Mormons believe in personal prayer. Prayers are spontaneous and prompted by the Holy Spirit. Prayers are only written out before delivery in the case of temple dedications. Mormons pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. Mormons believe that all prayers are heard and answered.
We are all children of God. He loves us and knows our needs, and He wants us to communicate with Him through prayer. We should 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). As we make a habit of approaching God in prayer, we will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Our desires will become more like His. We will be able to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that He is ready to give if we will but ask in faith (Gospel Topics: Prayer).
Mormons are counseled to “pray always.” They are counseled to do the following when they pray:
- To avoid “vain repetitions” and to offer meaningful, thoughtful, and purposeful prayer.
- To use language that shows love and respect for deity–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 we pray, we should use words that appropriately convey a loving, worshipful relationship with God.
- To always give thanks.
- To seek Heavenly Father’s guidance and strength in all that they do–”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).
- To pray for others; the power of prayer can work miracles.
- To seek the promptings of the Holy Ghost, so they can know what to pray for.
- To be willing to obey and to work. To be willing to act on the answers they receive.
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” (Doctrine and Covenants 10:5). Although we cannot be continuously on our knees, always offering a personal, private prayer, we can let our hearts be “full, drawn out in prayer unto [God] continually” (Alma 34:27; see also 3 Nephi 20:1). Throughout each day, we can maintain a constant feeling of love for our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son. We can silently express gratitude to our Father and ask Him to strengthen us in our responsibilities. In times of temptation or physical danger, we can silently ask for His help (Gospel Topics: Prayer).
Mormons also stress the importance of family prayer:
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).
Answers to prayer come in many ways. They often come through the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost. They may come in the circumstances of our lives or through the kind acts of those around us. As we continue to draw near to our Heavenly Father through prayer, we can recognize more readily His merciful and wise answers to our pleadings. We will find that He is our “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
Prophet Thomas S. Monson said,
Perhaps there has never been a time when we had greater need to pray and to teach our family members to pray. Prayer is a defense against temptation. It is through earnest and heartfelt prayer that we can receive the needed blessings and the support required to make our way in this sometimes difficult and challenging journey we call mortality.
As we offer unto the Lord our family and our personal prayers, let us do so with faith and trust in Him. Let us remember the injunction of the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews: “For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). If any of us has been slow to hearken to the counsel to pray always, there is no finer hour to begin than now. William Cowper declared, “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” Those who feel that prayer might denote a physical weakness should consider that a man never stands taller than when he is upon his knees.