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How to make prayer more meaningful

The following are my suggestions on how to make prayers more meaningful:

  • Pray every day. Do so at least once a day.- Be alone, if possible. Speak out loud.
  • Always thank Heavenly Father first. Express gratitude for blessings.
  • Picture Him listening to you. Tell Him the deepest feelings of your heart.
  • Remember in your prayers those who are in distress.
  • Ask that His will be done. Really mean it.
  • Listen for answers. They will come.

For our prayers to be effective, we must have an unwavering faith in God and in ourselves. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace . . . and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:16.)

No problem we will ever experience in this life is too great for God. "For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37.) - Lynne Williams, Kanarraville, Utah

What we did:

Give thanks

  • Remember that we are addressing our Father in Heaven. Make some preparation, as to place and time, to make this prayer special.
  • Pray as if someone in our family is in need of divine intervention, someone we love very much, and we need Father to intervene.
  • Spend as much time giving thanks to Father for His help in the past as we spend asking for His help today.
  • Close and wait for some time. Listen with our hearts and give thanks for our answer. - Louis J. Ahlstrom, Dunsmuir, Calif.

`Our Mediator'

The importance of the communication needs to be considered. While serving a mission, to aid in teaching, I had a flip-chart picture with four steps of prayer listed: "Our Heavenly Father . . . ," "We thank thee . . . ," "We ask thee . . . ," and " . . . in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." These steps rather simplistically describe the process, however they make it clear that we address our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ because He is our Mediator.

With so much for us to get done in our busy lives each day, prayer often suffers. Prayer should be given its rightful place on our priority list. I find less of a problem with morning prayer since the habit has already been established to take care of this prayer before anything else. Evening prayers often get short-changed due to my being worn down by the events of the day. It has been suggested that we shouldn't wait until we are too tired to concentrate, even setting aside a specific time, almost like making an appointment. Since this appointment only needs to be made with ourselves, it should be a fairly easy one to make.

Another suggestion that I have heard and attempt to practice from time to time is to pray without asking for anything. Consciously limiting my prayer to things that I'm thankful for makes me think of more. - Jeff Wright, Cheyenne, Wyo.

Three things

I have found three letters help me make prayer more meaning - ASK. "A" stands for "alone." There is great value in pouring out your heart in secret. "S" stands for "specific." "K" stands for "kneel." By doing these three things, my personal prayers have been much more meaningful. - Dave Stouder, Wylie, Texas

Listen, reflect

Thoughtful, meaningful prayer has been something I have struggled with much of my life. Some helpful ways I have learned, by example and by the Spirit, to pray are:

  • Prepare to pray. Mentally clear your mind. Relax, and calm down, then get on your knees.
  • Listen to the Spirit. After you finish praying, remain on your knees. Take the time to reflect on your prayer and listen for answers from the Spirit. - Cameron Bailey, Bloomington, Minn.

Share with Him

Many times I catch myself giving the same 45-second "recitation" for a prayer. It's monotonous. Remember, you are speaking to God, the Eternal Father in Heaven, who loved you so much that He gave His only Begotten Son.

Every night I talk to Him. I cry with Him when I share sad ones. I discuss with Him the situations and dilemmas in my life.

This has been a tremendous help to me on my mission, and it will help you, too. We have to first do our part and ask. (John 14:14.) Talk to Him. He's waiting. - James H. Smith, New Hartford, N.Y.

Pray with purpose

The secret to meaningful prayer is not what you say or how you say it, but that you go with but one purpose, to talk to your Father in Heaven. Your Father in Heaven has given you scriptures to learn, the gospel through which you grow, and the ability through His Son, Jesus Christ, to pray to Him. Do we, when praying just say a "prayer," or out of gratitude tell Him how our day was, what we learned today, and how grateful we are for all He has given us?

Before praying, try these steps that have helped me:

  • Think of the purpose of the prayer.
  • Clear your mind of everything except that purpose.
  • Pour out your heart and have a meaningful prayer with your Father in Heaven. - Charles Leber, Mechanicsville, Va.

Choose a quiet place

I suggest the following as to making prayer more meaningful:

  • Seek your Father in Heaven as you begin each day.
  • Choose a quiet place where nothing can interrupt nor distract you. Turn off the television or stereo before you begin.
  • Take time to ponder on those things you want to include in your prayer. This might vary from day to day - depending upon what is happening in your personal life.
  • Begin your prayer by expressing thanks for another day of life. Also, express gratitude for other blessings.
  • Ask for His guidance, direction and protection throughout the day ahead. That is vital in your daily prayer.
  • Seek blessings for our prophet, General Authorities, the missionaries, your bishop, family members and friends.
  • Pause for a moment or two while you are still kneeling. Ponder on your prayer.
  • Remember to kneel and say thank you at the end of your day. - Cleo Price Mollinet, Midvale, Utah

How to checklist:

1 Pray with a purpose; remember to whom you are praying.

2 Seek time to be alone to pray; make it a priority.

3 Express gratitude for blessings as well as ask for help.

4 Take time to listen; reflect on your prayer and on answers.

Write to us:

Oct. 17 "How to make a will that will foster love, not jealousy, between children."

Oct. 24 "How to cope with multiple personal tragedies at one time."

Oct. 31 "How to avoid seasonal depression."

Nov. 7 "How to make the hymns more meaningful in our lives."

Nov. 14 "How to make the holiday season more meaningful."

Nov. 21 "How to apply teachings of Church auxiliaries in your home."

  • Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to avoid greed," "How to make transition from being newly married to becoming new parents," "How to plan ahead for the different stages of life," "How to avoid the gambling trap."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: [email protected] Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.