s mind and getting him to intervene.

    Then again, I also like to believe that we humans could be receptive to the flashes of insight and intelligence imparted from the Spirit, so who knows where that leaves me. I’m ambivalent.

    Thanks for the great post. Is this Jessawhy?

  4. mraynes says:

    I have a difficult relationship with prayer; I don’t feel like it works for me but I know it works for other people. Ever since I was little, I had this image of my prayers rising up from my mouth and hitting the ceiling. It also didn’t help that whenever I prayed for something, the exact opposite happened. I’m ok with this and now I just find it easier to develop a relationship and align my will with God’s through deep contemplation.

    Having said that, DH and I have recently been praying with Baby G and I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to see him fold his little arms. I always feel God’s presence when we say bedtime prayer and I know God loves my boy as much as I do.

  5. Deborah says:

    I’ve spent a lot of time consciously trying to reinvigorate my prayer life in the last six months. This has taken some unexpected forms. For example, I’ve spent 15 minutes a day, most days, praying at a monastery for cloistered nuns that’s conveniently located right next to my place of work. Whether I have been given more moments of grace since recently or (more likely) whether I am just better at recognizing them — I don’t know. But in the midst of an unpleasantly chaotic few months, I’ve seen many small graces — an e-mail at the right time, a flash of peace within an anxious day — and I’ve felt grateful. The changes I’ve made to my prayer life are changing me. So I’m following it . . . (if the nuns only knew that their faithful afternoon visitor was a Mormon!)

  6. Alisa says:

    I don’t know if prayer is mainly for us to align our will with God’s or if it for us to ask for things that God wants to give us if we would only ask. God works in mysterious ways, and sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t.

    What I do think is that daily quieting our minds is essential to our own spiritual well-being. I’ve tried to make my prayers more like meditations lately, and it’s helped me a lot to focus on the things I hope for and the things I need extra strength for.

  7. Kiri Close says:

    I talk to ‘da man’ a lot.

    I need him daily in conversation and not just during the 3x-a-day routine. Sounds schiz as you can imagine someone talking to themselves, but it’s not.

    For me, it’s best to keep my prayers/talks to father conversational, honest, and consistent. He really helps me. Is it safe to say in this post that he puts ideas in my head–many times to help me figure shit out on my own so i can learn?

    Heavenly Ma: I’ve been so socialized for so long in praying to father, that I’m still not used to talking to heavenly mother. I genuinely have to think her through.

    However, I know she’s there. $10 bucks she’s running everything?

  8. AnaCA says:

    I have struggled with prayer/answers a fair amount – the irony of finding the lost wallet while the sick go unhealed; the answer that seemed flat-out wrong.

    I know there are more questions I still have to confront but I have found some little snippets of peace – the answers to the small prayers, to me, seem like the half-slice of bread my mom used to give me to hold me over until dinner was ready. I wasn’t getting filled. I was getting what I absolutely couldn’t live without – not so much the food, as the proof that I was not being ignored.

    As for the seemingly-wrong answers – I’m now pretty well convinced it was a wrong interpretation on my own part. I thought I was being told I was going to be pregnant. I wasn’t; it was strangely devastating, long after I thought I’d made peace with my infertile status. I was actually told, I think, about my daughter – born 9mos later to someone else, held onto through a horrible roller coaster for the last almost-two years, and soon to be adopted and sealed in our family.

    Time is key. And patience that lets perspective grow. For me, at least.

  9. RoAnn says:

    Thanks for this lovely, thoughtful post! At least in my life, the more often I am willing to give God the credit for those supposedly “little” everyday blessings, the more I am apt to recognize and receive them. When I am in tune, I see them often; when I’m not, I think I miss them, or attribute them to chance. The more often I am feeling thankful to God for the many good things in my life, the more I am able to feel peace even in the midst of trials, and seemingly unanswered prayers.

    As to the answers to the big questions? I try to remember that the prophet Joseph spent several months in jail under terrible conditions, and hearing of the horrible suffering of his family and the Saints as a group, without receiving a revelation.

    Over the years I’ve discovered that almost everyone I have discussed this subject with has come to a similar conclusion: sometimes it is passing though times when the Heavens seem silent that we are able (if we choose to do so) to grow in faith and determination to serve God, no matter what. In the end, the answers will come.

    For me, the answer finally given to Joseph in D&C 122, part of verse 7 and verse 8 says it best, and helps me to be gratefully humble as I await some answers:

    “. . . know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”

  10. Jessawhy says:

    What great comments. Sorry for the lack of picture, missing byline, and late response. We’ve been out of town, and got back late last night.

    anon,
    Thank you for your honesty. I think we all connect to the divine in different ways. Some people do it through music, some through nature, and others, like Alisa, through meditation. I understand how it feels to go through the motions. Sometimes I find that’s all I’m doing.
    gladtobeamom,
    I share your frustration with prayer. It’s hard for me when I really want an answer about why God only speaks to his people through men, but the answer I get is where to find my lost accessory. I guess we just take what we can get.
    Caroline,
    Good point about a God who chooses to answer small but not big prayers. It’s definitely not an easy answer, much like the book discussion about the dilemma between God’s love and life’s pain. I’ve practically memorized the BD description of prayer. I’ve always liked it, but haven’t examined it recently.
    Mraynes,
    I’ve had similar experiences imagining my prayers not getting past the ceiling. And, I have very, very warm and intense memories of praying with our one-year old child. It’s really special, and powerful, to be a little family and know that God is smiling on you. Thanks for reminding me of that.
    Deborah,
    I LOVE that you pray with the nuns! If you haven’t already, you should do a post about it. What a unique experience.

  11. Jessawhy says:

    Alisa,
    A quiet mind is hard to come by for me these days. But, I’m glad that it helps you, and I would love to give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Kiri,
    There have been times in my life where I feel God as part of my inner dialog, an improvement in that dialog, maybe. I’m glad that it’s that way for you, now.
    AnaCA,
    I loved this line
    “I was getting what I absolutely couldn’t live without – not so much the food, as the proof that I was not being ignored.”
    That explains how I feel perfectly.
    Thanks for sharing the story of your daughter’s adoption. I love hearing about answers to prayer like that.

  12. Jessawhy says:

    RoAnn,
    Your comment is full of faith. I love that. Faith is hard for me right now, but I really admire it in others, especially in others who have gone through similar bouts of little or no faith.
    Thanks.

Leave a Reply