Quotes on Prayer

See also: 3rd Nephi 18:20; D&C 18:18; 88:64-65

If we get “yes” answers to our prayers, confidence is built.  If we get “no” answers, we know that that is to protect us.  No answer at all means He trusts us to act on the truth we already know. — Elder Richard Scott, “Answers to Prayers,” 1989

It matters not whether you or I feel like praying, when the time comes to pray, pray.  If we do not feel like it, we should pray till we do. . . . You will find that those who wait till the Spirit bids them pray, will never pray much on this earth.”  (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 44) — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “Know He Is There,” Ensign, February 1994, p. 53

Sometimes the Lord puts thoughts in our minds in answer to prayers.  (President Marion G. Romney). . . . The miracle of prayer, to me, is that in the private, quiet chambers of our mind and heart, God both hears and answers prayers. — Elder Rex D. Pinegar, Ensign, May 1993, p. 66-67

The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.  (Bible Dictionary, p. 753) 

In other words, prayers bring our desires and the desires of our Father into harmony, thus bringing us both the blessing we are seeking and also the blessing of greater unity with the Father.  This practice is key to the collective and individual salvation of women and men. — Elder David E. Sorensen, Ensign, May 1993, p. 30

Prayer is the passport to spiritual power. — President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, November 1990, p. 47

As our Creator, He knows our cares, our worries, our joys, our struggles without our informing Him.  The reason our Heavenly Father asks us to pray cannot be that we are able to tell Him something He does not already know.  Rather, the reason He asks us to pray is that the process of learning to communicate effectively with Him will shape and change our lives as much as we are changed by learning to communicate as children. — Elder David E. Sorensen, Ensign, May 1993, p. 31

Elder James E. Faust and Elder Richard P. Lindsay dedicated three African nations for the preaching of the gospel – Zimbabwe, Uganda and Kenya.  Elder Faust dedicated the land of Zimbabwe.  “Before the meeting, the saints of Zimbabwe had been fasting and praying for rain.  As the dedicatory prayer concluded, a gentle rain began to fall, and rainfall increased for days afterward.” — Church News, November 23, 1991

“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” asked Paul.  We should ask that daily.  The persistent asking of that question will change your life. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, April 1984

Returning from an exploring trip on back country roads, Matt and his father [Jeffrey R. Holland] came to an unexpected fork and could not remember which road to take.  It was late in the day, and they knew darkness would be enveloping them in unfamiliar territory.  Seizing a teaching moment, Jeffrey Holland asked his son to pray for direction.  Afterward, he asked his son what he felt, and Matt replied that he felt strongly they should go to the left.  Replying that he had felt the same way, his father turned the truck to the left.  Ten minutes later, they came to a dead end and returned to take the other route.

Matt thought for a time and then asked his father why they would get that kind of answer to a prayer.  His father replied that with the sun going down, that was undoubtedly the quickest way for the Lord to give them information – in this case, which one was the wrong road.  Now, though the other road might not be familiar and could be difficult in places, they could proceed confidently, knowing it was the right one, even in the dark. — “Elder Jeffrey R. Holland,” Ensign, December 1994, p. 13

There seems to grow upon us a film of worldliness when we move away from the Lord.  It might be like the film of grease spread over the body of the swimmer who would cross the English Channel.  It fills the pores and covers the skin so there can be less penetration of the cold.  It might be like the skin-diver’s rubber suit.  But when we pierce the shell and penetrate the covering and humble ourselves with naked soul and sincere supplication and cleansed life, our prayers are answered.  We can reach the point where Peter stood and like him we may . . . be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  — 2 Peter 1: 4, 9) — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Prayer,” BYU Speeches, October 11, 1961, p. 7

“Did you pray in your family this morning?”  “No.”  “Why?”  “I was in too much of a hurry.”  Stop!  Wait!  When you get up in the morning, before you suffer yourselves to eat one mouthful of food, call your wives and children together, bow down before the Lord, ask him to forgive your sins, and protect you through the day, to preserve you from temptation and all evil, to guide your steps aright, that you may do something that day that shall be beneficial to the Kingdom of God on the earth.  Have you time to do this?  Elders, sisters, have you time to pray? — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 15:36

Petitioning in prayer has taught me, again and again, that the vault of heaven with all its blessings is to be opened only by a combination lock.  One tumbler falls when there is faith, a second when there is personal righteousness; the third and final tumbler falls only when what is sought is, in God’s judgment – not ours – right for us.  Sometimes we pound on the vault door for something we want very much and wonder why the door does not open.  We would be very spoiled children if that vault door opened any more easily than it does.  I can tell, looking back, that God truly loves me by inventorying the petitions He has refused to grant me.  Our rejected petitions tell us much about ourselves but also much about our flawless Father.

By inventorying our insights, from time to time, it will surprise us what the Lord has done in teaching us.  What we have learned in the past can help us to persist in the present.  By tallying the truths and keeping such before us, we can also avoid lapsed literacy in spiritual things.  If we will let Him, the Holy Ghost will bring all the important insights to our remembrance. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Insights,” New Era, April 1978, p. 6

We need to feel now that God knows us and loves us as individuals.  There are times you have felt the closeness of God, your Father, and that you are his child.  Those times can come more often.  There is a simple way to think about it.

If you want to stay close to someone who has been dear to you but from whom you are separated, you know how to do it.  You would find a way to speak to them, you would listen to them, and you would discover ways to do things for each other.  The more often that happened, the longer it went on, the deeper would be the bond of affection.  If much time passed without the speaking, the listening, and the doing, the bond would weaken.

God is perfect and omnipotent, and you and I are mortal.  But he is our Father, he loves us, and he offers the same opportunity to draw closer to him as would a loving friend.  And you will do it in much the same way: speaking, listening, and doing.

