Last week, in my Singles ward, our Sacrament talks were given by two of our Stake High Counselors. One of the talks was on the power of prayer. During his talk he quoted part of hymn #142
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!”
Hymn#142 Sweet Hour of Prayer,
Text: Attr. to William W. Walford,
Music: William B. Bradbury
After quoting these words our speaker mentioned that not, many years ago, when he was a young single adult, he was inspired by this hymn and attempted to have a sweet hour of prayer. He was sad to admit that he ran out of things to say after five minutes. How was it he asked that he could spend hours interacting with people every day, and yet he was hard pressed to give God more then five minutes?
How often does this happen to us today? Our lives are filled with so many busy things, whether it is school, work, dating, trying to find our place in this adult world, we should have so much to say to our Maker. Yet more often then not, our prayers don’t even 50 seconds, let alone five minutes.
I think back to my own life, and the times I actually took to have my sweet hour of prayer, and I realize now that it was at those times that I felt the closest to my Father in Heaven. Nowadays I find that my life is so busy it is not always possible to spend as much time in prayer as I would like as often as I like. Yet, I can always make sure that no matter the length of my prayers that they are purposeful, powerful, and sincere.
Our speaker mentioned this fact along with a few helpful hints in how to do so:
– Think about what you are going to say before you start. Think about your day. Thank about your Blessings. Think about your desires and needs.
“The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries—we place our order and hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 469)
– Remember whom you are talking to. God is the father of your spirit. He knows you, loves, you and cares about you.
“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.” Prayer, Gospel Library, Gospel Topics, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, www.lds.org
– Don’t rush your prayer, or rush off after offering it. Take time to let God give an answer to your prayer. It doesn’t have to be a long wait, just a purposeful one.
“Do you give Heavenly Father a chance to answer when you talk to him? Try listening before you jump up from your knees. You’ll be more likely to recognize the guidance he wants you to receive.” “The Way to Pray,” Tambuli, Feb 1992