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Mormon Personal Prayer
Personal prayer is a significant part of the lives of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes erroneously called the Mormon Church). President Spencer W. Kimball wrote in a message sent to all of the members of the Church, “When should we pray? The answer: pray always.”[1] Prayer is the best way of communicating with and gaining wisdom and strength from God.

The Bible Dictionary published by the Church explains how prayer makes this possible,

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 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. [2]

The content of a prayer should be prompted by the Spirit. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ do not commonly recite prayers that have been composed and written, except the blessing on the sacrament, and dedicatory prayers for new temples. A prayer should have four basic components:

  • The prayer should begin by reverently addressing Heavenly Father.
  • Gratitude should be expressed to the Lord who gives us all.
  • The next part of a prayer should be a petition to Heavenly Father for that which we need.
  • Close the prayer in the name of Jesus Christ who is our mediator with the Father.
And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you (3 Nephi 18:20, emphasis added).

Amulek, a Book of Mormon prophet, taught that we should

[C]ry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you (Alma 34:18–27).

Members are reminded that they can receive real answers from Heavenly Father, and that answers to prayers may come instantly in many different ways, such as receiving a feeling of peace, having an enlightening thought impressed upon the mind, or being impressed with a testimony of truth. Answers to prayers may also come through events which occur in our lives. The answer is instant, but the manifestation of the answer may take years to effect. As prayer is practiced, answers are more easily discerned.

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