Our Heavenly Father has not only invited us to speak to him, he has commanded it.  And, as he has always done, when he commands, he promises too. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “To Draw Closer to God,” Ensign, May 1991, p. 66

Genuine faith makes increasing allowance for these individual tutorials.  In view of these tutorials, God cannot, brothers and sisters, respond affirmatively to all of our petitions with an unbroken chain of yeses.  This would assume that all of our petitions are for that “which is right” and are spiritually “expedient.”  No petitioner is so wise!  Paul even acknowledged that we sometimes “know not what we should pray for as we ought” (Romans 8:26; see also D&C 46:30). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1991, p. 90

I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away.  If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.  I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “What I Hope You Will Teach My Grandchildren and All Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, BYU, 11 July 1966, p. 6.

Some people pray only when confronted with personal problems.  Others don’t pray at all.  A scripture makes this observation: “Ye do not remember the Lord your God in the things with which he hath blessed you, but ye do always remember your riches, not to thank the Lord your God for them.”  (Helaman 13:22) — Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, May 2003, p. 7

Our world is now much the same as it was in the days of the Nephites prophet who said: “. . . if it were not for the prayers of the righteous . . . ye would even now be visited with utter destruction” (Alma 10:22).  There are many upright and faithful who live all the commandments and whose lives and prayers keep the world from destruction. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, June 1971, p. 16

Have I had some prayers that were not answered?  Yes, and so have you.  Sometimes the reason is that we may ask for something without enough faith, or we may in fact ask for something that isn’t expedient or that isn’t right.  For us to get used to the fact that all prayers are not automatically answered is one of life’s growing experiences. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Insights from My Life,” Ensign, August 2000, p. 13

There are poignant and frequent reminders of the veil, adding to our sense of being close but still outside.  In our deepest prayers, when the agency of man encounters the omniscience of God, we sometimes sense, if only momentarily, how very provincial our petitions really are; we perceive that there are more good answers than we have good questions; and we realize that we have been taught more than we can tell, for the language used is not that which tongue can transmit. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Patience,” Ensign, October 1980, p. 28

I pray you, my young brethren who are present in this vast congregation, and who are liable to be called to preach the gospel to the world, when you are called to go out, I pray that you will know how to approach God in prayer.  It is not such a difficult thing to learn how to pray.  It is not the words we use particularly that constitute prayer.  Prayer does not consist of words, altogether.  True, faithful, earnest prayer consists more in the feeling that rises from the heart and from the inward desire of our spirits to supplicate the Lord in humility and in faith, that we may receive his blessings.  It matters not how simple the words may be, if our desires are genuine and we come before the Lord with a broken heart and contrite spirit to ask him for that which we need. — President Joseph F. Smith, General Conference, October 1899; see Gospel Doctrine, p. 219

The Spirit of the Lord is not likely to give us revelations on matters that are trivial.  I once heard a young woman in testimony meeting praise the spirituality of her husband, indicating that he submitted every question to the Lord.  She told how he accompanied her shopping and would not even choose between different brands of canned vegetables without making his selection a matter of prayer.  That strikes me as improper.  I believe the Lord expects us to use the intelligence and experience He has given us to make these kinds of choices.  When a member asked the Prophet Joseph Smith for advice on a particular matter, the Prophet stated: “It is a great thing to inquire at the hands of God, or to come into His presence: and we feel fearful to approach Him on subjects that are of little or no consequence” (History of the Church, 1:339).

Of course, we are not always able to judge what is trivial.  If a matter appears of little or no consequence, we should proceed on the basis of our own judgment.  If the choice is important for reasons unknown to us, such as . . . a choice between two cans of vegetables when one contains a hidden poison, the Lord will intervene and give us guidance.  Where a choice will make a real difference in our lives – obvious or not – and where we are living in tune with the Spirit and seeking its guidance, we can be sure that we will receive the guidance we need to attain our goal.  The Lord will not leave us unassisted when a choice is important to our eternal welfare. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Revelation,” BYU Devotional, September 29, 1981; see New Era, September 1982, p. 46

Please do not pray – I plead with you – for tasks equal to your powers.  Pray for powers equal to your tasks.  Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle. — President Thomas S. Monson, BYU Commencement, April 25, 1991; Church News, May 4, 1991

Prayer, in the homes of this and other lands, is one of the simple medicines that would check the dread disease that has eroded the fiber of our character.  It is as simple as sunshine and would be as effective in curing our malady.  We could not expect a miracle in a day, but in a generation we would have a miracle. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Be Thou an Example”

Just a few words added to the blessing on the food, as is becoming the custom in some parts, is not enough.  We need to get onto our knees in prayer and gratitude. — President Ezra Taft Benson

I know of no single practice that will have a more salutary effect upon your lives than the practice of kneeling together as you begin and close each day.  Somehow the little storms that seem to afflict every marriage are dissipated when, kneeling before the Lord, you thank him for one another, in the presence of one another, and then together invoke his blessings upon your lives, your home, your loved ones, and your dreams.  God than will be your partner, and your daily conversation with him will bring peace into your hearts and a joy into your lives that can come from no other source.  Your companionship will sweeten through the years; your love will strengthen.  Your appreciation will grow. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, June 1971, p. 72

As I look back on my life following my mission, I realize that there were periods when I was able to maintain the same closeness to the Lord that I experienced in the mission field.  There were also periods when the world seemed to creep in and I was less consistent and faithful with my prayers.

