As Mormons we are taught that God answers prayers.
And He does.
Like the time my kids and I prayed to find our remote control, and then we found it within 5 minutes. (My husband was out of town and I was way pregnant. I needed to find that remote control!)
It was so easy to say, “See kids, God answers prayers.”
But it is not always that simple.
Like when Croft prays every night “Bless Beck that he will come alive again.”
Or what about the little girl that prays every night that the guest living in her home won’t molest her, yet he comes in to her bedroom every night? How do you tell her that God answers prayers?
The above story is true and it has haunted me ever since my friend told me about the situation years ago. From then on I have been determined to teach my kids differently about prayer.
So for many years I would teach my kids, and other kids too, that God answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is “No”. Or sometimes the answer is “Wait a while” or sometimes the answer is “How about this instead?”
But lately I have been telling my kids “God hears our prayers” instead of “God answers our prayers.”
I explain to my children that God hears every prayer. He knows what we want and what we need, and then we must allow Him to do what He thinks is best for our lives.
God knows more than us and He knows when He can grant our prayer requests, but He also knows when it is in our best interest to learn patience. He knows when to say no and when to say yes. He knows how high He can turn up the temperature on our refiner’s fire and when it is time to extinguish the flame.
The Bible Dictionary says “Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.” That is a little different than the oversimplification that God answers our prayers.
I am still evolving in my own understanding of prayer and ever teaching the principle of prayer to my kids. I want my children to know that we don’ t get everything we ask for. Beck is not coming back to life anytime soon and bad things may still happen even if we pray otherwise.
But I also want them to know that Heavenly Father is wise and loving and has our best interest at heart. He doesn’t always answer our prayers in our way and in our timeline, but He does hear our prayers.