We’re commanded to pray. What do you pray for and about?
My life’s been full of typical prayers with very few exceptions. One memorable pray-er attended the Hau’ula 2nd Ward too. She stood to pray to close Relief Society and instead of saying the usual things, she prayed what felt like a gratitude song! She worshipped the Creator of glorious things by gratefully mentioning His creations.
Another memorable pray-er officiated in the Lubbock Texas Temple. As he prayed at the altar, his words reminded me of why I was in the temple and what the purpose of life entailed. He worshipped the God of the Plan of Salvation through his prayer.
Though we don’t know specific words, Gospel writers recorded that Jesus prayed before selecting His apostles, performing miracles, breaking bread, and asking disciples to testify of Him. He prayed during His baptism as the heavens opened. His prayers inspired a disciple to ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus separated Himself from the crowds and busyness to pray alone. He prayed for His disciple’s faith and conversion.
All of these prayers blessed and benefitted those who knew and loved Him.
On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus prayed. As He prayed, He changed. I wish I knew more about what happened. Of course, He invites me to pray and ask Him for answers whenever I have questions.
And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
There are several instances where we have the words Jesus prayed.
Expressions of Gratitude
Jesus expressed gratitude to the Father. For example, after His disciples returned from their first missionary excursions, Jesus rejoiced.
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He also expressed gratitude as He prayed to the Father.
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
Words He Prayed During Suffering
The prayers that wrench my heart occurred as Jesus prepared Himself and His disciples for His impending death, and during that excruciating atoning sacrifice.
During the Last Supper, His soul troubled.
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, we hear the eternal “Not as I will, but as thou wilt” as He pleads for the prayers of Peter, James, and John.
And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
On the Calvary’s cross, His prayerful words were immortalized.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
But two, beautiful chapters overflow with the Savior’s actual words!
In John 17, His prayer acknowledges the Father’s plan and will as the Savior prays for Himself accomplishing the Father’s work.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
Jesus then prays for His disciples. He concludes His prayer by praying for all believers.
3 Nephi 19
After the Savior’s resurrection, He visited His people in the Americas. They exhibited such faith that Jesus blessed them extraordinarily. One unprecedented event included a congregational prayer. Like John 17, Jesus focuses much of the recorded prayer on His disciples and those who would believe their words. I believe their words and as I read this, I imagine Jesus praying for me, specifically.
And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them.
And it came to pass that he spake unto the multitude, and commanded them that they should kneel down again upon the earth, and also that his disciples should kneel down upon the earth…he commanded his disciples that they should pray. And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.
And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said:
Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world. Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.
Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them. And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.
And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire.
And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.
And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; nevertheless they did not cease to pray.
And he turned from them again, and went a little way off and bowed himself to the earth; and he prayed again unto the Father, saying:
Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me.
Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them.
And when Jesus had spoken these words he came again unto his disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto him; and he did smile upon them again; and behold they were white, even as Jesus.
And it came to pass that he went again a little way off and prayed unto the Father;
And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed. And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed. Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man.
And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying he came again to the disciples, and said unto them: So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief.
Verily I say unto you, there are none of them that have seen so great things as ye have seen; neither have they heard so great things as ye have heard.
As I ponder the Savior’s prayers, I remember that He overcame sin and death as a mortal man. His relationship with the Father encouraged honesty in suffering. He prayed to accomplish His mission. And He prayed again and again and again for others, His disciples, His friends, those who would come after, for me.
He is the Second Comforter who, knowing all, loves with an everlasting love.
I pray for them…for they are thine.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.