Some people think that prayer is one way communication. That it’s simply throwing our wishes into the sky and hoping that an unknown being will notice one of them and maybe grant it. But prayer is much more than just talking to God. Prayer is conversation with Him, our Father in Heaven.
Just like our fathers on this earth want to hear from us when we leave home, our Heavenly Father wants us to communicate with him. Just think if you never called up your parents, or even e-mailed them or sent them a text. God wants us to talk to Him. He wants us to tell Him how we’re doing, what we’re grateful for, what we need, what our concerns are, etc.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi counsels on prayer in 2 Nephi 32:8,
And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
Satan doesn’t want us to pray. He knows that if we pray we’ll be able to feel strengthened, enlightened, and comforted by the Holy Ghost. The notion that praying is pointless, that it doesn’t work, that God doesn’t listen or answer, or that we’re not worthy or good enough to pray is from Satan. They are all lies.
God does listen. He does care. He does answer our prayers. And no matter what we’ve done, we are always worthy, always good enough, to pray.
Nephi continues in verse 9,
But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
We must always pray to our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ. If we do so, our performances (work, school, family, friends, etc.) will work out for our benefit. From countless experiences, I know this to be true.
My testimony of prayer is simple. It works. Until I was about a senior in high school, I didn’t feel like God was answering me when I knelt at my bed each night. I never ceased praying, but my faith that they were actually doing anything was almost non-existent. Eventually though, I found my life changing, and I found myself becoming more desperate in my pleas to God. I found my prayers being answered in small yet profound ways. Slowly, my faith began to build. I began looking each day for ways that my prayers were being answered. I was surprised at how many of my small and often self-centered desires were actually being fulfilled. I could see that my Heavenly Father was truly looking out for me.
If you don’t feel as though God is answering your prayers, keep an open mind. Understand that He works on His own time, but He is merciful and loving. Understand that He works in small and simple ways. Count your blessings and look around you. Like me, you might be surprised to discover just how many of your prayers are being answered.