Wouldn’t this be a good time for a little self-evaluation to determine if we still have the same relationship with our Father in Heaven that we enjoyed in the mission field?  If the world has diverted us from the practice of prayer, we then have lost a great spiritual power.  Maybe it is time that we rekindle our missionary spirit through more frequent, consistent, and mighty prayer. — Elder L. Tom Perry, “The Returned Missionary,” Ensign, November 2001, pp. 75-76

I recall an experience of a few years ago.  A group of friends were trail riding on strong Morgan horses when we came to a clearing which opened on a lush grass meadow with a small, clear stream meandering through it.  No mule deer could wish for a better home. However, there was a danger lurking.  The wily deer can detect the slightest movement in the surrounding bush; he can hear the crack of a twig and discern the scent of man.  He is vulnerable from but one direction – overhead.  In a mature tree, hunters had erected a platform high above the enticing spot.  Though in many places this is illegal, the hunter takes his prey as it comes to eat and to drink.  No twig would break, no movement disturb, no scent reveal the hunter’s whereabouts.  Why?  The magnificent buck deer, with its highly developed senses to warn of impending danger, does not have the capacity to look directly upward and thus detect the enemy.  The deer finds himself in harm’s way.  Man is not so restricted.  His greatest safety is found in his ability and his desire to look upward – to “look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). — President Thomas S. Monson, “In Harm’s Way,” Ensign, May 1998, p. 48

I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered.  We wonder, “Why?”  I know that feeling!  I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated.  I know that an all-wise Heavenly Father’s perspective is much broader than is ours.  While we know of our mortal problems and pain, He knows of our immortal progress and potential.  If we pray to know His will and submit ourselves to it with patience and courage, heavenly healing can take place in His own way and time. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Jesus Christ – the Master Healer,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 86

With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing.  If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now.  Don’t give up when the pressure mounts.  Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness.  Face your doubts.  Master your fears.  “Cast not away therefore your confidence” (Hebrews 10:35).  Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence,” Ensign, March 2000, p. 9

I asked a short time since for the Lord to deliver me out of the hands of the Governor of Missouri, and if it needs must be to accomplish it, to take him away; and the next news that came pouring down from there was, that Governor Reynolds had shot himself.  And I would now say, Beware, O earth, how you fight against the Saints of God and shed innocent blood; for in the days of Elijah, his enemies came upon him, and fire was called down from heaven and destroyed them. — Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 340

Prayer is a supernal gift of our Father in Heaven to every soul. Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, the most all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful personage, encourages you and me, as insignificant as we are, to converse with Him as our Father. . . .

 It matters not our circumstance, be we humble or arrogant, poor or rich, free or enslaved, learned or ignorant, loved or forsaken, we can address Him.  We need no appointment.  Our supplication can be brief or can occupy all the time needed.  It can be an extended expression of love and gratitude or an urgent plea for help.  He has created numberless cosmos and populated them with worlds, yet you and I can talk with Him personally, and He will ever answer. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2007, p. 8

President John Taylor wrote:  “Joseph Smith, upwards of forty years ago, said to me: ‘Brother Taylor, you have received the Holy Ghost.  Now follow the influence of that Spirit, and it will lead you into all truth, until by and by, it will become in you a principle of revelation.’  Then he told me never to arise in the morning without bowing before the Lord, and dedicating myself to him during that day.” — Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” General Conference, October 2009, p. 6

. . . our path of duty is clearly marked by an undivided faith and belief in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the power of prayer.  This path is to be traveled by all of God’s children who love Him and desire to keep His commandments. For the young, it leads to personal achievement and preparation; for adults, it leads to renewed faith and resolve; for the older generation, it leads to perspective and endurance in righteousness to the end. It equips every faithful traveler with the strength of the Lord, protects him from the evils of the day, and endows him with the knowledge that “the conclusion of the whole matter [is to] Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”   (Ecclesiastes 12:13) — Bishop Keith B. McMullin, “Our Path of Duty,” Ensign, May 2010, p. 15

Think of the power for good as you gather your family together 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. Groberg, “The Power of Family Prayer,” Ensign, May 1982, p. 50

The Lord has made it plain to us that if we are not a prayerful people, if we fail to remember the king of this land, Jesus Christ, we can lose all of these blessings.  We should hearken to the words of Amulek when he said to his people:  “Yea, and I say unto you if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and pestilence, and the sword.  But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you, then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand lest ye repent.”  (Alma 10:22-23.)

And so it seems to me that what we need in this fair land of ours is a shining example of prayerfulness and the Latter-day Saints are the people who are chosen to exemplify to the world the power of prayer.  Every Latter-day Saint home should be a house of God, where the altar of prayer is ever in use and where the proper example is set to our children in supplicating God for divine guidance in all of our endeavors. — President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, April 1949, p. 159

What to say!  What to write!  Where to go!  What to do!  Such guidance, if given infrequently for only some of life’s decisions, would be priceless.  But the broader promise was given to the Prophet Joseph at Salem, Massachusetts, that “for the main” (or for the most part), the place he should tarry would be signalized to him by the peace and power of the Spirit (see D&C 111:8).  And the Three Witnesses were told that the Holy Ghost would manifest “all things which are expedient unto the children of men” (D&C 18:18).

This is of monumental significance.  The gift has been given – what we make of it is up to us.  Unless we listen to counsel we will receive none.  Unless we pray, exercise faith, love, obey, and keep the tabernacles of our spirits clean – we can have no claim upon this unspeakable gift.  May we so live as to have the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us make wise decisions. — Elder F. Burton Howard, “The Gift of Knowing,” New Era, November 1984, p. 44

The Lord tells us through his prophet what we have to do that the Spirit may be with us:  “And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith” (D&C 42:14).  The prayer of faith is easy to understand for a person who is in a situation of urgency or sudden distress.  But isn’t it clear that we, in some way, may offend the Lord if we come to him in a sincere prayer of faith only in emergencies?  It seems obvious that the Lord has a question for some of us:  “Why do you not want the closeness of the Spirit every minute of your life?  And why do you come unto me in sincerity only when it is either already too late or help can only come after heavy losses or much pain?”

I wish we would open our minds and understand that the Lord is offering to us, through the Spirit, the most powerful life support available.  The Lord has given us the instrument to achieve our righteous desires, if we know how to appreciate it and learn how to use it.  With the help of this gift, we can learn how to handle our daily affairs, how our righteous motivations can increase, how our fears can be taken away, how to overcome temptations, and how to succeed in the most difficult and complicated tasks.  With the help of this gift, every member can experience the unique power that the Lord wants to give those who receive him.  “But unto as many as received me gave I power” (D&C 45:8). — Elder F. Enzio Busche, “Powerfully Strong,” New Era, March 1989, p. 4

Will prayers that do not demand much of your thought merit much attention from our Heavenly Father?  When you find yourself getting into a routine with your prayers, step back and think.  Meditate for a while on the things for which you really are grateful.  Look for them.  They don’t have to be grand or glorious.  Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.  Thinking of things we are grateful for is a healing balm.  It helps us get outside ourselves.  It changes our focus from our pains and our trials to the abundance of this beautiful world we live in. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Improving Our Prayers,” Liahona, August 2004, p. 18

Isn’t it marvelous, brothers and sisters, that God, who knows everything, still spends time listening to our prayers?  Compared to that cosmic fact, what does the world really have to offer us?  One round of applause, one fleeting moment of adulation, or an approving glance from a phantom Caesar? 

