Does Prayer Really Work?

By Lauren W.

As a child, I was taught to pray several times a day. Before I knew most nursery rhymes, I knew how to follow my mother as she prayed. Soon I was able to tell God on my own every night as I knelt next to my bed what was happening in my life, the things I was grateful for, and ask for help accomplishing the things I lacked .

I grew older and daily prayer became natural, and I felt myself drawing closer to God. Just as I would talk to and seek counsel from my own parents, I began to sincerely share my feelings, desires, and fears with my Heavenly Father. When schooling became difficult or when friends turned sour, I would tell it all in my prayers and ask for comfort. If I was then patient enough to stay still and wait after I asked, I would feel a warmth and a comfort inside of me and knew He was listening.

Other times answers were more tangible. One cold winter afternoon I prayed in my backyard for the ability to find my cat who had fled the house when she saw me pull out the cat-carrier to take her to the veterinarian. As my only pet, her health was very important to me. Within seconds after finishing, I felt that I should look under the neighbor’s bushes, and pulled her from them. Later that year as I sat in front of the school I was considering attending, a feeling of fear and anxiety came in answer to my question of whether it was the school for me and I knew it wasn’t the school I should attend. A third prayer for confidence shortly after a job interview gave me the impression to discuss the re-branding of the business in the follow-up interview. This led to the job being extended to me.

Even when I didn’t need God’s help, I continued in my habit to pray daily. Some days I would only thank Him for what had happened. Other days, the relationship I had developed through these prayers would give me confidence to plead for help from trials too big for me to handle on my own.

As an adult living far from my home, I received an email that this same cat (who year after year would hide in fear of her yearly check-up) was very sick. My parents had taken her to the veterinarian, and in two days he would operate to try to take out the tumors he had discovered inside of her.

She died during the surgery.

Instinct took over the night I found out. I went into an empty room, and began to pray. I knew from years of experience that if I asked the God I loved to give me comfort, it would come. I told Him in a broken voice that while I did not understand why my well loved pet had died, I was willing to accept that it was His will, and wished for his comfort to help me through this time. Little by little, the sadness was lifted, and I was able to get to sleep.

The next day as I said my morning prayer I felt hope that I would be able to pass through the rest of the day with grace. New strength entered me, buoying me up throughout the day. The warmth and comfort grew inside me as I continued to offer up prayers of trust and love for the remainder of that day, and in the days that followed.

Because I have established a habit of constantly turning to my Heavenly Father, when trials come it is easy and natural to seek and receive comfort from Him. I have seen His answers in every aspect of my life, and because of these experiences, I continue reaching out to Him daily.

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