Prayer is the act of speaking to Heavenly Father, and sincere prayer is one of God’s greatest blessings to His children. Prayer is the act of “calling home,” the act of a child speaking to a Parent. The Savior taught the Nephites “Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 3 Nephi 18:19).
Prayer has always been a part of the gospel since the time of Adam when an angel of God commanded Adam and Eve to repent and call upon God in the name of the Son (see Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:8). God has never taken this commandment away because He desires to hear from His children. Prayer has a great influence on our thoughts, words, and actions.
There are many reasons why we should pray. (1) To be obedient to God’s commandment, (2) to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, (3) to gain strength to overcome temptations, (4) to ask for guidance and help in our daily lives, (5) to ask for blessings for ourselves, our families, our friends, (6) to ask for protection from our enemies, (7) to ask for success in our work or crops, (8) to express our love to our Heavenly Father, (9) to express gratitude for blessings, and (10) to ask for help in staying on the straight and narrow path back to his presence.
We can pray whenever we feel the need and will never receive a “busy signal” or be put on “hold.” We can pray vocally or silently. We can pray as individuals, families, or larger groups. We can pray during any activity. We can pray to ask a blessing on our food that it will be nourishing. We can pray in our hearts and keep a prayer there continually. We should pray individually every morning and every night and with our family morning and night.
We can pray in any position – standing, sitting, kneeling, or lying down. The important thing is that we pray with a sincere heart and with real intent, having faith that our prayer will be answered. Heavenly Father already knows everything that is happening in our lives, but He desires that we express our feelings and thoughts to Him. We do not need to “multiply” our words but can keep our prayers very simple.
We should address our Father with respect: “Our Father in Heaven.” Then we should express gratitude for the many blessings He gives to us and ask Him for what we need. We should always ask that His will be done and always close our prayers “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
We can expect an answer to our prayers if we pray sincerely, but we may not receive the answer we desire. God always answers sincere prayers: sometimes He says “no,” sometimes He says “yes,” and sometimes He says “not yet.” He may tell us “no” because what we ask for is not good for us. The Lord will always answer our prayers at the time and in a way that He knows will help us the most. If the answer is “yes,” we will probably have a warm, comfortable feeling; if it is “no,” we will continue to question or doubt.
Sometimes the answer to our prayers comes through another person. The Lord can inspire anyone to perform a kind act that will in reality be an answer to a prayer. Someone may pray for help, and another person feels the need to check on the person or at the house. Sometimes an answer to prayer comes from a talk at church or the words spoken by family, friends or neighbors.
The Lord has promised, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee b the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (Doctrine and Covenants 112:10).