May God bless us to see things as they really are and as they really will be (see Jacob 4:13; D&C 93:24), and may we give the glory and honor and praise unto God. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, General Conference, April 2000

            When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.
            When He answers no, it is to prevent error.
            When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth.  We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation.  We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken.  We are to act. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer,” October 1989

 I offer a plea that each of us will seek to live closer to the Lord and to commune with Him more frequently and with increased faith.

Fathers and mothers, pray over your children.  Pray that they may be shielded from the evils of the world.  Pray that they may grow in faith and knowledge.  Pray that they may be directed toward lives that will be profitable and good.  Husbands, pray for your wives. Express unto the Lord your gratitude for them and plead with Him in their behalf.  Wives, pray for your husbands.  Many of them walk a very difficult road with countless problems and great perplexities.  Plead with the Almighty that they may be guided, blessed, protected, inspired in their righteous endeavors. . . .

Pray for wisdom and understanding as you walk the difficult paths of your lives.  If you are determined to do foolish and imprudent things, I think the Lord will not prevent you. But if you seek His wisdom and follow the counsel of the impressions that come to you, I am confident that you will be blessed. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Benediction,” Ensign, May 2003, pp. 99-100

It has been my privilege during the past six months to meet with leaders of countries and with representatives of governments.  Those with whom I’ve met feel kindly toward the Church and our members, and they have been cooperative and accommodating.  There remain, however, areas of the world where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel freely.  As did President Spencer W. Kimball over 32 years ago, I urge you to pray for the opening of those areas, that we might share with them the joy of the gospel.   As we prayed then in response to President Kimball’s pleadings, we saw miracles unfold as country after country, formerly closed to the Church, was opened.  Such will transpire again as we pray with faith. — President Monson’s opening remarks in the first session of General Conference, October 2008

O Father, look with mercy upon this, our own nation, and its friends in this time of need.  Spare us and help us to walk with faith ever in Thee and ever in Thy Beloved Son, on whose mercy we count and to whom we look as our Savior and our Lord.  Bless the cause of peace and bring it quickly to us again, we humbly plead with Thee, asking that Thou wilt forgive our arrogance, pass by our sins, be kind and gracious to us, and cause our hearts to turn with love toward Thee.  We humbly pray in the name of Him who loves us all, even the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior, amen. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign, 2007

Do you want guidance?  Have you prayed to the Lord for inspiration?  Do you want to do right or do you want to do what you want to do whether or not it is right?  Do you want to do what is best for you in the long run or what seems more desirable for the moment? Have you prayed?  How much have you prayed?  How did you pray?  Have you prayed as did the Savior of the world in Gethsemane or did you ask for what you want regardless of its being proper?  Do you say in your prayers:  “Thy will be done”?  Did you say, “Heavenly Father, if you will inspire and impress me with the right, I will do that right”?  Or, did you pray, “Give me what I want or I will take it anyway”?  Did you say: “Father in Heaven, I love you, I believe in you, I know you are omniscient.  I am honest.  I am sincerely desirous of doing right.  I know you can see the end from the beginning.  You can see the future.  You can discern if under this situation I present, I will have peace or turmoil, happiness or sorrow, success or failure.  Tell me, please, lo”ved Heavenly Father, and I promise to do what you tell me to do.”  Have you prayed that way?  Don’t you think it might be wise?  Are you courageous enough to pray that prayer? — President Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Presidents of the Church

When the plan [of salvation] is lived, it will help you overcome every challenge in life. It will help you qualify, through faith and obedience, to have the divine spiritual guidance you need.  That support will give you the strength to live as you know you ought to live, no matter how world conditions degrade. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Truth Restored,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 80

God offers us counsel not just for our own safety but for the safety of His other children, whom we should love.  There are few comforts so sweet as to know that we have been an instrument in the hands of God in leading someone else to safety.  That blessing generally requires the faith to follow counsel when it is hard to do. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Safety in Counsel,” Liahona, June 2008, pp. 2-7

If you and I would truly pray and ask in faith, as did Joseph Smith – if we would pray with the expectation to act and not just to express – then the work of proclaiming the gospel would move forward in a remarkable way.  Such a prayer of faith might include some of the following elements:

               -Thanking Heavenly Father for the doctrines and ordinances of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which bring hope and happiness into our lives.
               -Asking for courage and boldness to open our mouths and share the gospel with our family and friends.
              -Entreating Heavenly Father to help us identify individuals and families who will be receptive to our invitation to be taught by the missionaries in our homes.
             -Pledging to do our part this day and this week and petitioning for help to overcome anxiety, fear, and hesitation.
              -Seeking for the gift of discernment – for eyes to see and ears to hear missionary opportunities as they occur.
               -Praying fervently for the strength to act as we know we should.
            This same pattern of holy communication and consecrated work can be applied in our prayers for the poor and the needy, for the sick and the afflicted, for family members and friends who are struggling, and for those who are not attending Church meetings. — Elder David A. Bednar, “Ask In Faith,” Ensign, April 2008

Some truths regarding prayer may help you.  The Lord will hear your prayers in time of need.  He will invariably answer them.  However, His answers will generally not come while you are on your knees praying, even when you may plead for an immediate response.  There is a pattern that must be followed.  You are asked to look for an answer to your prayers, then confirm that it is correct.  Obey His counsel to “study it out in your mind.”  Often you will think of a solution.  Then seek confirmation that your answer is right. This help can come from prayer and from pondering the scriptures, at times by the intervention of others, or from your own capacity, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

