The Key to Prayer

“The Key to Prayer,” Ensign, August 2009, 73

The Key to Prayer

Mark Burns, Utah, USA

I had recently returned home from a full-time mission and was blessed to find a job that would enable me to save money for college tuition. I was eager to be productive so my employer would hire other returned missionaries.

My work was simple: I did whatever odd jobs needed to be done for a construction engineering company. This often meant performing simple laboratory tests. On one particular day, I was scheduled to pick up samples of construction materials from several sites and return them to the lab. I was given an old truck to make my rounds, and off I went.

I arrived at the first site, greeted the foreman, and quickly found the samples of concrete and steel. After placing them in the truck, I reached into my pocket for the truck key. To my alarm, my pocket was empty. I checked the ignition and took a quick look around the truck cab but did not find the key. It occurred to me that I might have dropped it while walking through the construction site. As I retraced my steps, I said a silent prayer, but I still couldn’t find the key.

I then searched the truck more thoroughly, even looking under the floor mats. No key. I bowed my head and sincerely prayed, explaining that I wanted to be productive and not be delayed at the first stop of the day. I began searching again while listening for an answer to my prayer. I felt an impression to look under the truck, so I took a quick, doubting glance at the ground near my feet. I still saw no key, so I decided to make another trip around the construction site.

When I returned to the truck, I was still empty-handed. How could I tell my new employer that I had lost the key and hadn’t been able to complete such an easy task? I quietly said one more prayer, and the impression to look under the truck came again. I gave another quick glance, and when I didn’t see the key, I was about to push the impression away. But then I decided to take a few steps away from the truck and look again.

Suddenly I saw it! It must have fallen when I got out of the truck. It was just far enough under the truck that I hadn’t seen it the first two times I looked. I was ashamed that I hadn’t listened better to the promptings of the Spirit.

That day and many times since, I have reflected on how patiently and lovingly the Spirit works with me. When we sing, “I know my Father lives and loves me too” (“I Know My Father Lives,” Hymns, no. 302), my heart swells. I am amazed that our Father loves us so much that He will answer our simplest prayers.