On 7 February 2004 I was with my wife in the Gijon Hotel in the north of Spain where I was serving as president of the Spain Bilbao Mission. When we finished dinner I looked at my phone to see if I had any messages I hadn’t looked at yet. I noticed there had been a call from one of our missionaries. I noted who it was and called him back.
When he answered we exchanged greetings and then I asked him what he needed. He was surprised and said he hadn’t called me. I insisted that my phone showed a call from him, but he was sure that he hadn’t called. We ended our conversation.
Five minutes later he called and said: “President, I have a problem that is really bothering me. I prayed and asked the Lord for help to know what I should do. I didn’t want to call you, but while I was praying you called. I was so surprised because I hadn’t called you. I knew then that the Lord was telling me that I needed to talk to you immediately.” We talked for a little while and the problem was resolved.
When I talked with him two days later I again asked him if he’d called me. “No president,” he said, “it was the hand of the Lord.” He showed me his call record on his phone and there were no outgoing calls to me.
In the Guide to the Scriptures, under the heading “Prayer” it says: “The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that we must ask for in order to obtain.”
How interesting! We need to ask for the blessings in order to receive them, if it’s God’s will. What would happen if we got everything we desired without asking for it? Certainly our relationship with our Heavenly Father would be very distant, if not totally obsolete. When we know we need to ask for what we need it increases our humility, our communication with Him, our spirituality, our devotion, and our desires become greater. In this way God makes sure our progress is continual and regular.
The Lord says: “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10). What a tremendous blessing! Heavenly Father will give us those things that will be best for us, and for our fellow men, even though at times it is hard for us to understand answers that may be contrary to what we want.
Alma taught his son Helaman: “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (Alma 37:37). Just like this missionary of old, we should do those things that our Heavenly Father wants so we can feel the peace that we need. That unexplainable call was undoubtedly the answer to a prayer from a sincere young missionary.
I testify that success in this life, as the Lord sees it, is based on the loving answers we receive from our Heavenly Father as we ask for the righteous desires of our hearts.