At times the Lord will want you to proceed with trust before you receive a confirming answer.  His answer generally comes as packets of help.  As each piece is followed in faith, it will unite with others to give you the whole answer. This pattern requires the exercise of faith.  While sometimes very hard, it results in significant personal growth.  At times the Lord will give you an answer before you ask.  This occurs when you are unaware of a danger or may be doing the wrong thing, trusting that it is correct. — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, October 2001

Will prayers that do not demand much of your thought merit much attention from our Heavenly Father?  When you find yourself getting into a routine with your prayers, step back and think.  Meditate for a while on the things for which you really are grateful.  Look for them.  They don’t have to be grand or glorious.  Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.  Thinking of things we are grateful for is a healing balm.  It helps us get outside ourselves.  It changes our focus from our pains and our trials to the abundance of this beautiful world we live in. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Improving Our Prayers,” Liahona, August 2004, p. 18

God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has.  But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream.  In short, He can’t if you don’t believe. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Pray earnestly and fast with purpose and devotion.  Some difficulties, like devils, do not come out save by fasting and by prayer.  Ask in righteousness and you shall receive. Knock with conviction and it shall be opened unto you. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing.  If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it . . . is right now.  Don’t give up when the pressure mounts.  Certainly don’t go to that being who is bent on your destruction of your happiness.  Face your doubts.  Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.”  Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Cast Not Away Your Confidence,” Ensign, March 2000

If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections?  I am full of them.  What is my duty?  To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections.  If I am an angry man, it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind.  Am I an envious man?  It is my duty to seek for charity, which envieth not.  So with all the gifts of the Gospel.  They are intended for this purpose.  No man ought to say, “Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.”  He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them. — President George Q. Cannon, Millennial Star, April 23, 1894, p. 260

Put difficult questions in the back of your minds and go about your lives.  Ponder and pray quietly and persistently about them.  The answer may not come as a lightning bolt.  It may come as a little inspiration here and a little there, “line upon line, precept upon precept” (D&C 98:12).  Some answers will come from reading the scriptures, some from hearing speakers.  And, occasionally, when it is important, some will come by very direct and powerful inspiration.  The promptings will be clear and unmistakable. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Prayers and Answers,” Ensign, November 1979, p. 21

When we seek inspiration to help make decisions, the Lord gives gentle promptings. These require us to think, to exercise faith, to work, to struggle at times, and to act.  Seldom does the whole answer to a decisively important matter or complex problem come all at once.  More often, it comes a piece at a time, without the end in sight. — Elder Richard G. Scott, Conference Report, October 1989, p. 40

The thing that all of us should strive for is to so live, keeping the commandments of the Lord, that He can answer our prayers.  If we will live worthy, then the Lord will guide us – by a personal appearance, or by His actual voice, or by His voice coming into our mind, or by impressions upon our heart and our soul.  And oh, how grateful we ought to be if the Lord sends us a dream in which is revealed to us the beauties of the eternity or a warning and direction for our special comfort.  Yes, if we so live, the Lord will guide us for our salvation and for our benefit. — President Harold B. Lee, “Revelation and You,” Tambuli, February 1980, p. 38

It is soul-satisfying to know that God is mindful of us and ready to respond when we place our trust in Him and do that which is right.  There is no place for fear among men and women who place their trust in the Almighty and who do not hesitate to humble themselves in seeking divine guidance through prayer.  Though persecutions arise, though reverses come, in prayer we can find reassurance, for God will speak peace to the soul.  That peace, that spirit of serenity, is life’s greatest blessing. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, February 1990

The children of God have more in common than they have differences.  And even the differences can be seen as an opportunity.  God will help us see a difference in someone else not as a source of irritation but as a contribution.  The Lord can help you see and value what another person brings which you lack.  More than once the Lord has helped me see His kindness in giving me association with someone whose difference from me was just the help I needed.  That has been the Lord’s way of adding something I lacked to serve Him better. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Our Hearts Knit as One,” October 2008

Prayer begins with individual initiative.  “Behold,” saith the Lord, “I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).  That door is opened when we pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ (see 3 Nephi 18:20; D&C 88:64). . . .

Let us ever pray “that [the Lord’s] kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants . . . may . . . be prepared for the days . . . [when] the Son of Man shall come down . . . in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth” (D&C 65:5).  In our daily lives and in our own crucial hours, may we fervently apply these precious lessons from the Lord. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers,” Ensign, May 2009, p. 48

But is prayer only one-way communication?  No! . . . At the end of our prayers, we need to do some intense listening – even for several minutes.   We have prayed for counsel and help.  Now we must “be still and know that [He is] God” (Ps. 46:10).” — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, October 1981, p. 5

Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord. — President David O. McKay, April 1946 General Conference

You have your agency, and inspiration does not – perhaps cannot – flow unless you ask for it, or someone asks for you.

No message in scripture is repeated more often than the invitation, even the command, to pray – to ask.

Prayer is so essential a part of revelation that without it the veil may remain closed to you.  Learn to pray.  Pray often . Pray in your mind, in your heart.  Pray on your knees. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise,” Ensign, November 1994, p. 59

Another way to disqualify ourselves for His lifting power is to begin to act as if we have climbed on our power alone.  It has been in the nature of men and women from the creation to begin to ignore what God has done and to exaggerate what they have done. That begins to happen in the good times.  We can easily start to think that we created prosperity with our own labors and wisdom. We start calling attention to our accomplishments.  We pray for help less often and with less fervor.  And so the Lord’s power lessens in our lives.  In time we can be left more and more to our own power. — President Henry B. Eyring, Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional, June 9, 2009

. . . . Sometimes we will receive counsel that we cannot understand or that seems not to apply to us, even after careful prayer and thought.  Don’t discard the counsel, but hold it close.  If someone you trusted handed you what appeared to be nothing more than sand with the promise that it contained gold, you might wisely hold it in your hand awhile, shaking it gently.  Every time I have done that with counsel from a prophet, after a time the gold flakes have begun to appear and I have been grateful. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Finding Safety In Counsel,” General Conference, April 1997

The purpose of prayer, however, is not to appease a vindictive Deity; nor is it to court favors from an indulgent Father.  It is to attune oneself with the spirit or light which “proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.”  (D &C 88:12.)

