I can remember countless times when I have listened to the broken voices of friends and family members tell me of their pains and challenges. In these moments, it is my nature to first try to solve their problems. There are wonderful times where I am happy to say the answers to their conflicts are simple and straight forward. I can give them my advice with a beautiful ribbon tied around it and watch them walk away with peace in their hearts. These instances though, are few and far between. In fact as time goes on they are becoming more and more of an endangered species. More often than not I am disappointed to find that my wisdom is nowhere near sufficient enough to fix most issues.
But surely there must be something I can do.
I can't just sit back and watch as the world rips apart their homes, their careers, their relationships, their mental health and their emotional well being. So often it feels as though they are out in the middle of sea being tossed around and all I can do is shout out to them, "I think it will be ok! Hold on a little longer!"
The truth is the list of things we can't help is endless....
Graciously though, Heavenly Father has given us something that we can do. At times we may mistakenly see it as a small and inconsequential gift we can give, but in fact the tool the Lord has provided us with is most POWERFUL.
But not just any old rattled off prayer with well wishes sent in the direction of the person we are hoping to help. Real sincere prayers are needed. We will not change God's will, but if we carefully consider what our loved ones need and seek to say the RIGHT prayers, we can help them through their trying times.
When the father of one of my dearest friends passed away in high school, I had no idea how I could help her. I was beyond my depth. Her trial was so far outside my realm of experience, I had no idea where to begin with comforting her. I could explain to her the plan of Salvation though she had had that reminded to her often during his passing. I could tell her that time would make things better or that the feeling of his presence throughout her life would bring her peace. But the honest truth is that I had no idea what could be done to cool the burned edges of her heart. If I were to go back in time, after experiencing what I have experienced, I would understand that only the Savior could heal her. Now, I would understand that the most helpful thing I could do for her is pray. In my prayers I wouldn't simply ask him to comfort her, I would pray that he would increase her ability to have faith in eternal families. I would ask him to send his spirit to her on those particularly challenging nights. I would ask him to open my eyes to the little things outside of this trial that she might need help with. I would ask him to fill my mouth with the words that can best bring added strength.
I would pray. And then I would deepen the thought and intent I would put into my prayers.
So to those of you who are feeling lost in your search to support your friends; do all you can do, and then turn it over to the Lord.
The Savior, ever our perfect example, shows us the way in which He helps us. As President Eyring pointed out in this past conference, He makes us a promise that will allow us to push forward;
"When He was about to be crucified, the Savior described the way He helps lighten loads and gives strength to carry them. He knew that His disciples would grieve. He knew that they would fear for their future. He knew they would feel uncertain of their capacity to move forward.
We cannot do it on our own... We need one another. And when even our best mortal efforts lead us short....prayer changes things.
(Thanks to my good friends who have done great things to cheer me up and make me happy lately!)