Prayer is one of the most fundamental aspects of my spirituality, and relationship with God. My parents taught me to pray before I could even speak the words. However, as I grew, and practiced the habit of offering daily simple prayers to my Father in Heaven, my words and feelings matured, and my spiritual communion deepened.
Mormons are a praying people. We do not say rote or memorized prayers, but rather speak from the heart. We talk to God as a child would to their father, with respectful intimacy. We pray when we awake in the morning. We pray before each meal. We pray at the opening and closing of each church related meeting and activity. We pray before travelling a long distance. We pray as a family at least once each day, and we offer private prayers. We pray at the close of day before retiring for bed.
Why so much praying?
Put simply; it is a commandment from God to ‘pray always’ (Luke 21:36; 2 Nephi 32:9; D&C 10:5; 90:24). And, because we believe in God, we take His commandments seriously. We also pray as an outward expression of our faith in God, and our acknowledgement of His hand in every aspect of our lives.
Multiple times throughout his ministry, our Savior, Jesus Christ emphasized the importance of praying to Our Father in Heaven. Jesus offered very powerful prayers – many of which are recorded in the Bible, such as The Lord’s Prayer, and The Great Intercessory Prayer, for us to read, treasure, and exemplify.
We are taught to pray ‘vocally as well as in [our] heart;. . . before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private’ (D&C 19:28)”.
There have been many times in my life when I have cried out in prayer to God silently in my heart. Those informal, urgent prayers have been answered in marvelous and immediate ways. Sometimes, the answer has come as a calm reassurance, or a peaceful feeling. And there have been times when the answer has been more dramatic. There is one thing I am certain of – God is our loving Father in Heaven. He hears our prayers, and I believe He is anxious to answer us. Usually, answers come in ways we do not expect, and sometimes do not like – but always in the way we need most.
“I testify that prayer becomes more meaningful as we counsel with the Lord in all of our doings, as we express heartfelt gratitude, and as we pray for others with real intent and a sincere heart. I witness Heavenly Father lives and that He hears and answers every earnest prayer.” – David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 44