When Heavenly Father sent each of us to earth, it was as though He were sending us off to college. Just as I would never send my children away without a means of communicating with them, Heavenly Father did not leave us alone. The opportunity to talk with Heavenly Father through prayer is one of the greatest blessings we have while here on earth. Just as loving earthly parents listen to their sons and daughters, Heavenly Father listens to our prayers.
"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matthew 7:7-11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings" (Bible Dictionary, 752-753).
Prayer is a sincere, heartfelt talk with our Heavenly Father. Prayer can be compared with visiting with a loved one on the telephone. There are many reasons why we should pray. The most important reason is to be obedient to a commandment given to Adam and Eve and never rescinded. They were told by an angel of God to call upon God in the name of the Son (Moses 5:8). We should pray for guidance and help in our lives and for family, friends, neighbors, homes and properties, our work and daily activities. We should pray for protection from our enemies and for strength to resist the temptations of Satan. We should pray to express our love to Heavenly Father and to feel closer to Him. Prayer will help us grow closer to God because it influences all of our thoughts, words, and actions. We should pray to thank Him for our many blessings and to confess our sins.
We should pray when we want to talk with Heavenly Father - and even more when we don't feel like praying. We can pray silently or vocally, alone or with others. We can pray at any time whether day or night. We can pray kneeling or standing or in any other position when needed. We should pray individually every morning and every night as well as with our families every morning and every night. We should also give thanks for and ask a blessing upon the food that we eat.
We should tell Heavenly Father what we really feel in our hearts, confide in Him, thank Him, ask Him for forgiveness, and tell Him that we love Him. We should always ask that His will be done. We should begin our prayer by addressing Heavenly Father, thank Him for blessings received, ask for needed blessings, and close in the name of Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father answers every sincere prayer at a time and in a way that God knows will be best for us. When the answer is yes, we receive a warm, comfortable feeling about what we should do. When the answer is no, we continue to feel confused or unsure about the proposed action. Sometimes the answer is "not yet" or "wait awhile." At those times we need to exercise our patience. Sometimes prayers are answered with an idea of what we can do. At other times, the answer may come through another person.
I am very grateful to know that I have a Father in Heaven who hears my simple and sincere cries for help and gives me the necessary guidance, comfort, and help.
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