The Gift CardA little over a week ago Abe and I were preparing to go on our first date in a very long time. We had received some gift cards to restaurants for Christmas. In our move, I had put them all in a ziplock bag and placed them in a very "special" place so that I wouldn't lose them.
As I was fixing my hair for our date, Abe asked me where the gift cards were. My mind went blank. I had no idea where that "special" place was. I figured it would just come into my mind, so I said a quick prayer and continued to get ready. Abe continued asking if I had remembered where I had put them- I could tell he was growing more worried. I stopped fixing my hair and searched again in every logical "special" place… nothing… I began to get worried too. We really needed those gift cards to pay for our dinner.
After I looked everywhere I could think of and after I prayed, I continued to get ready as I pondered about what I could have done with the cards. As I stood in front of my mirror distracted by jewelry, make-up, and hairspray, the thought came to me very strongly to go pray in the right manner. I finally put down all my distractions, went into my closet, knelt down, and said a heartfelt prayer asking God to please help me find my "special" place of gift cards for our long-awaited date.
As I prayed, I felt the Spirit fill my soul, and I had an overwhelming impression that I needed to pray in this manner more often. I had an even stronger impression that my children and my husband needed prayers such as these offered on their behalf on a daily basis. What a difference it would make if I were mustering up this type power for those I love so dearly!! This power was not of an earthly nature by any means. I felt I had been doing my family a huge disservice by missing out on so many deep prayers. I reflected on a movie I had watched recently about a woman who had her prayer room. It was called her "War Room." That was the place where she fought her greatest battles. What a GREAT movie that was!! I could feel that this closet would become my own personal "War Room."
As I continued to pray for the gift cards, an image of the middle drawer of my nightstand came into my mind. I closed my prayer and walked straight to the drawer to the nightstand. Inside I saw an envelope that immediately made me remember the envelopes in my file folders. As I stood up from my nightstand, I knew, without a doubt, that my "special" place with my gift cards would be in that file. I had looked in the file previously… just not amongst the other envelopes.
I thanked God as I flipped through the envelopes and found my ziplock bag of gift cards. I knew God had answered my prayer because of the time and energy I had put into that prayer. I had been lazy before expecting God to cater to me. What a blessing this was to have received such direct guidance for something so simple and insignificant in the grand scheme of things… but an answered prayer and the opportunity to feel the Holy Ghost so profoundly is definitely not insignificant.
The Heavenly Presence
A few days later I was studying with my children. We were discussing history and what took place in different locations in the world. All of a sudden I was overcome by a piece of information that disturbed me greatly. I spent the following 2 hours researching the facts and trying to resolve my doubts. I couldn't believe my faith was under such a strong attack. I tried to push the feelings aside, but they persisted. I could feel myself becoming irritable with everyone around me.
I decided it was time for me to enter my "War Room." I desperately needed understanding and guidance. I didn't want to err in any way in what I was teaching my children. I entered my closet and knelt down. I have gone to God with anxiety about concerns. This was different. I knew God would speak to me. I had already a powerful experience there. There was not a drop of anxiety in my heart. My home was quiet. I entered my closet, gently dropped to the ground, and simply said, "Dear God…"
In the following moments after I said those simple words, I received the most beautiful sensation that rushed over me and through me. It is indescribable in human words. HE was there. Tears poured from my eyes effortlessly, and I sat silently for a while longer allowing the Heavenly rush to continue. When I felt it was time, I began to speak my concerns to my Heavenly Father. I felt my Heavenly Father so close that I fully expected to hear HIS voice. I did not hear a voice. I did not receive a direct answer in my head to the question I was asking. I did not need it. That peace carried me enough to know that God was actively guiding me in my teaching and that HE was aware of all that I wanted for my children. HE would not let me fail as I fought through those ugly feelings to bring my children the simple truths of Jesus Christ and of HIS Salvation.
The Facebook Message
Within an hour or so of that prayer, a dear friend all the way from Canada sent me a Facebook message. (I haven't seen her for about 20 years, but she has always listened to spiritual promptings and followed them. I have been blessed many times by her inspired messages.)
Having no clue about my most recent experiences but feeling that she "needed to pass it along," she shared this talk by Elder David A. Bednar from the 2008 General Conference. It was titled, "Pray Always". https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/pray-always?lang=eng#watch=video
The quote from his talk that continues to press upon my mind was this:
"Morning and evening prayers—and all of the prayers in between—are not unrelated, discrete events; rather, they are linked together each day and across days, weeks, months, and even years. This is in part how we fulfill the scriptural admonition to “pray always” (Luke 21:36; 3 Nephi 18:15, 18; D&C 31:12). Such meaningful prayers are instrumental in obtaining the highest blessings God holds in store for His faithful children."
It is not a coincidence that the message I had just received in such a beautiful manner was now being reiterated in this message delivered by a dear friend so many, many miles away.
The Invitation to Speak
The following morning I received a text message from another friend. She asked if our family would bear testimony and sing for their youth conference a couple hours south of us. I immediately accepted her invitation. She told me she had the assignment for several months to find a speaker, but she had just received a strong impression the night before that she needed to ask us. We continued to discuss the details of the conference, and then she told me the theme:
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life”
I had just felt the power of Christ in my heart so profoundly that I was bursting at the opportunity to share my testimony of HIM and to more specifically share of the hope and love that HE gives as we press forward in HIM… the invitation couldn't have come at a better time with a better theme.
God taught me to pray with more depth. HE confirmed that principle with a miracle as I did so. HE confirmed it upon my heart a 2nd time as I felt a Heavenly presence I had only felt a couple of times in my life. He confirmed it a 3rd time by way of a friend following a prompting all the way from Canada just moments after I had been experiencing that powerful prayer. Then the following day I received a phone call for the opportunity to speak on the truths that had just been confirmed 3 distinct times upon my heart… WOW! The Lord certainly is mindful of our lives.
HE is the Master of ALL. I testify to that.
HE wants us to draw nearer to HIM and to be HIS prayer warriors. My "War Room" is where I am choosing to fight for my family through mighty prayer to my Heavenly Father.