By Kimball Vaughn
Oct 17, 2017

Acting When Your Prayers Aren’t Answered

Have you ever prayed and expected Heavenly Father to answer your prayer right then and there in the way you were anticipating? Did you get off your knees and find yourself disappointed? You aren’t alone.

Every day we pray for all kinds of things, but not all of our prayers are answered during our timetable or in the way we’re hoping.

A Scoutmaster’s prayer

Illustration by Allen Garns

Scoutmaster Tony Rogerson experienced this very thing. “I was a Scoutmaster leading 20 young men and two leaders on an activity trip in southern Utah, USA.”

On the road to the campsite, he lost his way, but this did not deter him. He got out of his car – got on his knees – and pleaded for heavenly assistance.

Rogerson arose from his knees expecting to be shown where he, the Scouts, and the two leaders should go. However, to his utter dismay, no pathway was revealed unto him.

Sometimes Heavenly Father doesn’t answer our prayers immediately. Sometimes he makes us wait. After all, he has given us agency to make our own decisions.

Counsel from an Apostle

Elder Richard G. Scott speaking at the October 1989 General Conference Saturday Afternoon Session.

In a General Conference talk from October 1989, Elder Richard G. Scott gave this counsel in regards to how Heavenly Father occasionally answers prayers:

“When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act.”

At some point in our lifetime, we will be faced with difficult decisions. As we turn to the Lord seeking his counsel, we might not always get the answer we want in that moment.

The Brother of Jared Sees the Finger of the Lord (Brother of Jared Seeing the Finger of the Lord), by Arnold Friberg


Acting in faith

Imagine how the brother of Jared must have felt when the answer he received to his prayer was this: “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” As far as we know, the brother of Jared wasn’t an electrician, but that didn’t stop him.

He moved forward and acted. He presented sixteen stones to the Lord to light, and we all know what happened next.

When we pray and are unsure of what to do, we should follow Elder Scott’s counsel to act.

That’s exactly what the Scoutmaster did with his troop in southern Utah. The group made plans to eat at a local restaurant and stay overnight at the motel in town. They acted.

Suddenly, a flash of light illuminated the sky, large rain clouds were accompanied by great bolts of lightning. The path he had searched for all night became visible to him. He could see the way – his prayer had been answered – and he knew it.


Author: Kimball Vaughn | PR Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council I’m a Super Super Senior studying PR at BYU. During my first five years at BYU, I’ve been an avid exercise enthusiast, chef, and adventurer.


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One thought on “Acting When Your Prayers Aren’t Answered

  1. AvatarMaloree Anderson

    This article is just what I needed. Now more than ever we need to act. The Lord helps those who act. I read this a few months ago and it was something that spoke true to me. When I need something of the Lord I know that I need to act in the direction of what I need and the Lord will take it from there. Thank you so much for sharing this.


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