In that light is to be found sure answers to all our needs.  Prayer is the key which unlocks the door and lets Christ into our lives. — President Marion G. Romney, “Prayer and Revelation,” Ensign, May 1978, p. 48

The pattern of our lives determines our eligibility to receive the promptings of the Spirit and to hear the answers to our prayers.  Again, let there be no misunderstanding. Heavenly Father does answer our prayers, but often we aren’t prepared to hear him.  Some are answered immediately, but some do take longer, and that’s where we may become discouraged. — Elder H. Burke Peterson, “Prayer – Try Again,” Ensign, June 1981, p. 72

Think of the power for good as you gather your family together 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. Groberg, “The Power of Family Prayer,” Ensign, May 1982, p. 50

What a great strength it would be to all of us in times of desperation and wonderment to humbly approach His throne with, “Please hear my prayers.  Answer them in Thy great wisdom for my best good.  But please give me the constant reassurance that Thou art there and that peace, contentment, and the courage to continue are mine because I have faith and can come to Thee who hast promised not to forsake us.” — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, February 1994, p. 50

Access to our Creator through our Savior is surely one of the great privileges and blessings of our lives.  I have learned from countless personal experiences that great is the power of prayer.  No earthly authority can separate us from direct access to our Creator. There can never be a mechanical or electronic failure when we pray.  There is no limit on the number of times or how long we can pray each day.  There is no quota of how many needs we wish to pray for in each prayer.  We do not need to go through secretaries or make an appointment to reach the throne of grace.  He is reachable at any time and any place. — President James E. Faust, “The Lifeline of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2002

One of the most powerful sources of personal development will come through the urgent prayers you offer in faith for a foundation of righteousness.  You will learn much as feelings distill in your mind and heart.  Avoid prayers that appear to be a set of instructions to the Lord – do this, bless that, change this, help me with that.  Rather, be a compliant student to the Ultimate Teacher.   He wants you to succeed even more than you do yourself. — Elder Richard G. Scott, BYU Devotional

And may we always remember, because it is both true and comforting, that the death of a faithful man is nothing in comparison to the loss of the inspiration of the good spirit.  Eternal life is the great prize, and it will be ours, and the joy of our Father in heaven in welcoming us will be great, if we do right; and there is nothing so great that can be done in this life by anyone, as to do right.  The Lord will hear and answer the prayers we offer to him and give us the things we pray for if it is for our best good.  He never will and never has forsaken those who serve him with full purpose of heart; but we must always be prepared to say “Father, thy will be done.” — President Heber J. Grant, April 1945, 116th Annual General Conference

You who pray sometimes, why not pray more regularly, more often, more devoutly? Is time so precious, life so short, or faith so scant? . . . Do you pray occasionally when you should be praying regularly, often, constantly? . . . Do you just speak, or do you also listen? . . . Do you give thanks or merely ask for favors? — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Prayer,” New Era, March 1978, p. 17

Medical research describes addiction as “a disease of the brain.”  This is true, but I believe that once Satan has someone in his grasp, it also becomes a disease of the spirit. But no matter what addictive cycle one is caught in, there is always hope.  The prophet Lehi taught his sons this eternal truth:  “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27).

If anyone who is addicted has a desire to overcome, then there is a way to spiritual freedom – a way to escape from bondage – a way that is proven. It begins with prayer – sincere, fervent, and constant communication with the Creator of our spirits and bodies, our Heavenly Father.  It is the same principle in breaking a bad habit or repenting from sin of any kind. The formula for having our heart, our body, our mind, and our spirit transformed is found in the scriptures.
The prophet Mormon counseled us:  “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love . . . ; that ye may become the sons of God; . . . that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:48). — Elder M. Russell Ballard, Conference Report, October 2010

God is perfect and omnipotent, and you and I are mortal.  But He is our Father, He loves us, and He offers the same opportunity to draw closer to Him as would a loving friend.  And you will do it in much the same way: speaking, listening, and doing. — President Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, May 1991, p. 66

When God placed man in the Garden of Eden, and man was shown his destiny, the Creator planted within his soul the power to look up and to find his Maker through the power of faith.  This gave man a splendor of spirit, which is the greatest power of all; because only by the spirit can absolute truth be known.  This gift of faith places man in an enviable position for the exercise of his mental powers.  Throughout all the ages, man has felt the still small voice of the Almighty in his daily life.  Our lives must needs be deeply penetrated with a sense of the infinite God; and this infinite, true, and living God can only be known by our approach to him in the humility of our powers.  We must again learn to worship and to glorify. — Elder Levi Edgar Young, Conference Report, October 1932, p. 58

The object of our prayers should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing.  Every sincere prayer is heard and answered by our Heavenly Father, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate. — Elder David A. Bednar, “Ask in Faith,” Ensign, May 2008, p. 97

How do we decide where our repentance should be focused? When a loved one or friend suggests things we need to change, the natural man in us sometimes pops up his head and responds, “Oh, you think I should change?  Well, let me tell you about some of your problems.”  A better approach is to humbly petition the Lord: “Father, what wouldst Thou have me do?”  The answers come.  We feel the changes we need to make.  The Lord tells us in our mind and in our heart (see D&C 8:2). — Elder Neil L. Anderson, “Repent . . . That I May Heal You,” Ensign, November 2009, p. 41

Let all leave the cares of their work behind them; let the kitchens take care of themselves, and let the barns, the flocks and herds take care of themselves, and if they are destroyed while you are praying, be able to freely say, “Go, they are the Lord’s; He gave them to me, and I will worship Him; I will assemble my family and call upon the name of my God.” 

