What May I Do to Help?

“What May I Do to Help?” Ensign, Oct. 2004, 57

What May I Do to Help?

Throughout her growing-up years, our daughter Anne frequently asked the question “What may I do to help?” Some days I gave her a specific assignment, while other days I responded, “Whatever you see that needs doing.”

Prior to Anne’s departure to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, I mentioned that I would miss her and the willingness she exhibited every time she asked that question. Our bishop also remarked that if Anne would continue to ask the same question—“What may I do to help?”—in her prayers, she would have a successful mission.

This extension of the idea expanded the concept in my mind. What would be the result if I asked that question of my husband, each child, a neighbor, or a friend? What would happen if I knelt down each morning and asked my Father in Heaven, “What may I do to help Thee today? Bless me to do what needs doing.”

I decided to put the question into action. I asked a friend who was in the process of a divorce. She answered, “Do you have quilting frames I can borrow?” I never could have anticipated that need. Another time I asked the question of a friend who had been in an accident. While I was anticipating bringing in a meal or helping with housework, she asked me to pray that she would heal quickly. I also took in a meal. I asked an elderly neighbor who doubted she could ever come to church again. Her answer: “Just don’t forget me. And if possible, could you record the Relief Society lessons and sacrament meeting talks for me to listen to?” I asked my husband. His request was that I sit with him and talk for a while.

As I have asked this question in my prayers, I have waited anxiously for the answers. Often the response is “You see many needs around you. Fulfill one of those.” On other occasions, I have felt no direction. But I have let Heavenly Father know I am willing and available. When a specific circumstance later presents itself, I am blessed to know what He would have me do.

Photography by Christina Smith, posed by models