I have prayed all of my life and never given it a second thought really. But recently my husband has stopped praying and said that he believes that God cannot read our minds, therefore cannot hear our silent prayers in our minds. I can’t seem to find anything anywhere that says otherwise. I had never give it much thought before now. But now I’m finding myself doubting it too. Can you clear this up for me? And are there references that tell that he can or cannot hear out silent prayers? Thank you!
Be of good cheer, of course, Heavenly Father can hear our silent prayers. The Book of Mormon gives us many examples of this.
To begin, in the Book of Mormon, Alma and his people were captives. Their captors were cruel to them and threatened them that if they prayed they would be put to death. But they continued to pray in their hearts, and their silent prayers were answered.
12 And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.
13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. (Mosiah 24:12-13)
In another part of the Book of Mormon, the missionary, Ammon was teaching the Lamanite King Lamoni. King Lamoni was surprised that Ammon discerned his thoughts. Ammon explained that it was God that allowed him to know what was in Lamoni’s heart. Ammon explained it this way:
32 And Ammon said: Yea, and he locked down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning. (Alma 18:32)
The Savior, Himself, told the Nephites, when He visited them:
6 And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me. (3 Nephi 28:6)
Our modern day leaders have spoken of this as well. Speaking to the priesthood holders of the Church (but advice about silent prayer applies to us all), President Henry B. Eyring said,
“It is easier to get the proper feeling of reverence when you are kneeling or bowing your head, but it is possible to feel that you are approaching your Heavenly Father in less formal and even in silent prayer, as you will often need to do in your priesthood service. There will be noise and people around you most of your waking day. God hears your silent prayers, but you may have to learn to shut out the distractions because the moment you need the connection with God may not come in quiet times.” Priesthood and Personal Prayer
Here is an example of President Thomas S. Monson using silent prayer and receiving an answer:
“The enormous soccer stadium where the event took place was filled with spectators. The wind had been blowing, and rain threatened. I offered a silent prayer asking Heavenly Father to look with mercy upon those who had prepared so diligently for our entertainment and whose costumes and presentations would be damaged if a heavy rain or wind enveloped them. He honored that prayer, and it wasn’t until the end of the show and later on that evening that rain fell in abundance.” Welcome to Conference
I’m sorry to hear that your husband has stopped praying. I believe it grieves our Heavenly Father when His children choose not to speak to Him. Be patient with your husband, losing your testimony is very painful. Never give up on him. Pray for him vocally and silently. Read the Book of Mormon, it will help buoy you up to support your husband during this time. In the scriptures there are also stories of those who had fallen away returning, so never give up.