Episode 5. February 28, 2016. This week’s znukcast is focused on the ministry of angels here on earth.
In the 5th chapter of Acts, we read about Peter and John being in Jerusalem teaching the gospel and healing “sick folks” and them which were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed EVERY ONE!
Well, this didn’t sit so well with the high priest and Sadducees that were there. You see, they didn’t particularly like all this disruption to their traditions. It threatened their positions of power and so they were filled with envy and malice and then laid their hands on Peter and John and threw them into prison.
And then in that same chapter we read about the miracle….”But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors and brought them forth and said Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.”
What an amazing story this is. Two men, on the Lord’s errand, doing what they had been called to do, and doing it very well I might add, ending up in prison! We don’t know what the prayers of Peter and John were that night within those prison walls, but if it had been me I would have been praying for deliverance. Whatever their prayers, an angel was sent to open the doors and free them, and their guards were just outside the door keeping watch!
Angels are talked about a lot in the scriptures. The term angel or angels is mentioned 518 times in the scriptures. Since 1971, the terms appear 1321 times in general conference talks. Our hymnbook has 134 occurrences. I think it is fair to say that as members of the church we are no strangers to the ministry of angels.
In 2008, Elder Holland gave a wonderful talk on the ministry of angels. He said this:
“Speaking of the mortal family, God knew the challenges they would face, and He certainly knew how lonely and troubled they would sometimes feel. …. In times of special need, he sent angels, divine messengers, to bless His children, reassure them that heaven was always very close and that his help was always very near. God has used angels from the beginning down through the dispensations in conveying love and concern for his children. Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near.”
I want to share a story with you about our daughter MiCayla while she was serving her mission in the Canada Edmonton Mission.
Here is the story in her own words:
As you know, two weeks ago I lost my scriptures. This last Tuesday, my dad sent me an email talking about how he was praying that an angel would pick them up and bring them to a place where I could find them. And then said that he KNEW I would find them so to let him know when I did. So later that day (after emails) we get on the bus and this lady starts talking to us. And we find out she’s a member from another ward and she’s starts telling us the importance of specific prayer. Anyways, right after talking to this lady we get a call from the assistants (who was my previous zone leader) and he starts saying he’s following up about our studies and then asked what my favorite scripture was. So I tell him and then he’s like “Oh, ok. Well you know what scripture we’ve gotten a lot of? 2 Nephi 1:15. Do you know that one?” And i’m like “Umm, not sure. Remind me?” and he starts to read and I pause (it’s the scripture on the back of my scripture case) and i’m like wait… I know this. “Do you have something of mine?” and he HAS MY SCRIPTURES!! And i’m like How did you get that?! And he tells me that they went to the library that day and some lady was sitting down and just started looking at the elders really strange. So of course, they walk over. And she’s like “I have a book of yours… It has a name on it!” So they’re like uhmmm… ok. And they go to her house to pick it up and it’s my scriptures. And she said she found it on the bus. Why in the world did this lady pick them up? It was a day we weren’t usually in the library and she picked them up I guess just feeling like she’d see us or something. No clue. But when Elder Low (the assistant) told me this I literally just started to cry. It was such a strong testimony to me that Heavenly Father hears our prayers! Even for things that aren’t the biggest deal. But he knew it was important to me. And because of exercised faith, I know that prayers were answered, and for that i’m grateful for! Thank you dad, especially, for offering specific prayers. Heavenly Father loves us, and I know that he will answer our prayers so long as we ask in faith.
Now I am not sure exactly what role the angel played in this story, but I have absolute confidence that one was involved. You see, MiCayla thought she had left them at the bus stop, that they didn’t even make it onto the bus. So perhaps an angel put them on the bus, perhaps an angel whispered to the woman to sit in the seat where they were, and perhaps that same angel whispered to her to pick them up. Perhaps she was the angel. We just don’t know. But this I do know….
Has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto Nay; for it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men. Moroni 7:44
You see, I knew that an angel would help MiCayla find her scriptures, because I had a similar experience. While serving as a Bishop I was pretty sure I had left my scriptures on top of my car and drove off with them there. I looked everywhere for them, even retracing the route I drove from the church to our home that day. I prayed for several days that an angel would find them and bring them to me. Imagine my joy when later that week I lifted a sport coat off of a box and there they were.
Taking this one step further, I learned that this was possible from a book written by Elder Gene R. Cook, titled “Receiving Answers to our Prayers”. He tells the story of his son who lost his hat and wallet while riding horses on a ranch in Wyoming. After much searching and prayer by the family (and some repenting for his frustrations and anger), the family miraculously found the hat. Then the next day, right before the family had to leave, his son was kneeling in the bunkhouse thanking the Lord that he had found his hat. Suddenly his prayer was interrupted as he heard something hit the floor. It was his comb and it appeared to have fallen from some dusty old coats in the bunkhouse near where he was kneeling. When the son saw the comb and realized it was always with his wallet, he shook the coats and out fell the wallet. For the only explanation was that an angel had picked it up from where he had lost it and placed it there for him to find.
My conclusion was if an angel could help Elder Cook’s son find his wallet, then he would certainly help me find my scriptures. And if he would help me find my scriptures, I had no doubt that he would help MiCayla find hers. On this point, my faith was absolutely sure.
So who are these angels? Joseph F. Smith said this:
“When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred, friends, and fellow-beings and fellow-servants.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, 435.)
In summary, let me just say that I have learned for myself that angels are indeed sent from the other side of the veil, both seen and unseen, to comfort us, help us and give us guidance. We access their help through righteousness and faith and by asking Heavenly Father specifically for their help. I want to personally go on record that I believe in angels!
What experiences with angels have you had?