How would you rate the efficacy of your prayers?
I recently heard the heartfelt prayer of a small little girl pouring out her heart to God. As I heard the simplicity of her gratitude coupled with her emphatic requests, I knew God heard that prayer. So simple. So powerful.
I opened my eyes to watch her face. She not only knew what she said, she knew who she said it to. I felt drawn through the veil closer to the Lord as she prayed. I also felt a little ashamed thinking of my hurried morning prayer.
Do my prayers even reach the ceiling? Why do I sometimes sell myself short in the prayer department?
Prophets, priests, and kings taught us how to rend the heavens. Fire came down from heaven in answer to Elijah’s prayer. The Red Sea parted after Moses’ petition. An angel instructed King Benjamin about what to say to his people. The Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith in a grove of trees.
Joseph taught “It is the privilege of every Elder to speak of the things of God; and could we all come together with one heart and one mind in perfect faith the veil might as well be rent today as next week, or any other time.”
A Prayer That Rent The Veil
Wilford Woodruff recorded his experience of 7 April 1837 with my 3rd great grandfather Joseph Bates Noble and two other friends in the Kirtland Temple.
“I spent the day in writing my journal and when the shades of evening began to appear I repaired to the house of the Lord in company with Elders Milton Holmes and Joseph B. Noble for the purpose of worshipping God.
We entered one of the stands within the veils and fell upon our knees and Satan appeared also but not to worship God but to deprive us of the privilege. Satan strove against us with great power by tempting us and otherwise. He at one time drove me from my stand while I was striving with my brethren to enter into the visions of heaven.
Nothwithstanding his apparent victory good grew out of it for by going into the outer court I there found Elder Freeman Nickerson, an aged father in Israel who was faithful and prayed to God always. I solicited him to join us in prayer that we might gain a victory over Satan and get a blessing at the hand of God. He joyfully accepted the invitation and we again entered into the stand being four of us in number of one accord in one place.
We had great cause to be united in heart, we all had traveled together about 1,000 miles in the spring of 1834 for the redemption of Zion. We at that time offered to lay down our lives and our offering was accepted as was Abram’s. We felt, considering those circumstances, that we could kneel down and unitedly get a blessing by faith through Jesus Christ. We fell upon our knees and began to cry unto God.
Satan departed, temptation found no place in our hearts. The power of God rested upon us and we were baptized with the Holy Ghost and the Spirit of God was like fire shut up in our bones. We were immersed in the liberty of the sons of God. Many great things were shown unto us. The power of God and the spirit of prophecy and revelation rested upon us. I arose and proclaimed many glorious things upon the heads of my beloved brethren that were present which were dictated in my heart by the Holy Spirit in prophecy and revelation. Our hearts were made glad and we went our way rejoicing.” (Dean C. Jessee, “The Kirtland Diary of Wilford Woodruff,” BYUS, vol. 12, no. 4 (Summer 1972), 392-93.)
Their confrontation with Satan reminds me of King Lamoni’s father’s prayer where he promised to forsake wickedness. “O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.”
Temptation found place no more in his heart either. He prayed with pure desire to know God. And God revealed Himself.
It is possible to know God if our desire, faith, repentance/purity, and effort align. It is possible and available to all who will.