If we have a problem with a corporation, we place a phone call to their help center. If the help center can’t help us then we speak to their supervisor . . . and then their manager . . . his upper level manager . . . her vice-president . . . her executive vice president . . . his personal assistant . . . and if we’re really, really, really persistent, we might eventually make it to the CEO.
Oh the bureaucracy of it all! Who amongst us has not had frustration rising to dangerous levels as we work through the organizational tree of a large corporation? Makes you want to run screaming into the night tearing your hair out.
But do you realize that you have a powerful and precious gift in prayer? You! You may kneel on your knees and by uttering these words, “Dear Heavenly Father . . .” you have the Supreme Ruler of the universe, God the Father, listening to every word you say.
Not only listening, but answering. You — God. No one in between. And when you close your prayerful petition to our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ commands us, “Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name” (3 Nephi 18:19). In other words, you close your prayer with “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Heavenly Father listens. He answers our prayers. But there is a caveat or two that must be adhered to:
Make our prayers meaningful.
The prophet Mormon warned that if anyone “shall pray and not with real intent of heart . . . it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such” (Moroni 7:9). To make our prayers meaningful, we must pray with sincerity and “with all the energy of heart” (Moroni 7:48).
Use language that shows love, respect, reverence, and closeness.
The application of this principle will vary according to different languages. If we pray in English, for example, we should use the pronouns of the scriptures when we address God—Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine, rather than the more common pronouns you, your, and yours. Regardless of the language, the principle remains the same: When we pray, we should use words that appropriately convey a loving, worshipful relationship with God.
Always give thanks to Heavenly Father.
We should “live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon [us]” (Alma 34:38). As we take time to remember our blessings, we will recognize how much our Heavenly Father has done for us. We should express our thanks to Him.
Seek Heavenly Father’s guidance and strength in all we do.
Alma counseled his son Helaman: “Cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 37:36–37; see also Alma 34:17–26).
Remember the needs of others as we pray.
President Spencer W. Kimball said “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom. The people of the Church need each other’s strength, support, and leadership in a community of believers as an enclave of disciples. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read about how important it is to “… succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” (D&C 81:5.) So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds! …
Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost so we will know what to include in our prayers.
The Holy Ghost can teach us to pray and guide us in the things we say (see Romans 8:26; 2 Nephi 32:8; 3 Nephi 19:9, 24).
When we make a request through prayer, we must do all we can to assist in its being granted.
Heavenly Father expects us to do more than merely ask Him for blessings. How often have you approached Heavenly Father in prayer? When was the last time you knelt, bowed your head in reverence and checked in? When was the last time you really believed He was listening?
I assure you with all the strength in my heart and soul that He is listening. Beginning and ending your days with prayer affords you a heavenly protection against life that you cannot gain any other way. You will be strengthened, encouraged, uplifted, even inspired.
When your load is too heavy to bear and you feel as if you cannot take one more step, fall to your knees and turn that burden over to the Father. You were never meant to carry it alone and prayer is God’s heavenly telephone. Pick it up and make a call. He’ll be so glad you did.