Heavenly Father, are you really there?

Why are other people so sure that God answers their prayers? What do they feel? How do they know whatever happened is an answer to prayer? How can I get that too?

In church on Sunday, several people talked about how they feel God’s love through prayer, how they have had special prayers answered. They were so cheerful, so exuberant in their knowledge that God is looking out for them.

Do I just say crappy prayers? Even during my most “spiritual time” while I was on my mission, I never felt that I was receiving answers to my millions of prayers, and that was while I was praying about 40 times a day, under varying circumstances. I don’t think it was a lack of faith. At the time, I just believed that some people got a lot of answers, and I was not one of those people. I thought that the only time God would intervene on my behalf would be if I was in serious danger, which I never was, or if I was about so make a life-changing mistake. Otherwise, he would let me make my own decisions, as long as I was trying my best to do good things.

That’s how I got myself on the mission in the first place. When I prayed, God never told me not to go. Same thing with college. I chose a major, and I never felt like I shouldn’t do it. I just assumed God was happy with whatever I picked. I have always had trouble with people who tell me that God told them who to marry, what to major in, where to move, or what to eat for breakfast. I just don’t understand that.

But why do they seem so happy with their conversations with God? Why do I feel like I’m just talking out loud? People say that you have to be patient, because God answers you when he wants to, but sheesh, how long do I have to feel so alone? And why does he answer those “faithful” people all the time, but me, when I’m really begging just for confirmation, I get nothing.

Maybe I’m deaf.


~ by woundedhart on August 28, 2007.

16 Responses to “Heavenly Father, are you really there?”

  1. Well, a luminary no less than Mother Teresa felt the same way, so it’s probably not just you…

  2. Maybe it depends on the type of prayer. Personally, I don’t believe in a monotheistic paternalistic God-figure, but I do believe that there is wisdom and goodness far, far greater than my own, and I pray quite a lot. I don’t usually ask for things, though . . . my prayers are more acknowledgments of gratitude. When I need something, I tend to ask to be open to guidance. Or express my readiness to be guided. I’ve never not received some kind of thought I didn’t have before, or inspiration that was bigger than I am. Not right away, but eventually.

    My feeling is that people expect the Divine to speak in big ways. I don’t think the Divine shouts . . . I think it whispers, and it’s often so subtle that we mistake it for our own minds or our own souls.

  3. If you are deaf, then I’m deaf as well.

    I have never received an answer to a prayer. Even when I prayed about the Book of Mormon, I didn’t receive an answer. I figured that the peace I felt, it was actually silence, was probably an answer, but I never got an actual answer.

    I’ve since decided that there is no God. At least not a God in the way that I have been taught. I have no idea if there really is a God or not.

    I’m quite sure that most of the stories of people getting answers to prayer are made up. I don’t think they are fictitious. I just think that there was really no answer. They had a feeling at a certain time, or they had an epiphany at a certain time and chalked it up to God.


  4. I really admire your honesty in this post. These are the things that we can’t talk about during Relief Society! It’s nice to have a place that is open enough to do so.

    The weird thing is that since I lost faith in CJCLDS I do get answers to prayers. I get direct inspiration that wasn’t there before and things pop into my head as if they were truth. I just know something.

    Then I read CArol Lynn Pearson’s book, “consider the Butterfly”. She talks just about this. How other people got big dramatic answers to prayers and all she was left with was hope. Then she started looking for meaningful coincidences in life and found that when she paid attention, God was talking to her all the time. I found the same thing.

    Well that went right along with how I was feeling about God. I was feeling that God was an energy on the planet who connects us all together. IN yoga they talk about God as consciousness, rather than a person and that resonates with me. When I look at the world as symbolic, then I can find all sorts of messages from the universe (or God) coming right at me. I never tried it in my TBM days because I felt I was looking for “signs” which we’re told not to do.

    I think some people have the ability to tap into the energy of the universe. But now I think it is more of a clairvoyant or psychic thing than a literal answer to prayer. Which, within my new definition of God is probably considered an answer to prayer.

    I”m still not sure. I can feel people before they call me and feel them before they walk into a room. I wake up right before my kids do in the middle of the night. I don’t doubt that connection. I get the same feeling when I pray.

    I approach prayer like a game. I don’t ask for things anymore, I feel that I have to live from the faith that everything in my life is here to teach me something. I say thanks a lot and and ask for inspiration and strength. I pay attention to the world around me, because I want to feel that connection to is-ness or God.

