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Recognizing Answers

By Heather Herrick

We had an amazing Relief Society lesson yesterday. We talked about Elder Bednar’s talk, “Ask in Faith”. There was literally an outpouring of the spirit. So many beautiful testimonies were shared. Many sisters shared times they had struggled with meaningful prayer and then realized the blessings that had come from their work. Some stories recounted simple peace as an answer, while others shared miracles, real miracles of children being healed or money being provided when these things didn’t seem possible.

Some sisters bore powerful witness and others asked pointed questions in the search to really dig down deep and further understand the power of prayer. I walked away with a desire to take more time, use more energy, and listen more intently in my efforts to speak with my Father in Heaven. And I also felt like I could see how He is already answering me.

One of the poems from the Summer 2008 issue, “Pallette of Light” helped me remember how acutely aware our Father is of us and how we can see his hand or hear his voice guiding us.

Read the poem (nervous), happily.

I like how the poem illustrates a way our Father may speak to us and also imagine that the warning voice could be the answer to numerous prayers that had been uttered for safety and protection.

How do you recognize your Father in Heaven answering your prayers? What helps you in meaningful prayer?

About Heather Herrick

Heather currently lives in the center of the universe (she’s not being egotistical, it’s true—ask any other New Yorker). She loves NYC, but misses the mountains of Utah where she grew up. Heather and her husband are glad that the baby from her poem now sleeps alone; baby two spoils her mama by having the cutest dimple ever, and hopefully will not become a kicker like her sister.

6 thoughts on “Recognizing Answers”

  1. Heather, your RS meeting sounds wonderful! For all of the good relationships in our ward, I don't know if we could have one so real, deep, and honest. This may sound cheesy, but what a blessing.

    The poem (nervous), happily was perhaps my favorite of all in this issue.

    I'm not sure how to answer your first question about recognizing answers to prayers. I keep re-writing my thoughts here as I gain more understanding. Let's see if I can sum it up:

    If I'm looking for a yes/no answer, trying to make a decision, I have a harder time with it, especially if the answer is no. I second guess my feelings a lot if I'm worried about the decision.

    When I'm looking for insight/understanding or need help with something, I hadn't thought about this, but I suppose there are many times when the answers come and I totally miss them, such as if a speaker says something I need to hear but I'm too far out in left field to clue into it.

    When I do recognize answers, it seems so obvious and clear to me. The whisperings of the Spirit that really hit home, a surge of emotion that tells me what I just thought was right on (not like a confusion of emotion and spirit–it's different and I don't know how to explain it), or the selflessness of another person . . . when I receive those kinds of answers, I know they are from Deity and they are direct answers to my prayers. It seems like it's fairly easy for me to give God the credit when good things come into my life or when I receive insights or understanding.

    What helps me have meaningful prayer? I have struggled with that over the last several years much more than I like. Sometimes it's lack of faith/trust and sometimes it's being too wound up with all there is to do. A friend mentioned a while ago that somebody in her ward keeps a prayer journal. She tried it and liked it, so I thought I'd give it a go. It has been a great help to me. I write exactly how I would pray (formal beginning and ending and all), but because I'm writing things down, I can refocus if my mind wanders. It really has been a good thing, and has helped my spoken prayers improve.

    I still do struggle with it, but it seems like if I make the decision TO have a meaningful prayer, then it's easier.

    Great (and timely) questions, Heather. Thanks for this!

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  2. I know exactly what you mean when you said "a surge of emotion that tells me what I just thought was right on". I often receive answers in this way, it's clarity mixed with peace.

    I have kept a prayer journal in the past and find that it helps when I do. However I guess my real struggle is being consistent with anything. I get bogged down with the daily to-do's so easily.When I get busy like that I often miss answers, because I am missing communicating altogether.

    Thanks for sharing Wendy.

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  3. Consistency . . . yes, that is it. I haven't got that part down yet.

    If I could just hit my knees before my head hits the pillow, my evening prayers would be so much better. I REALLY struggle with getting back out from under those warm covers, and praying when I'm warm and cozy in a prone position simply tends to lead to sleep. 🙂

    I'm glad the emotional surge made sense.

    That first comment looks like spam, btw. Does anybody remove those?

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  4. I find Elder Bednar's talk on tender mercies to be a good guide to recognizing answers…be they to spoken prayers or those that I can't put into words because they are buried in my heart. I have been astounded at how many of the latter are answered in my life. Rom. 8:26 is one of my favorite scriptures along that vein.

    Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

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  5. That's a beautiful truth, that the Spirit can guide us in our prayers, but also communicate what we cannot utter.

    Do you ever wonder how we functioned before Elder Bednar's talk on tender mercies? I just love how it helps us share and recognize, just having that common phrase and understanding to share.

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  6. I can only imagine how wonderful the lesson must have been since I love some of the sisters I've met from your ward! Our lesson was also filled with great insight and valuable experiences. One of the thoughts shared included a specific statement by Joseph Smith (from his Lectures on Faith) and ultimately recognizing that faith is something that can actually empower us as individuals, as women. After years of encouraging young women to empower themselves by gaining education and seeking equality by having a strong voice and definitive opinions, I reflected on how acting by faith can be THE DEFINITIVE vehicle for empowerment. I loved it! 🙂

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