I have long been a firm believer in the power of prayer. As a child, anytime we lost something, like a toy or a homework assignment, my mom would ask if we’d said a prayer and to seek help in finding whatever was lost. When my younger sister was 5 or 6, one of the toilets in our home stopped working. So she knelt down and prayed, asking God to please fix the “flushy toilet.” In her childlike faith, she then flushed the toilet. It was fixed. I often reflected on these experiences as a teenager when I prayed for guidance and answers to my questions. I remember fervently asking God if I should attend Ricks College (now Brigham Young University-Idaho) or Brigham Young University in Provo. I actually didn’t expect the answer I received: You will have good experiences at either school. It is your choice.
But perhaps the most powerful experience I had with prayer in my youth was when I realized that I could not only pray for guidance and answers to questions, but I could also pray for myself. One Sunday, when I was a college freshman, I decided to ask God if He loved me. If the Savior loved me. And if the Savior knew me. My answer was so overwhelming I began to sob uncontrollably. I had to leave the church meeting and take refuge in the hall. My roommates were concerned and followed me out, wondering what was wrong.
God Wants Me to Reach Out in Prayer
My answer to a sincere question was this universal truth: God loves me. This powerful feeling came over me like a great big hug, and I could not believe the emotion that was unleashed. I was finally able to calm down enough to tell my friends, in between sobs, that nothing was wrong. That I had felt the overwhelming love of the Savior. A pure knowledge that He knows me and loves me. And that He wants me to come to Him not only with problems and questions but to tell him about my life. My goals, dreams, fears, and insecurities. My weaknesses and strengths, good days and bad days. I realized that He cares about me. God knows us, but He wants us to come to know Him. And the way we do that is to come to Him in prayer.
Realizing that God knows me and loves me helped me become more comfortable reaching out to Him in prayer. I no longer felt that my prayers hit the ceiling and fell back down at my feet. Rather, I felt that God heard them, that He heard the deepest desires of my heart. And that He wanted to help me become the best wife, the best mother, the best woman of faith that I could be. And I could only do that by turning to Him.