    As you can tell, I”m still figuring it out. Thanks for giving us a place to ramble on…

  5. I was feeling so low tonight, I was thinking if I went ahead and ended it, just how much of a risk of damnation am I really risking. Thus, out sheer desperate curiosity, I typed “Heavenly Father are you really there” in to Google search. Almost as much of a joke as a desperate plea. The first item I clicked on was this page. Thus I read each of the postings.

    By the time I finished with Sattva’s post, and realized how she had fallen away from The Church, and after hearing what other’s had said… I knew I had an answer to my prayer.

    The tears are still streaming as I type. It hurt me so much, to read other’s words of lost faith and turning away from The Church, that it manifests to me… once again… of my knowledge of the Truth. I have stopped doing all that I have known to bring me peace and comfort. Yet, to hear that one of my sweet sisters or brother’s are so far away from the Truth that they will openly profess it to all, bring a pain greater than anything I feel on my own.

    So I guess, once again, I have been reminded that the “Answers” may not come in the way, or what we want, but they are there. It is just a matter of listening to the still small voice, in the midst of the noise and chaos that bombards our senses constantly.

    Thank You Heavenly Father… for being so patient and loving, and allowing us to keep asking the same question over and over, even though we get the answer each time… only to want it reaffirmed so frequently.

  6. I totally get what you are saying and also how it was put. Sounds very heartfelt and genuine. As an LDS kid I was not a good one. Neither were my folks but were stern disciplinarians and stinkin’ mean. Once I found out that i could shoot and toss a ball well I was out of there house as much as I could be and followed the life of my buddies. In all of those years of my youth I cannot say that I ever knew an answer was an answer. Even reading the books just left me lost in the house of Israel somewhere. I kicked against the pricks and suffered alot in life because I was a professional, arrogant, idiot. I lived how I wanted, much to just rub my hatred for my family and force into their faces. Through the course of life, challenges, divorce, bankruptcy, and broken heart and soul, I found myself one night so mad at my ex that I wanted to kill her. She was putting me and the kids through hell. I realized somehow that I could not live this way in rage and the horrible way I felt and struck my knees to the earth and prayed. I served a full-time mission too. Got my Eagle badge and somehow graduated from Seminary but not until that night did I get it. “I will never ask you at the last day how other people treated YOU” came the concept to my heart; like it was layed there. I started to cry like a four year old kid. (I was thirty something. Over the next weeks and months I did everything within my power to truly live a clean life. I made full and conscientious restitution to those I had harmed including my poor ex. I cleaned it all up brother with the help and reassurance from heaven that I could feel strengthening and guiding me. I could feel it. Life swung dramatically in the other direction. Now that I have truly and fully committed my life to what I know to be right He changed me. I am just a different man inside in every way. The weak things have become strengths and I feel and sense and “hear” as it were the answers to my prayers. I had to learn how He talks to me. Lehi was a dreamer, Jeremiah needed object lessons, Elijah a “still, small, voice.” Knowing what I know now, I would have devoted my youth to living a clean and pure and honest life so that I too could have had the great blessing that I now enjoy of having a relationship with with our Father in Heaven. I realize now that He at times will break-put and visit a Saul on the road to Damascus or an Alma going about doing stupid things but the rule is this: seek Him with ALL of your heart in Faith (which means keeping his commandments) with REAL Intent, and a SINCERE Heart and he will speak and converse with and hold on to you to. I realize that for those whose life experiences are different their feelings and views about such things will probably differ. All I know is that I didn’t know and get it; and now do and get it. And incase you are armed… I am already ducking. RWB

  7. I wish I knew the answer to this question. It is despair that brought me to this site. I typed the words “Heavenly Father are you really there?” and here I am. I was looking for something really profound on which I could anchor my hopes, but it is not here. What is here are people discussing the very question and giving there honest thoughts. That tells me I have to work my way through my sadness and look for a better day, which is sure to come. That raises another question: How long will that take?

