Listening for and Offering Christlike Prayers


There came a time when my life was not going so well. Years of infertility issues put me in a slump of depression. My husband and I had three children (one biological, two adopted), but we were eager to have more.

Halli Lilburn

Out of five pregnancies only the one was carried to term. My most recent miscarriage was at nineteen weeks. We tried and failed at adopting through every channel possible. We tried artificial insemination twice with no luck. With continual prayer and fasting, I thought that Heavenly Father would bless me with this righteous desire if I did everything in my power to make it happen, but finally, after the last round of fertility procedures, I gave up.

Searching for Answers

Our money was exhausted, and my faith was shaky. I pondered on the scripture, “Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (3 Nephi 14:7).

scripture study

Why was Heavenly Father denying my request? In Proverbs 10:24 it states, “the desire of the righteous shall be granted.” Wasn’t this a righteous desire? What had I done to be unworthy of raising one of His children? The conclusion that kept toying with my emotions was that I must be physically and emotionally unable to handle another child, and God would not place too heavy of a burden upon me.

These depressing thoughts dominated my mind as I sat in the chapel before sacrament meeting one Sunday. I scanned the congregation and noticed a neighbour who was well into a healthy pregnancy. Her round belly reminded me of the privilege of procreation that I had been denied. Curbing my jealousy, I congratulated her in my heart. She deserved the happiness of the eternal son or daughter she would bring into the world.

Sacrament Meeting

The people around me quietly mingled during the prelude music. Their lives continued onward while mine was at a standstill. I had to come to terms with the fact that my family was completed. I would keep my pain a secret to avoid burdening others. I was alone. These friends and neighbours were not capable of helping me. I went so far as to assume nobody cared.

Blessed by a Prayer

As I sat in my pew that same sister was called on to give the invocation. She carried herself up to the pulpit and began her prayer. Even though she was completely unaware of my circumstances, what she said amazed me: “Please help those who are sick or otherwise afflicted that they will be blessed in their needs.”

I was afflicted.

She continued, “Bless us as neighbours to be aware of those around us, to understand their needs, to give support, comfort and service.”

At that moment I realized that no one is beyond the reach of those who dwell close to the Spirit, not even one such as I. Heavenly Father knew what I needed. It wasn’t a meal or even a phone call. It was the gift of comfort, and this Sister gave me just that. Without my name or identity, she felt inspired to pray for me even if she didn’t know it. It wasn’t just her words that helped me, but also the feeling I received upon hearing them. The Holy Ghost was with me.

Jesus' miracles

Putting My Life in Christ’s Hands

Since then my strength has grown. I have the ability to focus on my present situation, on the children already in my care, and to stop obsessing over a lost child. I put my life in God’s hands, and I will accept what he has decided for me.

This neighbour of mine set an example of Christ-like compassion with her sincere prayer. I hope that I can be as in tune with the Spirit as she is. I hope that I can recognize when someone is in need. And I hope that I will follow those promptings, even if it is as small a thing as saying a prayer.