I realized that I’ve drifted a bit from where I started, which isn’t bad, but I thought it would be good to revisit some basics such as prayer, faith, love, etc. So here’s an introduction to prayer focused simply on how to pray.
What is prayer?
Put simply, prayer is how we communicate with God. We believe that God is our Father, that he loves us and wants to have us come closer to him. Prayer is one way we do that.
Prayer is like holding a conversation. Prayer takes faith. It can be hard to get the courage to talk to God. But when we do it, God hears us and will answer.
How do we pray?
Prayer, in its basic form, has certain steps to it. It’s very simple: First, address our heavenly father. “Heavenly Father…”
Next, take time to think of things for which you are grateful. Express gratitude for the blessings of your life. You might say something like “I thank thee for my family, for my health, and for my job.”
As you speak, you may find yourself thinking of your circumstances, your troubles, or just things that have been on your mind. Don’t be afraid to share these thoughts with Heavenly Father.
It is appropriate to ask for blessings. God wants to bless you. You might say something like “Father, please bless me that we will be healthy” or “Please bless me I will get a good job.” God cares about what is important to you. Because of his perfect love and compassion, what is important to you is important to him.
Finally, we close our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ. This means you’ll finish with “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Why do we pray?
Prayer brings us closer to god. It helps us align our will with his. Often in the act of prayer you will find yourself understanding a problem or question in a new light. This is revelation. God will guide you to the answers you need.
Prayer increases our testimonies. It increases our faith. It gives us strength to become better. It brings God into our lives.
Does prayer really work?
Yes. Prayer connects us to our Heavenly Father and allows him to be more involved in our lives. Frequent prayer can change your life.
Here’s an example from my own life:
One day, while waiting tables, I suddenly was struck with a thought: “You should pray that somebody offers you a new job tonight.” This seemed odd. I didn’t feel like it was ok to pray for a job, much less such a specific demand! But the thought hit me again. “Pray that somebody will offer you a job.”
So I stepped off into a quiet corner and prayed. “Heavenly Father, I feel a little strange saying this, but I felt like I should. Please bless me that tonight’s shift will go well, that I’ll have lots of energy, and please bless me that somebody at one of my tables will offer me a new job…
Well I went through the day as normal. The dinner rush came and went. Finally, one of my very last tables finished their food and began to leave. A woman at the table waited there while her colleagues left. I approached her to see if she needed anything else.
“You’re very personable and professional,” she said to me. “This is going to sound weird, but are you looking for a job by chance?”
The discussion and interviews which followed allowed me to escape my job as a waiter and begin a new career I never would have considered for myself.
Now I know that’s not the norm, but such miracles do happen. Even more important than gifts of “temporal” blessings are the spiritual blessings which come.
Through prayer, you can know that the Book of Mormon is true. You can come to understand eternal truths. Through prayer, you can be changed and become the person you want to be.
Finally, consider this story:
In 1820, a boy named Joseph Smith went to a quiet grove of trees to pray and ask for guidance. It was his first time praying out loud. His small act of faith was enough to open the heavens and allow God to speak to him in person, just like a prophet in ancient times. You can read about his experience here.
Just go and try it. Try praying out loud on your knees. Tell your Father what is on your mind. Learn to talk with him. Listen for his voice in your life. Prayer will change your life.