I’ve been asked why there aren’t lots of miracles in the Church today like there were in the New Testament. I am disappointed by the premise of the question. Who says there aren’t mircales? Miracles, of course, are unusual events. There are dozens of miracles in the scriptures – healings and so forth – but they involved a tiny handful of people and a tiny handful of moments. I don’t think they are any less rare or dramatic today. But they aren’t something you will read about nightly in the local paper, or watch on the Mormon Miracle Channel to satiate your curiosity. And they are often experienced in private or sacred settings that aren’t going to be posted on the Internet.
My testimony of the reality of God and the reality of the Restoration includes the effect of many small miracles that I have experienced. The earliest, and one of the least dramatic and most easily shared, occurred when I was six years old. My father had loaned me a magnifying glass, after showing me how he could check some plants for disease with it. Now I know it was a cheap plastic lens, with a magnification of perhaps about 3X and a cash value less than 50 cents, but then it seemed precious to me. After playing with it during the day, I realized I had lost it. I looked all over the house and my room and was unable to find it, and soon Dad would be coming home and I would disappoint him by having lost his precious tool. I was very worried. I remembered what my mother had taught me about praying for help, and so I got on my knees in my room, all alone, and asked Heavenly Father to help me find my Dad’s magnifying glass. After closing in the name of Christ and saying amen, I rose from my knees, looked at my chest of drawers, and felt like I should look in the middle drawer. I think I had already looked in all the drawers, but I went there again and immediately found it. I simply knew that God had heard my prayers. A small miracle, perhaps trivial to others, but it was the beginning of what must be thousands of examples of prayer being answered.
An important point: I have experienced relatively few miracles when I have prayed for something big and selfish. Even “big” and unselfish requests are often refused (China still remains under oppression, for example). But miracles become relatively frequent when unselfish service is involved.
One little example of this: In my early days in Wisconsin, I was asked to home teach a less active man who would later become my best friend out here and one of the best counselors I could have ever hoped for when I was later asked to be Bishop. I felt that my home teaching assignment was important and really wanted to visit this person, but it was hard getting an appointment set up that also worked for my companion, Tim, a married student at Lawrence University. On the appointed day for a visit, I was supposed to pick up Tim. I called him to confirm, and there was no answer. I tried again, and no answer. It was time to go, but he wasn’t home. I could cancel the appointment and reschedule, but I felt like I really needed to go, and I also felt that Tim needed the experience. I got on my knees and prayed for help, explaining that this was an important visit for Tim and the man we were trying to visit. After the prayer, I called again and heard Tim’s voice right away. Tim was surprised and said, “How did you reach me? My phone hasn’t been working – I can call out, but it doesn’t ring for incoming calls.” My call came in right as he was picking up the phone to dial. I believe that he had forgotten about the appointment, but was able to go after all. We had a successful visit – and both experienced a small miracle granted in answer to prayer for something “not too big” and unselfish. This is one small example of hundreds that I have experienced, especially in Priesthood service.
But “big” miracles do occur. Keep praying for China, for America, for the people in Iraq, for your loved ones, for your enemies, and for all that you do. The power of prayer is real, and God is real.