God will always answer our prayers, but sometimes his answer is that we should decide which choice is best.
The other day, I was talking with my dad about an important decision I needed to make. I turned to him because he has always been my confidant and has given me great advice throughout my life. During this particular conversation, we spent hours discussing my options. He frequently asked me questions that forced me to dig deep and look closely at certain aspects of the issue. While the discussion with him gave me more insight, he refused to tell me how I should proceed. He assured me, “I trust you.”
Just like my earthly father, our Heavenly Father wants us to counsel with him in decision-making. When we pray for guidance, he will respond, but his answers come in varying ways. In the talk “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Elder Richard G. Scott describes ways that we can receive answers to our prayers. Though the means and timing of receiving those answers will vary based on the situation and individual, Elder Scott is quick to acknowledge that our prayers will always be answered.
I’ve had many prayers answered with clear direction as to how I should proceed. However, sometimes the answer I receive is “you decide.” In these instances, I feel that the Lord trusts me to make the decision, that both of my potential choices are good and it’s up to me to decide the path I want to follow.
Regarding these situations, Elder Scott explains, “You may want to express thanks when that occurs, for it is an evidence of his trust. When you are living worthily and your choice is consistent with the Savior’s teachings and you need to act, proceed with trust.”
Sometimes, the answer “you choose” can be frustrating. We want distinct answers so that we can proceed with complete confidence. However, these times of uncertainty are amazing opportunities for us to exercise our agency and our faith. In these instances, we should
- have faith that the Lord will consecrate our righteous efforts;
- proceed with confidence, knowing that our prayers have been answered, even if not in the way we expected; and
- be grateful for the Lord’s trust and know that he’ll continue to be with us every step of the way.
Source: LDS General Conference
—Alisa Hulme, Mormon Insights
feature image by henry be
Find more insights
For a personal experience involving answers to prayers, read Sister Valerie Durrant’s article “Deciding for Myself.”
To learn more about finding answers through prayer, read or watch Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk “Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer.”