10.08.2012

He does hear. He does listen. He does answer. He does grant.


I have considered writing this more times than I care to count.

It has received about the same number of edits.

That is because it is a delicate subject, meaning it can come across the wrong way more easily than it can come off the right way. I am hoping for the latter, but I 'spose that we will just to see what happens. :)

I am a woman of faith.

I believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

I believe that God is not silent and that He still speaks to us today through our thoughts and feelings {as well as through prophets, seers and revelators}.

I believe God was a God of miracles in ancient times as found in the Old and New Testament and I believe He still is a God of miracles today.

I believe in prayer, that when I pray I am actually speaking to God, the Father of my soul. And that when I pray, He listens. He answers. He grants.

I know I am not alone in my beliefs. I have read countless experiences where you have prayed and that prayer was answered. I would like to just share a few of those experiences I have read. While I could share many, many more, these are just a handful.

A friend had the session for her wedding engagement photos scheduled. She woke up that morning to find that it was pouring rain and the forecast for it to cease was not good. She was so disheartened at the thought of having to reschedule. She prayed for the rain to cease. And it did. She knew her prayers had been heard and had been answered. 

Another friend and her husband wanted nothing more than to have a child. They tried just about everything under the sun, coupled with prayer. Months and months later, she and her husband knew their prayers had been answered when they found out they were expecting.

Similarly, a friend and her husband knew their prayers had been answered, not when they found out they were expecting, but when a selfless birth mother chose them to raise her infant son, where they could provide him with a life she never could. 

Another friend had searched high and low for an apartment that not only could she afford, but would suit her family and their needs. Everything fell into place and she expressed her gratitude for her prayers being heard and being answered. 

Do I believe that their prayers were heard?

Yes!

Do I believe their prayers were answered?


Yes!

I believe KNOW this because I know all prayers are heard. I know all prayers are answered.

I am grateful that people share their experiences like these. They give us reminders that God is there. God does listen. God does answer. God does grant. And by doing so, it gives us more hope and more courage to pray and to expect that our prayers will be answered similarly. 

However, every time I read something like this I am left with a little nagging thought {not a bad thought, just a repetitive thought}. A thought which is what leads me to write today. A thought which makes me feel like I can be a voice for those who aren't heard very often. I don't want to, per se. :) But I feel like since I can, maybe I should.

I am going to feebly attempt to be the voice for the faithful person who prays, pleads and promises ... yet their prayers aren't answered in any timely fashion. And, if they are, the fruition of the desired outcome does not manifest itself. 

I feel like I can be that voice because with the matters that have mattered most in my life, I haven't gotten timely answers {many I am still waiting on} and I haven't received the outcomes I have pleaded for {<------- dangled a participle, oops}.

Probably because those have been my experiences, when I read "I prayed for _____ and I received ______ , therefore my prayers were answered" it comes across as a math equation of A + B = C. And if I know math, with the that same equation, "I prayed for _______ and I did NOT receive ________, therefore my prayers were not answered" seems like the logical truth. 

But I am here to say it is not. 


I know that if that unhappy thought has crossed my mind, that it also must cross the minds of others who are pleading and praying, yet not receiving. So, I am going to be the voice that disputes that equation. I will dispute for myself and for anyone else whose experiences reflect mine. 

The real equation is this: Person + Prayer = God hears + God listens + God answers.

One of the most difficult times in my life is when I was living in Provo, Utah {obviously, because I am not sure little Aggies were meant to live there}. ;) I had left everything and everyone I had know and was living in the most un-preferred location I could think of outside of most third- world countries {yes, you read that right, there might be some third-world countries I would prefer living in over Provo}. ;) 

I had had some personal disappointments in my life. And that is to put it lightly. My heart was broken and it felt like my spirit was too. 


One evening I remember driving to the Provo Temple. While sitting in the car, I looked at its majesty and poured my heart and sorrows out to the Lord. I cried as I sought for ... something - anything!

Answers to my questions did not come. Direction to my confused spirit did not come. Peace to my heart and mind even evaded me at that time. Yet, I did receive a thought and feeling of, "The Lord will not intervene at this time."

I have reflected on that many, many times since it occurred years ago.

There were times that I was bothered by it. I wasn't seeking something big like for my husband to be walking on temple grounds that night, where we would meet, fall in love and live happily ever after. ;) I just wanted peace. I wanted the storm to be stilled.

In my less bothered attitude, I began to reflect on a block of scriptures that have always stood out to me, which are found in Mark, chapter six. In verse 45, after feeding the 5,000, Christ directs His apostles to get into a ship and go to the opposite side of Bethsaida. They obeyed and as they did, Christ went up into a mountain to pray.

As the apostles were in the ship a large storm rolled in that sent the ship tossing to and fro from the large waves. The apostles struggled in fear as they were at the mercy of the storm. 

In verse 48 we learn that Christ "saw them toiling". Yet, something interesting happens. While the Lord of the earth watches on, with power to still the storm instantly, He does not. At least not immediately. He waited until the fourth watch. 

