What is Prayer? - Prayer is our communicational life line with our Father in Heaven. It has a special language that we should use to show respect to our Heavenly Father. Elder Dallin H. Oaks (one of my favorite apostles) said, "We should address prayers to our Heavenky Father in words which speak of that language associated with love and respect and reverence and closeness." (1993 April Conference, The Language of Prayer) This was a fantastic talk by the way. I love how he mentions in this quote that the language should be in closeness. To me this means pray as if he was standing right next to you. For some that is hard to do and for others it's really easy. I'm stuck in between, but will get to that closeness.
When we are praying we should make it a special conversation and should do it in a private place, if we are doing it alone. Find a special spot where you won't be disturbed while pouring out your heart. In Matthew 6:6-7 this is what is says about praying in secret.
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into a thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to they Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking."Don't pray to gain an audience of others, but to have the audience of your Heavenly Father. We need to be sincere in our prayers or else they don't mean anything. Sometimes I feel like I'm repeating myself when I pray, but I try to be conscience of what I'm praying for, and how I'm praying. When we are praying from the heart then our prayers will be sincere and will be answered.
My other thought was when should we pray? Should I pray only in the morning or just at night? The answer is simple: ALWAYS.
In D&C (Doctrine and Covenants) 10:5 it says, "Pray always, that you may come of conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work."
I had never really noticed how the word 'conqueror' was spelled. I always would say conquer. I looked it up and it means self-mastery. So I read it again using self-mastery in its place and it made more sense. We need to pray to humble ourselves so that we can fight off Satan with Heavenly Father's help. By praying all the time it makes us stronger with the Lord, which leads me into the next scripture in Alma 13:28.
"But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering."Not only should we be praying on our own, but with our families. When we pray as a family we become stronger. Just like the scripture in Alma is talking about. We need to take the time to pray as a family, because the world is not a place to out into without feeling the Lord's love and protection.
"Think of the power for good as you gather and thank God for all of his blessings. Think of the eternal significance of daily thanking him for each member of your family and asking him to guide and bless and protect each one. Think of the strength that will come to your family as, daily, one member or another pours out his or her soul in love to God for other family members." Elder John H. Gorberg (1982 April Conference, The Power of Family Prayer)I've mentioned when we should pray, how we should pray, what about the why? Why should we pray? This was partially answered in D&C 10:5, to ask the Lord's help to overcome Satan. Why else are we praying for? For me it's to include Him in major life decisions. Like; should I marry this person? Is this the right school to go to? Should I take this job offer? Is this where my family should move to? We need to involve the Lord in our life to make it a richer, fuller life. I know that when we include Him in big decisions we feel at peace. It should also be to ask for his forgiveness, because we are not perfect and we need it.
In Mark 11:24-26 this is what it says about why we should pray.
"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."Prayer is essential to our eternal progression. We need our Heavenly Father's help in this life. I know that I need to be more committed in communicating with him because I've seen the blessings that come from praying daily.