Contest Winner: “Are You Really There?”

The world confuses us about our relationship with God. But a simple children’s song reminds us to send our questions heavenward.

Pray; he is there. Speak; he is listening

Photo by Kosal Ley

“So, do you believe in God or not?” My friend Jane was the kind of person to dig deep into a person’s soul, and tonight my brother was the specimen under her microscope. I felt like a little girl as I hid behind a wall and eavesdropped on their important conversation. Even from the other room, I could feel her question hang heavily in the air. Finally, Brad responded: “I mean, I think I believe in a higher power, but I’m not going to be so presumptuous as to name it ‘God.’”

As I heard his answer, a jolt went through every cell in my body, and a roll of images flitted through my mind: Me as a shy kid singing “I Am a Child of God” during a Primary program. Me as an awkward preteen reciting “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father in a Young Women room. Me as a confident missionary teaching in a dim living room in Colorado that “God is our loving Heavenly Father.” 

Five years ago, Brad would have answered Jane’s question differently. I still remembered him as a beaming returned missionary, with a testimony as crisp as his ironed shirt. Back then, he would have testified of God’s nature and love. But a new Church policy, a few lost gospel habits, and many philosophy classes later, Brad held a new belief system that was as ambiguous as it was agnostic.

As I stood with my back against the hallway wall, I silently poured out a prayer in the form of a children’s song: “Heavenly Father, are you really there?” Then I waited. While it would have been nice for my answer to come as a bold headline or a flashing neon sign, it instead came as a slow, heavenly trickle. As my Heavenly Father had done many times before, he responded to his child’s prayer with a gentle press on my heart. Of course he was there; all I had to do was ask.

I learned in the hallway that night that whether we—like Brad—have moments, weeks, or years of doubts, the key to knowing Heavenly Father is to direct our questions to him and not to social media or a political news source. The key is to search for spiritual truths in spiritual texts, not temporal ones. It’s choosing to believe that he’s our Father, not just a feel-good concept without a name. I stand as a witness that no matter how dark our clouds of doubt may be, God will remind us who we are to him, because he does “hear and answer every child’s prayer.”

Listen to “A Child’s Prayer and discover for yourself how to feel Heavenly Father’s response to your prayers.

Source: LDS Children’s Songbook

—Hannah Walker, Mormon Insights contributor

feature image by olivia snow

Find more insights

Watch the video  “God Is Our Father” to see how individuals from around the world have come to know that God is their Heavenly Father.

Read the Ensign message “Our Father, Our Mentor,” by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, about how we can turn to Heavenly Father as our mentor when doubts and questions arise.

Check out LDS.org‘s webpage “God Is Our Father” to learn more about how a testimony of God’s existence and his relationship with us can help us find our way home. 

Read Matthew 6:6 to discover how the Savior teaches us to receive communication from Heavenly Father.

Study “Chapter 2: God the Eternal Father” in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith to learn more about God’s nature and his love for us.

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