Understanding the fourth watch in sailing terminology is crucial in understanding our Savior. In ship talk, there are four "watches" to distinguish shifts, if you will. The first watch is 6 PM to 9 PM. The second watch is 9 PM to midnight. The third watch is midnight to 3 AM. And the fourth watch is 3 AM to 6 AM.

The fourth watch of the night is when the Lord chose to come still the storm. And still it He did. But why did He wait until the fourth watch? Why wouldn't He, who even the grains of sand obey Him, bring instant relief? 

I learned from my experience in Provo on that cold night, that the Lord works with us similarly. When our prayers are not answered in a timely fashion, when our prayers are not granted it isn't because God isn't hearing our prayers or answering our prayers. And it definitely isn't because He doesn't care.

He just sometimes doesn't race to our rescue - He sometimes doesn't immediately intervene. It has been one of the most difficult lessons I have ever had to learn as I have sojourned in this life. And I continue to learn more about it everyday. But the most crucial part to remember is while He may not intervene, He does not leave us. Just as He watched over His apostles, He too is watching over us. We are never left alone. We are never forgotten. 

If I am to be completely honest, it sometimes feels like I have surpassed the fourth watch ... that perhaps now I am in the 47th watch {and no, there is no such thing}. ;) But I do know this: the Lord is ever present, keeping a watchful eye over me. AND YOU. And if He hasn't intervened, it is because YOU have been prepared to face the fourth watch, otherwise He would have intervened in the third. 

So to those of you whose prayers seem unanswered, unheard or forgotten, remember the He is a fourth watch God. 

He is listening. 

He does hear. 

He does care.

He does remember you and the pleas of your heart. 

And He does grant. 

Even though we may wait on God for many years, there is a day coming when God will change everything in a moment of time ... just as He stilled those waters on that day for His apostles. 

You just keep praying. You just keep believing. And I will too.

Happy Monday, people. :)

16 comments:

Burke and Emily Adams said...

Beautifully expressed Mindy. Thank you for the reminder to stay hopeful and faithful even if the heavens seem silent.

Meg said...

:)

Jett Boseman said...

I agree Mindy! Sometimes our Heavenly Father gives us something that we didn't know that we *actually* needed. What might seem like a huge trial to us is God BUILDING us up and making us stronger people.

Thanks for your post!!

cami said...

i LOVE this Mindy. Made me tear up many times as I know how it is to ache for something. I love you and pray for you always.

Elizabeth Justice said...

You have a wonderful way with words Mindy, and your thoughts reflect what I have been struggling with for the past three years. Sometimes I feel like I receive an answer, and then it's not the one I want (the a+b=c answer) and I start questioning and praying all over again. It's like a never ending cycle, but in the end I know God answers prayers. Thank you for your sweet testimony Mindy!

Allred Mom said...

Mindy-What a beautiful post, and one I'm sure many need to read. Too often while in the mist of personal anguish, we do get frustrated if we feel our prayers aren't being answered. But, He is there, and His time is usually not our time. Unfortunately, patience usually isn't too many of us' best quality! Thanks again for sharing a testimony of prayer. It was so uplifting!

MeganandClaudy said...

Beautiful. One of the hardest concepts to grasp for me. I think it's the truest test of faith. Let's keep holding on together :)

Adam and Brooke said...

Love this. This reminds me in ways of President Eyring's talk in conference. You are wonderful. Thank you for the reminder.

Toni Lehman said...

Love this!

Rachel Overson said...

OH my goodness, I am not the only one that feels this way! My mom and I were just talking about this after a talk we heard during Conference. A long time ago, I had a revelatory dream about a baby boy I was going to have. I won't explain how I know, but I KNOW it was revelatory. Shortly after that, I got pregnant with my daughter, and two years later, my second daughter was born. Now, for reasons I won't get in to, I am unable to have more children. Praying is not going to change this, and no, it's not because I don't have faith in prayer--I firmly believe in the power of prayer. I have prayed that I could have many children, and it is, I believe, a righteous desire, but it is one that is not physically possible for me anymore. So why was I given this revelation about having a baby boy? I'm not bitter--it's just one of those things where I know my prayers are maybe meant to be answered after my time on earth is through. I wish we heard more of these experiences! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

Missy W. said...

I just love this so much Mindy. Thanks for sharing. You are a wise lady.

ChelseaGriff said...

I can guarantee that I'm not the only person that needed to read this. Thank you Mindy, you're wonderful!

Shan said...

Thank you. I needed this today.

MollieRose said...

Mindy, you almost made me cry. I loved this SO MUCH. Thank you for sharing in such wonderful words how God answers prayer!!!

Allison and Josh said...

Mindy, you are amazing. Seriously. That was beautiful and perfectly written. I just adore you in every way!

Carl-Alexander Stenman said...

Oh hai!
I just read this on Mollies blog and followed her link to here. I really really like your words. Makes a cold Sweden slightly warmer:)
I normally try to live by "pray until something happens". This felt just like that to me, which is obviously super stuff:)
Thank you!
/C-A

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...