I recently had the pleasure of visiting with a cousin of mine and her lovely family.  It was such a wonderful experience to get to meet with them and spend some time sharing stories and having gospel conversations.  I felt very emotional as I got into the car to leave and started to cry as I drove off. I was grateful for their hospitality and I began mourning the fact that they did not live closer.

I had a bit of a drive home and I began to think about how grateful I was for them and being able to see them and for their devotion to the gospel. I began to pray. I prayed for them as a family.  I thanked Heavenly Father that I had them in my life.  And the more I prayed and thanked, the more I found to pray and thank about.

Before long the prayer turned to me and my life.  I thanked my Father in Heaven for His kindness in giving me people to help me through  my trials.  I prayed for strength to endure my trials and to carry them with nobility. Before long though, I seemed to break down and just told Heavenly Father that no matter how hard I worked and how righteous I was, that it was just plain hard. It is hard to have to deal with feelings of depression and loneliness.  That I did not understand why I had to be attracted to men. I prayed for comfort, cause it was just plain hard sometimes.

Now, I normally do not like it when people say that they always feel the Savior comfort them or that they feel Him with them always, but something unusual happened that shocked me out of my crying; I felt someone there. As I asked for comfort, I felt as if there were some kind of arms around me. Physically. Telling me that I was loved.  I do not know if it was really the arms of the Savior.  But it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I felt comforted as I asked for it.  And I knew that the love and comfort I was feeling came from my Savior Jesus Christ. It was a rare and beautiful moment for me.

For the rest of the trip I pondered prayer and the power that it has. The spirit brought to my mind things that I had not realized were indeed answers to prayer.

It seems every time that I ask for strength, I am asked to give a talk in Sacrament.  Sometimes I ask for knowledge on a certain principle and I am asked to teach a lesson on that very subject.  Every time I ask for help or understanding or strength, the Lord blesses me with an opportunity to serve where I find the things for which I have prayed.

I am so grateful for prayer.  What a wonderful tool we have at our disposal! And how often we leave it untouched! God loves us and wants us to be happy and we can have access to that happiness through prayer. I find these words of our beloved Prophet to be the perfect sum of my feelings and thoughts on the matter:

One human resource officer assigned to handle petty grievances concluded an unusually hectic day by placing facetiously a little sign on his desk for those with unsolved problems. It read, “Have you tried prayer?” What he may not have realized was that this simple counsel would solve more problems, alleviate more suffering, prevent more transgression, and bring about greater peace and contentment in the human soul than could be obtained in any other way. – Thomas S. Monson

I add my testimony to President Monson’s and thank Heavenly Father for this precious gift.