My topic was based upon the talk given just this last general conference titled “Answers to Prayer” given by Elder Brook P. Hales of the Seventy in the Saturday morning session. I personally did not watch it at the time, being occupied with something that I don’t even remember. That’s how insignificant it was compared to general conference but at the time, it took precedence. While talking about my inability to make choices concerning my own spiritual welfare, the title of this talk stands out to me. “Answers to Prayer”. While remaining simple, it speaks on a much larger magnitude. Through personal experience, I have found, as many people do, that God sometimes has a sense of humor. Your question may not be answered right away or in the way that you had anticipated, sometimes far from it.
A personal experience from this I’d like to share was the question of whether I should serve a mission first before joining the military. Through my arrogance and thought process of a mortal human, I thought the obvious answer He would give me was that the military was more important, and you should do that. I did not receive an answer right away, but I was getting ready to receive my patriarchal blessing and I went into it with that question. Many things were said there, both physically in my ears and to my spirit. During it, the answer came quite vividly. As my spirit was attentively aware of things beyond the veil, I felt a very strong impression that has remained seared to my soul since. It was to serve the mission first, then follow it with my occupation. Many times, I have a read over this specific line. And I’ve asked: Is the occupation I have chosen the correct one? And I’ve received the same answer: yes. Quoting from Elder Hales, “[Our Heavenly Father] blesses us not only according to our desires and needs but also according to His infinite wisdom.”
This reminds me of another time when I’ve received distinct answers to prayers. Over the last two years, I’ve been able to take part in helping establish two sports teams, indoor track and swimming. Going in to both of these was nerve-wracking; I had no idea what to expect. So before every meet, the team would pray, asking our Heavenly Father for peace and comfort to know what we were doing (somewhat) and that we would be able to perform to the best of our ability. Many times, the comforting peace of the Holy Spirit would fill my soul as we went about our events.
A section of Elder Hales’ talk was dedicated to talking about three different accounts of the ways our Heavenly Father may answer our most sincere prayers to Him. Those who have watched or read the talk will remember the others. I’ll sum up his first one, describing his youngest son.
His son was called to the France Paris Mission and they went to purchase the usual clothing, including an overcoat. However, the one he wanted wasn’t in stock, but the clerk assured it would arrive before his departure from the MTC in Provo. It arrived a few days before he left and, in the hustle of leaving, he did not try on the coat. Once arriving and with winter approaching, he found the overcoat was way too small and wrote to his parents about it. With some irritation, Elder Hales responded telling his to give the coat away because he couldn’t use it anyway. Later, an email was received stating that he gave the old one to another missionary who had been praying for a way to get a better coat. He was a convert and had only his mother and the missionary who had baptized him supporting him on his mission. The coat was an answer to his prayer. Heavenly Father knew this missionary needed the overcoat but would not be able to purchase one. He knew also that there would be a missionary from Provo, Utah that would be serving the same mission who would receive one that was way too small for him and placed both in the same place at the right time. It’s amazing to see the reaches of the Lord and how He can have his humble followers help each other with some direction.
President Eyring stated, “The Father is at this moment aware of you, your feelings, and the spiritual and temporal needs of everyone around you.”
The Savior taught: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”