For the Strength of Youth
Feed Your Soul with Prayer
April 2024

“Feed Your Soul with Prayer,” For the Strength of Youth, Apr. 2024.

Come, Follow Me

Enos 1

Feed Your Soul with Prayer

The blessing of communicating with your Heavenly Father is available to you everywhere and always.

young woman praying

You’ve felt hungry before. Feeling hunger is your body’s way of telling you that it needs food. And when you’re hungry, you know what you need to do—eat!

Your spirit also has ways of letting you know when you need spiritual nourishment. Just as there are many kinds of food you can eat when you’re hungry, there are many things you can do to fill your spiritual hunger. You can “feast upon the words of Christ” in the scriptures and words of prophets (2 Nephi 32:3). You can attend church regularly and partake of the sacrament (see Doctrine and Covenants 59:9). You can serve God and His children.

But there is one source of spiritual nourishment that is available to you at all times, in every moment of your life, no matter your circumstances. You can always communicate with Heavenly Father through prayer.

“My Soul Hungered”

As Enos hunted beasts in the forest, he thought about what his father taught “concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints.” These teachings “sunk deep into [his] heart” (Enos 1:3).

In this spiritual state of mind, Enos felt a strong need: “My soul hungered,” he said (Enos 1:4; emphasis added).

What did Enos do when he felt this spiritual hunger? “I kneeled down before my Maker,” he said, “and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul” (Enos 1:4).

So great was Enos’s spiritual hunger that he prayed all day and night. Eventually, God answered his prayer and forgave his sins. Enos felt his guilt swept away and learned about the power of faith in Jesus Christ. He then poured out his whole soul for his people and his enemies. He made covenants and received promises from the Lord and went among his people and shared what he had heard and seen (see Enos 1:4–19).

Not every prayer will be answered in such a dramatic way, but your experience with prayer can still be meaningful and life changing. Here are some important lessons you can learn from Enos’s mighty prayer:

  • Striving to fully live the gospel can help you sense your spiritual hunger.

  • Your spiritual hunger can and should bring you to your knees to seek Heavenly Father’s help.

  • Praying to Heavenly Father can help satisfy your spiritual hunger—and then some!

  • You can pray anywhere, anytime.

  • Prayer can help you repent.

  • Prayer can strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ.

  • You can receive a personal testimony that your Heavenly Father hears you and is aware of you.

  • The testimony and strength you receive through prayer can help you to serve and strengthen others.

My Experience with the Power of Prayer

When I was almost 16 years old, my inspired bishop asked me to teach our youth Sunday School class about gaining a testimony of the gospel through prayer. As I grew up, I had taken the time to study the Book of Mormon and always felt that the Church was true. I had always believed in the Savior Jesus Christ, but I had never taken to heart Moroni’s promise, found in Moroni 10:4–5, and prayed about the truthfulness of the gospel. I remember feeling that if I was going to teach about how to gain a testimony through prayer, I should pray for a testimony myself. My soul hungered—perhaps in a different way from Enos, but I still felt a spiritual need.

As I prepared the lesson, I knelt and prayed with all my heart. When I asked the Lord if the gospel is true, there came to my heart a very sweet feeling—that still, small voice confirming to me that it was true and that I should continue doing what I was doing.

The feeling was so strong that I could never disregard that answer and say I didn’t know. I felt so happy! The following Sunday, I stood in front of my classmates and testified that Heavenly Father would answer their prayers if they had faith.

Ulisses Soares as a young man

Elder Soares as a young man

This testimony has stayed with me. It has helped me make decisions, especially in challenging moments. It has allowed me to testify to people, with conviction, that they can get answers from Heavenly Father if they pray in faith. This has been true for me as a teacher in that youth Sunday School class, as a missionary, and even today as an Apostle.

The When and What of Prayer

Of course, you don’t pray only when you feel a particularly strong spiritual need. So, when should you pray? And what should you pray for? The short answer is: anytime and for anything.

young man praying

Your Heavenly Father is always ready to listen to you and wants you to pray to Him regularly and frequently. You should “counsel with the Lord in all [your] doings” (Alma 37:37) and pray morning, midday, and night. You should pray at home, at work, at school—anywhere you might be and over any of your endeavors (see Alma 34:17–26). You should pray with your family (see 3 Nephi 18:21), both “in public and in private” (Doctrine and Covenants 81:3), in your heart when you’re not formally praying (see Alma 34:27), and always to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ (see 3 Nephi 18:19–20).

young man praying

Approaching Your Heavenly Father

One of my favorite scriptures teaches how we should approach our Heavenly Father when we pray: “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (Doctrine and Covenants 112:10). When you are humble and obedient, Heavenly Father will be with you. He will lead you by the hand. He will answer your prayers according to His own will, way, timing, and absolute knowledge of what is good for you.

Your regular and frequent prayers are essential to the spiritual nourishment of your soul. Communication with Heavenly Father through prayer is available and welcome everywhere and always. I pray you will remember this and cherish opportunities to approach the throne of God and receive blessings from Him.

young woman praying