  8. WOW do I get what you are feeling and experiencing. I have gone through very much the same things and wonderments and am now beyond them. Might I tell you the HOW or WHAT in relation to this issue as it worked for me? I was born into an LDS family who attended meetings but never really lived the gospel in the home. They were abusive and mean, dishonest and immoral. I knew where dad kept all of his dirty stuff (pic’s and vid’s) which were not comparable to d
    todays graphic nature but nonetheless immoral. My parents lied and acted the part to church members. We fought like cats and dogs and the kids often got some world-class beatings. Kids learn what they live, not what they are told. You know? I absorbed all of this. Kids do. We “live the gospel” like our folks did and would go to war saying they were right. They were “good people and they did this.” This type of thing. I graduated from Seminary and received an Eagle Scout Badge. I drifted badly and could not hear heaven or the Lord. After numerous struggles I ended up in the mission field late at 21 through the compassion of a remarkable Bisop. There are still a few good ones out there. Many are corrupt. After serving a honorable full time mission the same struggles of life crept in from my training in my youth. Truth is, I always felt the mission rules were beneath me and I was often errant in my behavior out there, sad to report. After two divorces a bankruptcy and a business and home and family loss I was at the bottom. I actually one night in an intoxicated state had a handgun that was not loaded and I drove to the ghetto of town and was going to make the cops kill me. I had contemplated many times over the years taking my own life but the doctrine regarding this dilemma had always prevented me from folloing through. That night I did not se ONE SINGLE POLICE CAR! I was shocked as during the ride this was somehow pressed upon my heart that someone was looking out for me. In the next few weeks I realized how low I was and I turned to the Lord with what I thought was all of the energy of heart. I read an article by Parley P. Pratt called TRUE FAITH that was included in a copy of Lectures on Faith which a friend had loaned me. In it it said something like, “If you have not laid down ALL OF YOUR SINS, MADE COMPLETE AND FULL RESTITUTION FOR ALL MIS-DEEDS YOU HAVE EVER COMMITTED and have not conformed your life to the Lord’s commandments in ALL things…. YOU HAVE NO FAITH!!!!! It knocked me off of the couch! I knew then and there that I had NEVER truly laid down all of my sins. I held on to 5 or 6 that I was “working on” like I heard others in the church say. This is a load of crap. We were never intended to s[pend 20 or 30 years accumulating bad behaviors and then whittle away at them until we die and think this conforms to the Lord’s doctrine. His doctrine is lay down ALL OF YOUR SINS NOW!!! I will help you and the Spirit will come and aid and strengthen and guide you. You will be clean and I will make you what you need to be. I said OK. I literally said, “I will gie you 30 days. I will live the gospel 100% with a clean heart and motivations of truth and love and prove Thy word.” I NEVER looked back. He changed me. In an instant and in a process that continues. One example. I literally wanted to kill my X-wife; literally! I was SO furious that she had lied and cheated my children away from me that I was SO angry every hour of every day. One night on my knees in prayer during my “perfect month” I felt the words in my heart, “You will not be asked at the judgment bar how other people treated you.” I fell to the floor in gut wrenching humility. He would merely show me how others had treated Him if I were to try and use this excuse at that day. I had been taught to the center of by bones by the Spirit of God. That month, that commitment, enabled the voice of God in my soul. I could feel and now sense his love and words and inspiration. That full committment and true intent opened up athe flood of love and inspiration that is available to us all if we will follow Him. It has been ten years and He has carried me light-years from where I was then. Always beside me. Always guiding me. Often He stretches me and seeks to expand my faith but I hear and feel and know Him like I never did before I fully comitted to keep all of His commandments and He will do the same for you. Remember we are not home yet. The purpose of this plan is not just to enable us to live WITH God, it is so that we can be LIKE God! Best, Shademaker

  9. This comment is for Shademaker. I just wanted to tell you that I truly appreciate your comments here. I grew up in a family situation that sounds very similar to yours. My home life was a train wreck and the only thing I could really think about was when I would be old enough to move out. I didn’t grow up in the church, but through some friends I knew in the church, and one bishops genuine good examples, I grew interested in the church and joined when I turned 19. Long story short, my life was miserable before I joined the church, and I’m sure it would have continued to be miserable after I joined the church, if I hadnt truly had it in my heart to get to know my Heavenly Father. I’m 34 years old now, and I have learned one lesson at a time just how much Heavenly Father cares. I still stumble once in a while, but I sincerely want to make my Heavenly Father happy. He has shown me so much mercy, and patience and love, the least I can do is try my best to live my life the way he has taught me.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you. Your words really spoke to me and I want to congratulate you on your decisions to “take the better road”. I wish you all the best! -Doingmybest

  10. My mission experience was a horrible one.

    There, I said it.

    I was in an area serving under a severely misogynistic branch presidency where I was threatened with physical harm for “not being Sister enough.” I spent hours sobbing, not understanding what on earth was going on. I had essentially been commanded to go on a mission, felt that the time I went was right and that the place I was called was where I was supposed to be. But the radio silence from the Lord since then was deafening.

    I desperately asked the same question, but with a slight variance. “Heavenly Father, do you really love me?” As I laid in bed, I thought of all the people in my life that I loved and how passionately I loved them. And the revelation came that my love for others was but a small fraction of the Lord’s love for me.

