Sometimes at night I have a hard time falling asleep. I have so much going on, so many balls I am juggling. It takes a while for me to relax so I can sleep. So to turn my mind off from the mundane thoughts racing through my mind, I read stories in the Gospel Library App. I always feel peace when I read these stories. I find patterns of righteous gospel living. I also always find little treasures of Church history and amazing stories of Saints who live on the covenant path. These stories inspire me so much. Recently, I found this gem of an article in the Ensign by Elder H. Burke Peterson. It’s all about prayer: why we should pray, how to feel God speaking to you, and that God does indeed live, hear, and answer our prayers. It’s from a BYU Speech he gave on March 2 1980. You can read or listen to it here.
He tells this cute story of a time when he bought some sore throat spray while out of town traveling because he felt the flu coming on (the spray he bought was probably Chloraspetic, I imagine. I remember using that in my childhood). He went to his hotel room to use it, and then accidentally swallowed the three-inch tube that attached to the spray nozzle. He was alone and didn’t know what to do. So he prayed, asking God to help him get the plastic tube out of his body. His prayer was answered by him getting the tube out. I love this! We need never feel alone when we know we can pray and we do pray.
He also tells some other cute stories such as the following:
-how when he was a little boy his cowlicked hair that he had plastered down with Vaseline came sticking back up at church. He was so embarrassed and looked around thinking people were looking at him. He saw the bishop sitting peacefully on the stand and thought of how the bishop never had any problems to worry about, like a cowlick. When he got old he realized that the bishop wasn’t sitting as comfortably as he had thought. 🙂
-when he was a young father, his wife felt inspired that their family wasn’t done and that they should pray for another baby to come to their family. The family prayed for eight years and then the baby finally came!
I just love these stories! Go read it to get more stories.
I love these tips he has to feel connected to God every time you pray:
- Go where you can be alone if possible. If you can’t be alone, pray anyway, and hopefully your spouse or roommate will be touched by your example. (My note: you can be alone if you go to the bathroom, so pray in there. I’ve done this many times. If I’m traveling especially and have roommates, I will do it. I fold a towel or jacket and put it under me to cushion my poor old knees.)
- Kneel down.
- Picture the Savior so you can have a feeling of reverence as you kneel before your Heavenly Father.
- Speak out loud or whisper if you have to.
- Say what you really feel without saying any trite phrases. (This is where I suggest you give your gratitude for your blessings.)
- Confide him in your troubles and ask for help, plead with Him.
- Enjoy Him.
- After you have talked to Him, listen to Him. This may take many minutes.
As he wrote of this last step:
Maybe something different would happen if you continued to kneel at your chair or your bed after you prayed for a minute, or two, or five, or fifteen until you get that good feeling, that warm feeling, that tells you that you have received an answer. Then you know the Lord has heard your prayer, you know He’s there, and you know that you have finally figured out a way to allow Him to get His messages through to you. A great experience comes to those who feel the Spirit.
I hope you will follow these steps and pray until you feel that Spirit. It is feeling the love of God, which Nephi tells us is the fruit of the Tree of Life, the sweetest, most delicious feeling you can ever feel. (1 Nephi 8:12 and 1 Nephi 11:7-9)
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the article. I know it’s true!
A few years ago, after one such frustrating experience in prayer, I was reflecting on my experiences with my earthly father who has been dead for some time. I remembered that when he was alive, I could always go to him and talk to him about anything, and he would listen to me. He was not a perfect man, but he would listen. I want you to know that I know that whenever one of Heavenly Father’s children kneels and talks to him, he listens. I know this as well as I know anything in this world—that Heavenly Father listens to every prayer from his children. I know our prayers ascend to heaven. No matter what we may have done wrong, he listens to us.