By leaving business and the cares thereof where they belong, and attending strictly to worship in its season, if not at first, you soon will be united, and be able to bring every evil principle into subjection.  If all are bound up in this manner, don’t you see that it will make a mighty cord of faith? — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 3:53

You can learn vitally important things by what you hear and see and, even more, by what you feel, as prompted by the Holy Ghost.  Many individuals limit their learning primarily to what they hear or read.  Be wise.  Develop the skill of also learning by what you see and particularly by what the Holy Ghost prompts you to feel. Consciously and consistently seek to learn by what you feel. Your capacity to do so will expand through repeated practice.  Significant faith and effort are required to learn by what you feel from the Spirit.  Ask in faith for such help.  Live to be worthy of such guidance.

Write down in a secure place the important things you learn from the Spirit.  You will find that as you record a precious impression, often others will come that you would not have otherwise received.  Also, the spiritual knowledge you gain will be available throughout your life.  Always, day or night, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, seek to recognize and respond to the direction of the Spirit.  Have available a piece of paper or a card to record such guidance.

Express gratitude to the Lord for the spiritual guidance you receive and obey it.  This practice will reinforce your capacity to learn by the Spirit.  It will enhance the guidance of the Lord in your life.  You will learn more as you act upon the knowledge, experience, and inspiration communicated to you by the Holy Ghost. — Elder Richard G. Scott, BYU Education Week, August 21, 2007

President John Taylor asked the Saints:  “Do you have prayers in your family? . . . “And when you do, do you go through the operation like the guiding of a piece of machinery, or do you bow in meekness and with a sincere desire to seek the blessing of God upon you and your household?  That is the way that we ought to do, and cultivate a spirit of devotion and trust in God, dedicating ourselves to him, and seeking his blessings. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 20:118

I am now in my fifty-fourth year; I am a Latter-day Saint, full in the faith, and not only in the faith, but I have a knowledge of the truth of this work.  I know that God lives and dwells in the heavens; for I have asked Him scores of times, and hundreds of times, for things, and have received them.  Is not that a pretty good proof that He hears me, when I ask Him for things and get them; and is not that a proof that He lives, and dwells in the heavens?  I think it is.  I suppose He dwells there, He could not dwell anywhere else, but in what particular portion He dwells, I do not precisely know, though He is not so far off as many imagine.  He is nearby, His angels are our associates, they are with us and round about us, and watch over us, and take care of us, and lead us, and guide us, and administer to our wants in their ministry and in their holy calling unto which they are appointed.  We are told in the Bible that angels are ministering spirits to minister to those who shall become heirs of salvation. — President Heber C. Kimball, September 1852

In the Book of Mormon, Amulek tells us we should pray about everything in our lives. He says, “Pour out your souls [to God] in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.” Your Heavenly Father wants you to pray about your hopes and fears, your friends and family, your school and work, and the needs of those around you. Most of all, you should pray to be filled with the love of Christ.  This love is given to those who are true followers of Jesus Christ, who ask for it with all the energy of their heart.  This love is the fruit of the tree of life, and tasting it is a major part of your conversion because once you have felt your Savior’s love for you, even the smallest part, you will feel secure, and a love for Him and for your Heavenly Father will grow within you.  In your heart you will want to do what these holy beings ask of you.  Go often to your closet, your secret place, your wilderness.  Thank God for your blessings; ask for His help; ask Him to bestow upon you the pure love of Christ. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign, May 2004, p. 11

Brethren and sisters, I know that you are a praying people.  That is a wonderful thing in this day and time when the practice of prayer has slipped from many lives.  To call upon the Lord for wisdom beyond our own, for strength to do what we ought to do, for comfort and consolation, and for the expression of gratitude is a significant and wonderful thing. We know that you pray for us, and we appreciate your prayers.  They sustain us; they remind us of the great trust which you have placed in us.  I want you to know that we pray for you always.  We pray for you that you may be happy, and that in living the gospel there may be love and peace in your homes and growing goodness in your lives.  That is what this is all about, for God sent His Only Beloved Son “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  The great purpose of the work in which we are engaged is to help each of us along the way of immortality and eternal life. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Fabric of Faith and Testimony,” Ensign, November 1995, p. 89

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once admonished us to “expand our Table of Contents” when we pray.  There are so many things to pray about, yet we so often stick to the regular subjects like blessing our family and being thankful for the food, etc.  All good things, but if we spend more time on our knees, we will come up with so much more.  Think about being grateful for the beautiful day, the blue sky and white fluffy clouds, gravity (one of my personal favorites), the first snow fall, the beauty of Mt. Timpanogos when it’s covered with snow, the view of the lake as we go over the hill, the majestic “Y” on the mountain behind BYU campus, etc.  I love his idea about “expanding our Table of Contents.” — Vicki Topliff, 2012

You can learn vitally important things by what you hear and see and, even more, by what you feel, as prompted by the Holy Ghost.  Many individuals limit their learning primarily to what they hear or read.  Be wise.  Develop the skill of also learning by what you see and particularly by what the Holy Ghost prompts you to feel. Consciously and consistently seek to learn by what you feel. Your capacity to do so will expand through repeated practice.  Significant faith and effort are required to learn by what you feel from the Spirit.  Ask in faith for such help. Live to be worthy of such guidance.

Write down in a secure place the important things you learn from the Spirit.  You will find that as you record a precious impression, often others will come that you would not have otherwise received.  Also, the spiritual knowledge you gain will be available throughout your life.  Always, day or night, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, seek to recognize and respond to the direction of the Spirit.  Have available a piece of paper or a card to record such guidance.

