“A Testimony of Prayer,” Ensign, Aug. 2002, 58–59
“Believe in prayer,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley. “I remind you that the Church came out of an initial prayer offered by the boy Joseph Smith. … The Lord will hear the prayers of faithful people as certainly as He heard the prayers of the boy Joseph. I believe that with all my heart” (in Church News, 2 Oct. 1999, 2). Following are expressions by members showing the blessings and strength that come through prayer.
Just before our family vacation to visit my parents, I became extremely ill. Not wanting to disappoint my husband and family, I told them I felt well enough to go.
After we arrived, I spent most of my time in bed recuperating. While my family went with Grandpa to see the sights, I spent long hours talking with my mom. I told her my frustrations. In tears, I lamented that I felt powerless against my illness and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to care for my children.
My mother paused, then took my hand in hers and offered a prayer for me. She explained my frustrations to Heavenly Father and pleaded for my return to health. When she finished, I felt at peace. I returned home reassured that Heavenly Father had heard my mother’s prayer. Although my illness persisted, I dealt with it better.
Months later, my daughter, then a senior in high school, came to me with a difficult challenge. Still physically weak, I wondered how I could help her. As I pondered the situation, I remembered my mother’s prayer for me. I took my daughter’s hand in mine and knelt with her to pray. I thanked Heavenly Father for her and explained her problem. I asked Father in Heaven to help her. After our prayer, she hugged me and expressed her feelings of comfort.
As I reflected on the experience, a flood of memories came over me as I thought of all the times as a child—and as an adult—I had heard my parents pray for me. Humbled, I realized the heritage of prayer in my family. My ancestors, members of the handcart companies, prayed for strength when they felt they could go no farther. Thanks to them and their descendants, this tradition of prayer has been passed from one generation to the next—from my mother to me and now from me to my children.
Jesus Christ prayed for us too, setting the example of prayer for all (see John 17:20–21). And when He later visited the Nephites, He wept as “he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written. …
“… And he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
“And when he had done this he wept again” (3 Ne. 17:15, 21–22).
Gratitude fills my heart for a loving Savior who would teach us to pray, and pray for us.—Paula Hunt, Nampa 16th Ward, Nampa Idaho Stake
The heat can be extreme in Coalinga, California, where my family once lived. On one particular day the temperature was 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 °C) and climbing. We had a good air conditioner in the front-room window, but for some reason it stopped functioning. I decided to use our backup evaporative cooling unit, but, try as I may, I could not turn the knob controlling the water. I became concerned because I was home alone with my three small children.
Desperate, I used a dampened cloth to assist in gripping the knob; then I used a hammer to try to jar it loose. Neither attempt worked.
I told the children we were going to say a prayer to our Father in Heaven and ask for help. This we did. After the prayer, I looked up. The children were all looking directly at me, confident now that I could take care of this problem. I wasn’t so sure, but as I looked at the knob I felt an overwhelming urge to give it just one more try.
It not only turned—it nearly bent from the strength in my fingers.
Veronica, our three-year-old daughter, said, “Heavenly Father did help you, huh, Mom?”
This was a beautiful learning experience to have such a prayer answered in the presence of my children. We knelt again and offered a humble prayer of thanks.—JoAnne Colby, Carpinteria Ward, Santa Barbara California Stake
A few years ago I taught an extremely difficult and troubled group of children in school. I was upset by my inability to reach them and found myself depressed and tearful as I left school each day.
One day the woman working with me as an aide, who was not a Church member, told me she had been praying for a calming influence to enter the classroom so I could teach. She knew the power of prayer and was, I feel, prompted by the Spirit to tell me of her prayers to remind me what I should do.
I realized that I had been so involved with the problem that I had neglected to go to Heavenly Father for help. From then on I frequently found myself on my knees before school began, praying for inspiration. As the weeks went by, a calming spirit did enter the classroom and I was able to see that some progress was being made with the children. There were still moments of frustration, but I seemed better equipped to deal with them. I learned from this that the Holy Ghost influences us in simple ways to allow great things to happen in our lives.—Nadine C. Doyle, Verdugo Hills First Ward, La Crescenta California Stake
President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, has said, “We learn to pray by praying. One can devote countless hours to examining the experiences of others, but nothing penetrates the human heart as does a personal, fervent prayer and its heaven-sent response.
“Such was the example of the boy Samuel. Such was the experience of young Nephi. Such was the far-reaching prayer of the youth Joseph Smith. Such can be the blessing of one who prays” (“Teach the Children,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 17).