“How can I know God is listening to my prayers?” Liahona, April 2017
Prayer is a great blessing, and we’re promised that Heavenly Father is always listening, but often it takes some work to recognize His answers.1
Think about this: either God hears you or He doesn’t. If He doesn’t, then of course there’s no point in praying. But if He does (and He does!), we have to figure out how to really commune with Him in prayer, recognize answers, and faithfully move forward.
When we feel He’s not listening, maybe we need to experience some personal growth. You might ask yourself a few questions: Am I clean? Are my motives worthy? Am I willing to do what He asks?2 If the answer to each of these is yes, you can trust that “the Lord thy God shall … give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10). Remember, sometimes answers come in subtle or unexpected ways.
If you answered no to some of those questions, it’s never too late! Make the necessary changes in your life so you can have the Spirit. Be willing to act on promptings you receive.
And don’t forget that everyone receives answers differently. Pray that the Holy Ghost will teach you how you can recognize answers. It might not be easy to recognize them at first, but it’s like any other skill: practice makes perfect. Have faith and trust that Heavenly Father is always listening.
Try to listen to the Holy Ghost. People hear the Holy Ghost in different ways, so maybe you’re listening for a still, small voice when the prompting may come as a feeling. I know that the Holy Ghost will tell you all that you need to know—you just have to listen.
Elise G., age 13, Alberta, Canada
Once I had a huge doubt about whether to go on a date with a nonmember. One Sunday in sacrament meeting, a sister gave a talk that seemed to be directed personally to me. At that moment, I received an assurance that the Lord had answered my prayer. Before, I had been confused about what to do, but then I was comforted by the Holy Ghost, who filled my heart with joy and courage. God answers us through feelings, thoughts, the scriptures, and even speakers at church!
Karen V., age 19, Minas Gerais, Brazil
I know God hears us because prayer produces a feeling of peace, relief, and love in my heart. I see that He frees me from many dangers from day to day and that He protects my family, and I feel loved by Him. Before I go to school, I always say the Young Women theme; it helps me remember that I am a daughter of Heavenly Father, who loves me.
Nicol M., age 19, Lima, Peru
I know Heavenly Father hears my prayers because of these words in the Primary song “A Child’s Prayer” (Children’s Songbook, 12): “Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer? Some say that heaven is far away, but I feel it close around me as I pray.” When I remember that song, I know He is listening because I feel the Spirit and His infinite love for me. As I remember that He loves me, I feel comfort and know that He hears my prayers.
Elaine B., age 16, North Carolina, USA
Heavenly Father always listens to our prayers, but sometimes it seems like He isn’t answering our prayers because He may not answer us how or when we want Him to. We need to be willing to submit our will to His and have faith that He knows what’s best for us. Heavenly Father loves us and will always try to help us learn and grow as He answers our prayers.
Mosiah M., age 17, Utah, USA
Through the scriptures, we are taught that God will always hear our prayers and will answer them if we address Him with faith and real intent. In our hearts we will feel the confirmation that He does hear us, a feeling of peace and calm. We can also feel that everything will be fine when we follow the Father’s will. If we doubt that He hears us, we ought to seek guidance in the scriptures and then ask if those things we read are true.
Constanza L., age 20, Bío Bío, Chile
I once wondered if God could hear my prayers, and then I felt the answer in my heart. I heard someone bear testimony about prayer, and I could feel the Holy Ghost. My other advice would be to ask your parents, bishop, or other members of your ward. You could even pray for help on this topic!
Joshua S., age 13, Oregon, USA
After your prayer, you can listen to the feelings and intents that come to your heart. One of them may be the answer to your prayer. When we pray with real intent and a sincere heart, our Heavenly Father responds according to the faith we have in Him. He doesn’t respond just to satisfy our curiosity.
Jean-Claude N., age 16, Kasaï-Central, Democratic Republic of the Congo