3 Nephi 1:12
“And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:”
It wasn’t just a quick prayer that the prophet offered. Nephi prayed, pleaded, all day. He was desperate for his people. After humbly pleading with the Lord, all day long, the Lord spoke to him. I’ve had prayers answered before. Not all prayers are answered within a day or by receiving the words. Sometimes people cross our path who turn out to be the answer to years of prayers. But I have had experiences with prayers answered in the way that this verse describes too. Sometimes the answer comes in the form of reading a scripture that is exactly what I needed to know at that time. Or it comes by help from a friend or a call or message from a family member with perfect timing. There have even been times where I’ll have a thought pop into my head that is the perfect solution to my problem. I believe those all to be the Lord speaking to me. Sometimes, a thought pops into my head so immediate and direct that I can almost hear a voice. I have thought (or heard), “You can do this!” when I needed encouragement. Or, “I’m still here” when I needed comfort. It’s the Holy Spirit who helps us communicate to Heavenly Father and Him to us. All these answers to prayer are called revelation. We don’t pray to a prophet, living or dead. Although the living prophets receive revelation pertaining to us, we are obligated to receive it for ourselves by praying and asking whether or not it is true. So sometimes a simple “Yes” or “No” is the answer I receive from the Lord. Sometimes additional prayers are needed like, “Help me discover how this applies to me”. I bet you Nephi’s people are praying this day too. They’re families lives are threatened by the unbelievers! (Their anticipation for Christmas is quite different than ours today.)
Prayer is a gift given to each human being and if we, sincerely, want to know the answer we will receive it.