Prayer is an act of faith because we don’t see or hear the One we are talking to. When I participate in a conversation, I am constantly monitoring the reaction of the other person to the words I say. I pay attention to their responses, even non-verbal ones, to understand how my words are being received. I care a lot about whether I am being listened to or ignored.
But when I talk with God, I have to simply trust that He’s listening and that answers will come in time.
In Persia, Daniel fasted and prayed over a period of three weeks. Finally, one day as he sat beside a river, a heavenly being appeared to him. “Fear not, Daniel,” he said, “for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words” (Daniel 10:12, italics added). What a powerful reassurance! How many times during those three weeks might Daniel have wondered if his prayers were heard. The messenger wanted him to know that he was not only heard now, but that he had been heard from the very beginning.
This declaration reminds me of the words of the angel to Alma:
Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.Mosiah 27:14
How many times did Alma’s father pray with no indication that his petitions had been received. Like the messenger who appeared to Daniel, the angel wanted Alma’s father to know that his prayers had been heard.
God listens to us when we pray, even though we may not immediately detect an answer. By continuing to pray, we demonstrate that we believe this, and that we are willing to wait patiently for His answer. That is why Jesus taught that we must pray always (Luke 21:36, 3 Nephi 18:15, 18), and why Mormon taught that the love which we feel when we are filled with the Holy Ghost “endureth by diligence unto prayer (Moroni 8:26).
Today, I will pray with confidence that my words are heard. I will trust that God is listening and that He will answer in His time and in His way.
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