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Gospel Principles by the Mormons




Prayer

You are a child of God. Your Heavenly Father loves you
and knows your needs, and He wants you to communicate
with Him through prayer. Pray to Him and no one else. The
Lord Jesus Christ commanded, “Ye must always pray unto
the Father in my name” (3 Nephi 18:19).

Mormon Prayer

As you make a habit of approaching God in prayer, you
will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Your
desires will become more like His. You will be able to secure
for yourself and for others blessings that He is ready to give
if you will but ask in faith.

Principles of Prayer

Your Heavenly Father is always ready to hear and
answer your prayers. The power of your prayers depends on
you. As you strive to make prayer a part of your life, remember
this counsel:

Make your prayers meaningful. The prophet Mormon
warned that if anyone “shall pray and not with real intent of
heart . . . it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none
such” (Moroni 7:9). To make your prayers meaningful, you
must pray with sincerity and “with all the energy of heart”
(Moroni 7:48). Be careful to avoid “vain repetitions” when
you pray (see Matthew 6:7). Give serious thought to your
attitude and to the words you use.

Use language that shows love, respect, reverence, and closeness.
The application of this principle will vary according to the
language you speak. If you pray in English, for example, you
should use the pronouns of the scriptures when you address
God—Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine, rather than the more common
pronouns you, your, and yours. Regardless of the language,
the principle remains the same: When you pray, you
should use words that appropriately convey a loving, worshipful
relationship with God. You may have some difficulty
learning the language of prayer, but you will gradually
become more comfortable with it as you pray and read the
scriptures.

Always give thanks to your Heavenly Father. You should
“live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings
which he doth bestow upon you” (Alma 34:38). As you
take time to remember your blessings, you will recognize
how much your Heavenly Father has done for you. Express
your thanks to Him.

Seek Heavenly Father’s guidance and strength in all you do.
Alma counseled his son Helaman: “Cry unto God for all thy
support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever
thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts
be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart
be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all
thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou
liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may
watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the
morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do
these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma
37:36–37; see also Alma 34:17–26).

Remember the needs of others as you pray. Offer prayers “for
your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are
around you” (Alma 34:27). Ask your Heavenly Father to
bless and comfort those in need. Ask Him to inspire and
strengthen the President of the Church, other General
Authorities, and your local Church leaders. Pray for the welfare
of family members and friends. Pray for government
leaders. Ask the Lord to inspire and protect the missionaries
and the people they are teaching.

Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost so you will know what to
include in your prayers. The Holy Ghost can teach you to pray
and guide you in the things you say (see Romans 8:26;
2 Nephi 32:8). He can help you pray “according to the will of
God” (D&C 46:30).

When you make a request through prayer, do all you can to
assist in its being granted. Heavenly Father expects you to do
more than merely ask Him for blessings. When you have an
important decision to make, He often will require that you
“study it out in your mind” before He will give you an
answer (see D&C 9:7–8). Your prayers for guidance will
be only as effective as your efforts to be receptive to the
whisperings of the Holy Ghost. Your prayers for your own
welfare and for the welfare of others will be in vain if you
“turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick
and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to
those who stand in need” (Alma 34:28).

If you have a difficult task before you, Heavenly Father
is pleased when you get on your knees and ask for help and
then get on your feet and go to work. He will help you in all
your righteous pursuits, but He seldom will do something
for you that you can do yourself.

Personal Prayer

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ counseled:
“Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door,
pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which
seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6).
Personal, private prayer is an essential part of your spiritual
development.

At least every morning and every night, find a place that
is free from distractions. Kneel in humility and commune
with your Heavenly Father. Although sometimes you may
need to pray silently, make an extra effort at times to pray
vocally (see D&C 19:28; 20:51).

Remember that prayer is two-way communication. As
you close your prayers, take time to pause and listen. At
times, Heavenly Father will counsel, guide, or comfort you
while you are on your knees.

Never give in to the idea that you are not worthy to pray.
This idea comes from Satan, who wants to convince you that
you must not pray (see 2 Nephi 32:8). If you do not feel like
praying, pray until you do feel like praying.

The Savior has commanded, “Pray always, that you may
come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and
that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that
do uphold his work” (D&C 10:5). Although you cannot be
continuously on your knees, always offering a personal, private
prayer, you can let your heart be “full, drawn out in
prayer unto [God] continually” (Alma 34:27; see also 3 Nephi
20:1). Throughout each day, you can maintain a constant feeling
of love for your Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son.
You can silently express gratitude to your Father and ask
Him to strengthen you in your responsibilities. In times
of temptation or physical danger, you can silently ask for
His help.

Family Prayer

In addition to commanding us to pray in private, the Savior
has exhorted us to pray with our families. He said, “Pray in
your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your
wives and your children may be blessed” (3 Nephi 18:21).

If you are married, make family prayer a consistent part
of your family’s life. Every morning and every evening, kneel
together in humility. Give each family member frequent
opportunities to say the prayer. Unite in gratitude for the
blessings Heavenly Father has given you. Unite in faith to
plead for the blessings you need and to pray for others.

Through regular family prayer, you and your family
members will draw nearer to God and to each other. Your
children will learn to communicate with their Father in
Heaven. You will all be better prepared to serve others and
withstand temptations. Your home will be a place of spiritual
strength, a refuge from the evil influences of the world.

Public Prayer

At times you may be asked to offer a public prayer, perhaps
in a Church meeting or class. When you receive this
opportunity, remember that you are communicating with
Heavenly Father, not giving a public sermon. Do not worry
about what others may think of what you say. Instead, offer
a simple, heartfelt prayer.

Receiving Answers to Prayer

The Savior taught, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek,
and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for
every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth;
and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew
7:7–8). To the Nephites He said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the
Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall
receive, behold it shall be given unto you” (3 Nephi 18:20).

Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He may not always
answer as you expect, but He does answer—in His own time
and according to His will. Because He knows what is best for
you, He may sometimes answer no, even when your petitions
are sincere.

Answers to prayer come in many ways. They often come
through the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost (see
“Revelation,” pages 140–44). They may come in the circumstances
of your life or through the kind acts of those around
you. As you continue to draw near to your Heavenly Father
through prayer, you will recognize more readily His merciful
and wise answers to your pleadings. You will find that He is
your “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”
(Psalm 46:1).

Additional references: Matthew 6:5–15; James 1:5–6; Enos 1:1–17; Mosiah
4:11–12; 3 Nephi 13:6–7; 14:7–8; D&C 19:38; 88:63–65; Joseph Smith—
History 1:9–19
See also Faith; Fasting and Fast Offerings; Worship

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