Sometimes the Lord answers prayers in unexpected ways. I started feeling ill last night, I felt ill this morning. I knew that today was supposed to be a busy day (with other people having to scramble around if I was not at work) so I did not feel like I should take a sick day. Instead, I prayed to feel better and to have strength to get through the day. I showed up at work and the patient I was supposed to work with did not show up (it turns out that the individual called to cancel the appointment yesterday but no one got the message). I saw this as the unexpected answer to my prayer. I wasn’t healed and I might not even have been physically strengthened in this illness, but circumstances changed that made the day bearable. Sometimes we are strengthened in our burdens and sometimes the burdens go away.
The Lord always answers our heartfelt prayers but we might miss those answers if we are not paying attention.
As an addendum on the topic of prayers – this morning I was glad to catch my oldest daughter saying her morning prayer after she caught me saying mine. This experience reminded me of a story Pres. Monson told in the October 2007 General Conference:
“We can teach the importance of prayer to our children and grandchildren both by word and by example. I share with you a lesson in teaching by example as described in a mother’s letter to me relating to prayer. ‘Dear President Monson: Sometimes I wonder if I make a difference in my children’s lives. Especially as a single mother working two jobs to make ends meet, I sometimes come home to confusion, but I never give up hope.’
“Her letter continues as she describes how she and her children were watching general conference, where I was speaking about prayer. Her son made the comment, ‘Mother, you’ve already taught us that.’ She asked, ‘What do you mean?’ Her son replied, ‘Well, you’ve taught us to pray and showed us how, but the other night I came to your room to ask something and found you on your knees praying to Heavenly Father. If He’s important to you, He’ll be important to me.’ The letter concluded, ‘I guess you never know what kind of influence you’ll be until a child observes you doing yourself what you have tried to teach him to do.'” (Monson, Three Goals to Guide You, October 2007).
We need to be mindful of God’s blessings and mindful of our examples to others. Sometimes answers and examples come when and how we least expect them.