    I wish I could say it changed my life, changed my mission, and that I’m successful both in and out of the Church because of that one miraculously answered prayer. Not so. But I can say that in the great darkness of that hellhole on earth area I was trying to serve in came some of the greatest miracles I have ever experienced. I don’t think one would have happened without the other. It’s only by going into the darkness that we find enlightenment.

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  12. Here is my two cents worth. God is a real person and he answers our prayers. The problem is that we don’t listen. We have too many things going on at the same time in our head. The past rises up to haunt us over a difficult childhood, or love lost, or even love not found. The future looms before us with all its uncertainties. Our prayers are answered in the present and it is a whisper, but with all the noise rolling around in our heads we cannot hear it.

    In martial arts there is a state of mind that the practitioner tries to achieve. It is called mushin no shin, or mind of no mind. The way to accomplish it is to live in the now. Don’t fill your mind with thoughts of the pas. The past is gone and cannot be recaptured. Likewise don’t concern yourself with the future. The future has not yet arrived. All we have is the present, or the now.

    An exercise to help us to live in the now is to walk just to walk. Examine the feeling of walking. Feel it in your body. Don’t think of the destination. Think only of the experience of walking. Empty your mind of everything else.

    When you empty your mind and achieve mushin no shin you will hear the answers to your prayers and your mind will be filled with peace and light.

    The problem is that we have to live through hardship and pain and that seems to override our mind of no mind. That is exactly what Satan wants. He wants us to become so lost in our problems that we cannot find our Heavenly Father.

    Here are three rules to help with that.
    1. Don’t put your happiness in someone else’s pocket.
    2. Find something that stimulates your mind and pursue it.
    3. Give something back to the community.

    Forget your problems, find someone who is struggling and help them. Joy and closeness to God comes through giving service to others. Also find something beautiful in every day.

    We have to experience hardship. It is part of our probationary state, but it doesn’t have to beat us. After you pass through trials take a look at who you were before and who you are after. If we endure our hardships well we will see that our strength has increased.

  13. please show me yourself
    in jesus name
    bleeeess me andddd mine , oh, god of abrraham, Issacc and jacob..

  14. I never though a time will come when i will do this. Well tonight i’m really sad. I feel weak and alone, spiritually, mentally and physically. I was born lds and have been a member all my life. I have a very strong testimony of the saviour and of his love for me. I know the book of mormorn is inspired of God and is another testament of jesus Christ. I know this not because everyone says it but because i have read it all the way through and i have felt closer to my heavenly father. I have seen the power the book conveys and i know withouth a shadow of a dobt i know a man will draw closer to heavenly father by reading this book than by any other book. I belive the bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated corectly. I strongly believe in the power of the priesthood because i have seen it bless my life and that of my family. I know god lives i know he loves me, i know his son is my redeemer and that he died for me that i might live eternally oneday. I know that families can be together forever.

  15. Was going to give a long list of why i feel heavenly father doesn’t listen to my prayers but instead i typed my testimony and it has somehow made me feel alittle better.

  16. I remember a time when I felt the same way. I was sure that Heavenly Father did not answer my prayers, or took any particular interest in my well being. I remember having some rather loud conversations with him about that. As I look back to who I was then and who I am now I can see that he did indeed answer my prayers.

    I have always wanted to help those less fortunate than I. In my life path I have had to work through some terrible hardships. At times I didn’t think I could survive them, but I did survive and I learned. The things I have learned have given me insight. With that insight I have been more truly able to assist people through their own trials.

    So, did Heavenly Father answer my prayers? While I didn’t think so at the time, I am sure of it now.

    We westerners are a strange people I think. We want things now and if we do not get what we want immediately we think we are put out about it. Consider the poor peasants in India. These people are really poor. They hardly have enough to feed and clothe themselves. If something has three sides and a roof there is someone living in it.

    If we lived like that here we would be angry at our lot, but in India those people are truly happy. That is because they believe what their spiritual leaders tell them and they know this life is not the end and that there is something better waiting for them.

    I am reminded of the adage “Walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.” What that means is that happiness is a choice we make. How does that correlate to Heavenly Father answering our prayers? It means that we should make our offerings to the Lord put them out of our mind and go about our life with a good attitude knowing that Heavenly Father is there and that he has wisdom enough to help us find our way home.

    Our goal is to learn how to become Celestial beings. To do that we must learn how to endure well. Heavenly Father will give us the trials we need to accomplish that learning. Christ, the greatest of all, is called the man of sorrows, so we are in good company. Heavenly Father does answer our prayers and it is up to us to see it, or not.

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