This past week or so I have thought a lot about the many experiences that I have had in life and wondered when did I feel closest to my Heavenly Father and my Savior? In what situations and moments did I come to know Him, instead of just knowing about Him? One of the most vivid memories of this occured when I was a young teenager. My two younger sisters moved out of the bedroom that we shared, and we each felt so lucky to now have our own rooms. I vividly remember that first night I spent in my own room. Outside, the thunder rumbled loudy, and the rain that was coming down in sheets pounded on my window. It was very dark and the room seemed strangely empty.
I ly there in the dark feeling quite uneasy and alone. What do you do when your heart is pounding and you feel afraid and alone? As a young girl I had been taught a number of little songs in a primary class. I had memorized many of them over time, and at this moment one of them popped into my mind, and I started to sing out quietly… “Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do you hear and answer every child’s prayer? Some say that heaven is far away…but I feel it close around me as I pray. Heavenly Father, I remember now something that Jesus told disciples long ago, “Suffer the children to come to me.” Father, in prayer I’m coming now to thee. The first verse completed, I started into the second … “Pray, He is there…” (“A Child’s Prayer,” Children’s Songbook #12). In this moment my heart stopped racing and a complete blanket of comfort and peace rushed over me. He really is there! I can not really explain in words how the Lord comes when we seek Him in prayer, but through the Holy Ghost he sends a peace that is all encompassing and
unmistakable. In that moment, I felt like I was as safe as could be with Him right there close watching over me. I fell right to sleep. Truly He had heard and answered my prayer.
Prayer is such an incredible tool that we have been given to communicate with our Father in Heaven. The miracle of prayer is that anyone can do it! Whether we can speak, hear, walk, read, write, kneel, speak elegantly or utter simple words, we can pray to Him. There is no age restriction. There is no level of worthiness which we must attain before going to the Lord in prayer. In fact sometimes it is when we are afraid to face God that we should go to Him and let Him lead us to find peace and rest. Prayer is a simple miracle by which we can all be blessed.
How do we pray? If you have never prayed, it is very simple. We pray to our Father. Thus, one begins prayer by addressing Him in a respectful manner such as “Dear Heavenly Father…” You then expresses gratitude to Him for all or any thing that you have been blessed to know, have, feel, etc. As I thank my Father for all my many blessings in a very specific way, I am reminded of really how much He has done for me. Following the expressing gratitude, you then speak to the Lord. When I pray I ask Him any questions that I have. Sometimes I ask for peace or comfort if I am hurting, or I might ask for more faith and/or other various spiritual gifts. Speak with Him about anything you need. Think about it. What better confidant is there in all the world? Who better a person to petition for rest from the world’s troubles then God who holds the whole world in His hands? God who lends us the needed breaths to live here in Earth. He loves you. You are His child, and I know that He will hear your every prayer.
Where do we pray? The answer to that is everywhere and anywhere that you feel the need to. He is always there. However, if you want to be able to really communicate with your Father, James E. Talmage counsels “He who would really pray–pray as nearly as possible as Christ prayed, pray in actual communion with God to whom the prayer is addressed — will seek privacy, seclusion, isolation, if opportunity permits he will retire to his chamber, and will shut the door that none may intrude; there he may pray indeed.” I know that my most heartfelt and meaningful prayers are prayers that are uttered behind closed doors just between me and Him. It is there that I can open my whole heart and truly speak to God. Many times Christ went to a mountain to pray. He went somewhere where he could speak with His Father without being distracted or disturbed. I have found in my life that it is in those same circumstances that allow prayer to be a sacred and more sincere experience.
I know that prayer is real. I know that God really does listen as we go to Him in prayer. If you will take the time to get on your knees, you will find that He is right there waiting to come to your aid. He is ever aware of you and your needs, but each of us must humble ourselves and go to Him. It is through heartfelt prayer that we can build a real individual relationship with our Father and come to know Him.
“Prayer is made up of heart throbs and the righteous yearnings of the soul, of supplication based on the realization of need, of contrition and pure desire.” -James E. Talmage