From Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (deceased), Principle 8 from his book ’21 Principles’, Divine Truths to Help You Live by the Spirit:

It is sometimes very hard to discern and answer to prayer for a matter for which we have very deep personal feelings

or something which causes strong emotions to arise within us. That is why it is important to seek

valid, inspired counsel when one finds himself or herself in such a circumstance.

Prayer is a supernal gift of our Father in Heaven to every soul. Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, encourages you and me, as insignificant as we are to converse with Him as our Father. It matters not our circumstance, be we humble or arrogant, poor or rich, free or enslaved, learned or ignorant loved or forsaken, we can address Him. We need no appointment. Our supplication can be brief or can occupy all the time needed. It can be an extended expression of love and gratitude or an urgent plea for help. He has created numberless cosmos and populated them with worlds, yet you and I can talk with Him personally, and He will ever answer.

I wonder if we can ever really fathom the immense power of prayer until we encounter an overpowering, urgent problem and realize that we are powerless to resolve it. Then we will turn to our Father in humble recognition of our total dependence on Him.

However, an individual who lets his or her emotions influence decisions cannot be powerfully led by the Holy Spirit. The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be masked by strong emotions such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeño pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The wise counsel often given to patriarchs to keep their homes and lives free of discord or tension certainly applies to us. Joseph Smith learned that lesson and had the courage to record it for our benefit. Spiritual direction will not come when the spirit is offended by unresolved differences with our loved ones even though they are small. It certainly cannot come in an environment where there is even occasional uncontrolled emotion, disharmony, or anger.

When one is caught in a whirlpool of emotion, it is difficult to find a way out alone. When answers to urgent prayer don’t seem to come, it can be that we don’t understand some truths about prayer or because we don’t recognize answers when they come. From time to time we may need additional help to see answers clearly, particularly when our challenges are difficult.

. . . . Once I had an experience that caused me immense anxiety. It had nothing to do with disobedience or transgression but with a vitally important human relationship. For some time I poured my heart out in urgent prayer. Yet try as I might, I could find no solution, no settling of the powerful stirring within me. I pled for help from that Eternal Father I have come to know and trust completely. I could see no path that would provide the calm that is my blessing to generally enjoy. Sleep overcame me. When I awoke, I was at total peace. Again I knelt in solemn prayer and asked, “Lord, how is it done?” In my heart I knew the answer was His love and His concern for me. Such is the power of sincere prayer to a compassionate Father.

Know that our Father in Heaven will always hear your prayers and will invariably answer them. However His answers will seldom come while you are on your knees praying, even when you may plead for an immediate response. Rather, He will prompt you in quiet moments when the Spirit can most effectively touch your mind and heart. As you seek His counsel in moment of pondering, you will rejoice to find solutions to even your most perplexing problems. ~Elder Richard G. Scott, 21 Principles, Divine Truths to Help You Live by the Spirit (Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 2013), 40-43

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