16 comments on “On Prayer

  1. I told my bishop once that I didn't like to pray on my knees because I had a really strong experience every time and started bawling every time. It's true! I'm a sap! But the truth is, you can't be AFRAID of those spiritual experiences. You DO need to ask for missionary experiences, because the Lord will give them to you! Like you quotes… things He's already willing to grant. Interesting post.

  2. i think it's ok to ask for blessings for others. if indeed the lord is limited in his capacity to bless us by our own lack of faith, then even if we don't know the finer details of those we want him to bless, we can add our faith to the pool. but i agree that we shouldn't tell the lord, "please do these specific things for this specific person." instead, maybe the focus should be on expressing our faith and hope that he will bless the person the way he sees fit.

  3. I think it's great that you're wanting to pray for someone. Although I agree with Eli, that if you don't know the situation, you can ask the Lord to bless them with what is best for their family.But I also agree that we shouldn't just pray for someone and consider it done. For example, if you pray for the missionaries to be able to find people to teach… you should also be helping the missionaries find people, if you can. However, if you're not able to find anyone, that shouldn't stop you for asking for blessings upon the missionaries.As far as ourselves, we have to ask for blessings for ourselves and our family. If we do not ask for those things that God is willing to grant upon us, we are being prideful, like we can do whatever we need to do without God's help. This doesn't mean that we should have a long list of "gimmes", but we should be comfortable turning to the Lord, even if the matter seems trivial.

  4. I think this is a great post! It reminds me of Elder Bednar’s advice to “pray with the intent to act upon the answer.” I had a similar epiphany about prayer the other day. I have been praying repeatedly for some time now looking for an answer to a specific problem I have and was feeling frustrated that I never seemed to get an answer. Then, the other day, while listening to a conference talk I realized that I was missing the “listening” part of the prayer. So now I’m trying to add in 10 or so minutes of meditation every morning after my prayer and scripture study. While I don’t exactly know what to do about my problem yet, I definitely feel more peaceful about it and that’s saying something!

  5. Try blessing icecream sundaes (or something equally healthy) in a realistic way (e.g. "Bless us that these refreshments will not cause us harm or go directly to our waistlines") and see what type of reaction you get. I've done it and people think I'm joking!

  6. Good points! I agree, we shouldn't expect a lot if we pray for something we're not willing to make happen. Didn't Joseph Smith teach that it's incumbent upon those who prophecy to do everything in their power to make it come true?@Rebecca – that cracks me up. I should definitely pray for that. Where's that french silk pie?

  7. Dr. Wilbur Chapman wrote to a friend: I have learned some great lessons concerning prayer. At one of our missions in England the audience was exceedingly small; but I received a note saying that an American missionary was going to pray for God's blessing on our work. He was known as Praying Hyde. Almost instantly the tide turned. The hall became packed, and at my first invitation fifty men accepted Christ as their Savior. As we were leaving, I said, "Mr. Hyde, I want you to pray for me."He came to my room, turned the key in the door, dropped on his knees, and waited five minutes without a single syllable coming from his lips. I could hear my own heart thumping and his beating. I felt hot tears running down my face. I knew I was with God. Then, with upturned face, down which the tears were streaming, he said, "O God." Then for five minutes at least he was still again; and then, when he knew that he was talking with God, there came from the depths of his heart such petitions for me as

  8. My favorite parable in the New Testament is of the parable of the Unjust Judge or Importunate Widow. Christ Himself explained this parable before He gave it which is unusual, Christ said the meaning of the parabel was “that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

    Joseph Smith said to the saints (and I think this is particularly relevant to us now);
    “Therefore, this is my counsel, that you retain your lands, even unto the uttermost, and employ every lawful means to seek redress of your enemies; and pray to God, day and night, to return you in peace and in safety to the lands of your inheritance: and when the judge fail you, appeal unto the executive; and when the executive fail you, appeal unto the president; and when the president fail you, and all laws fail you, and the humanity of the people fail you, and all things else fail you but God alone, and you continue to weary Him with your importunings, as the poor woman did the unjust judge, He will not fail to execute judgment upon your enemies, and to avenge His own elect that cry unto Him day and night.”

    I believe God wants to intervene much more than He does but our agency does not permit Him to do so. Would to God that we all might “weary” the Lord more that the world could be a little more like Eden.

  9. The first thing that came to my mind after reading you post (and often whenever I read heart-wrenching stories) was the fact that we are expected “mourn with those who mourn…”. In these days of advanced technology and communication, we have even more access to these stories, so much so that it would be easy to become desensitized. I believe your prayer is one example of how we show that we mourn with that family, even though we are unlikely to ever meet her in person, touch her hand, speak an encouraging word to her, or in any other meaningful way connect with her. Often times, after having my own heart touched by such a story, instead of asking for the blessing for that person, I will take the opportunity to thank Heavenly Father for the health of my family and then ponder ways I can help those closest to me with their challenges and trials. I think we are meant to hear and share inspiring stories of others in order to inspire us to apply the concepts to our own lives and those nearest and most accessible to our acts of service.
    Those are my thoughts!

  10. @Daniel: That’s a good point and I appreciate those examples. I definitely believe in the power of prayer. I guess I was asking why it is that God wants us to pray for people we can’t do anything to help. He’s loves them more than we do and do more for them, so what does our prayer avail them? I’m guessing it has more to do with helping ourselves.

    @Rachel: (see @Daniel above) which is what I think you’re getting at. I noticed the same effect on myself. Feeling my heart go out to them made me more grateful for what I have, made me want to be prepared in case something like that happens and softened my heart a bit. Thanks for the insight!

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