Express gratitude to the Lord for the spiritual guidance you receive and obey it.  This practice will reinforce your capacity to learn by the Spirit.  It will enhance the guidance of the Lord in your life.  You will learn more as you act upon the knowledge, experience, and inspiration communicated to you by the Holy Ghost. — Elder Richard G. Scott, BYU Education Week, August 21, 2007

Try to live . . . so that you can have the Spirit with you in all your activities.  Pray for the spirit of discernment that you may hear the promptings of the Spirit and understand them and then pray for courage to do them, to follow the guidance of the Spirit. — President Marion G. Romney

It matters not our circumstance, be we humble or arrogant, poor or rich, free or enslaved, learned or ignorant, loved or forsaken, we can address Him.  We need no appointment.  Our solicitation can be brief or can occupy all the time needed.  It can be an extended expression of love and gratitude or an urgent plea for help.  He has created numberless cosmos and populated them with worlds, yet you and I can talk with Him personally, and He will ever answer. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2007, p. 8

Jesus teaches us, His disciples, that we should look to God each day for the bread – the help and sustenance – we require that particular day.  The Lord’s invitation to seek our daily bread at our Heavenly Father’s hand speaks of a loving God, aware of even the small, daily needs of His children and eager to assist them, one by one.  He is saying that we can ask in faith of that Being “that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given” (James 1:5).  That is, of course, tremendously reassuring, but there is something at work here that is more significant than just help in getting by day to day.  As we seek and receive divine bread daily, our faith and trust in God and His Son grow. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Recognizing God’s Hand in Our Daily Blessings,” CES Fireside, 9 January 2011

When we reflect that light and intelligence have beamed forth from the heavens, that God in his mercy has made manifest His will to the human family; that in the plenitude of His mercy and goodness He has restored the Holy Priesthood, and placed us in communication with Himself; that he has taught us not only how to pray but how to approach unto him for the forgiveness of our sins, for the reception of the Holy Ghost, for instruction and guidance in relation to all matters pertaining to our fathers, relative to this world and to the world that is to come, we certainly have great cause of gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the many mercies and blessings He has conferred upon us. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 11:21

Difficult as it seems, I have found when praying, other than in private and secret, that it is better to be concerned with communicating tenderly and honestly with God, rather than worrying over what the listeners may be thinking. The echoing of ‘amen’ by the listeners is evidence of their accord and approval. Of course, the setting of prayers needs to be taken into account. This is one reason why public prayers, or even family prayers, cannot be the whole of our praying.

Some things are best prayed over only in private, where time and confidentiality are not considerations.  If in these special moments of prayer we hold back from the Lord, it may mean that some blessing may be withheld from us.  After all, we pray as petitioners before an all-wise Heavenly Father, so why should we ever think to hold back feelings or thoughts which bear upon our needs and our blessings?  We hope that our people will have very bounteous prayers. It would not hurt us, either, if we paused at the end of our prayers to do some intense listening – even for a moment or two – always praying, as the Savior did, “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, November 1979, pp. 4-5

There is nothing that we are enduring that Jesus does not understand, and He waits for us to go to our Heavenly Father in prayer.  If we will be obedient and if we are diligent, our prayers will be answered, our problems will diminish, our fears will dissipate, light will come upon us, the darkness of despair will be dispersed, and we will be close to the Lord. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure,” Ensign, May 1998, p. 75

When confronted with a problem, I prayerfully weigh in my mind alternative solutions and come to a conclusion as to which of them is best.  Then in prayer I submit to the Lord my problem, tell him I desire to make the right choice, what is, in my judgment, the right course.  Then I ask him if I have made the right decision to give me the burning in my bosom that He promised Oliver Cowdery. . . .
When we learn to distinguish between the inspiration that comes from the Spirit of the Lord and that which comes from our own uninspired hopes and desires, we need make no mistakes. — President Marion G. Romney, “Q and A,” New Era, October 1975, p. 35

It is pleasing to that God whose we are when we fast and pray and seek his blessings; when we plead with all the energy of our souls for those things we so much desire; when, as Paul says, we “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  (Heb. 4:16) — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Patterns of Prayer,” Ensign, May 1984, p. 32

If prayer is only a spasmodic cry at the time of crisis, then it is utterly selfish, and we come to think of God as a repairman or a service agency to help us only in our emergencies.  We should remember the Most High day and night – always – not only at times when all other assistance has failed and we desperately need help.  If there is any element in human life on which we have a record of miraculous success and inestimable worth to the human soul, it is prayerful, reverential, devout communication with our Heavenly Father. — President Howard W. Hunter, “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” Ensign, November 1977, p. 52

. . . the strait and narrow path, though clearly marked, is a path, not a freeway nor an escalator.  Indeed, there are times when the only way the strait and narrow path can be followed is on one’s knees! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “A Brother Offended,” Ensign, May 1982, p. 37

The Prophet Joseph said at one time that one of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude.  I presume most of us have not thought of that as a great sin.  There is a great tendency for us in our prayers and in our pleadings with the Lord to ask for additional blessings.  But sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received.  We enjoy so much. — President Ezra Taft Benson, quoted in Henry B. Eyring, “Remembrance and Gratitude,” Ensign, November 1989, pp. 12-13

It is not such a difficult thing to learn how to pray.  It is not the words we use particularly that constitute prayer.  Prayer does not consist of words altogether.  True, faithful, earnest prayer consists more in the feeling that rises from the heart and from the inward desire of our spirits to supplicate the Lord in humility and in faith, that we may receive his blessings.  It matters not how simple the words may be, if our desires are genuine and we come before the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit to ask Him for that which we need. . . .

My brethren and sisters, do not learn to pray with your lips only.  Do not learn a prayer by heart, and say it every morning and evening.  That is something I dislike very much.  It is true that a great many people fall into the rut of saying over a ceremonious prayer.  They begin at a certain point, and they touch at all the points along the road until they get to the winding-up scene; and when they have done, I do not know whether the prayer has ascended beyond the ceiling of the room or not. — Elder Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, October 1899, pp. 69,71-72

When you have labored faithfully for years, you will learn this simple fact – that if your hearts are aright, and you still continue to be obedient, continue to serve God, continue to pray, the Spirit of revelation will be in you like a well of water springing up to everlasting life.  Let no person give up prayer because he has not the spirit of prayer, neither let any earthly circumstance hurry you while in the performance of this important duty.  By bowing down before the Lord to ask him to bless you, you will simply find this result – God will multiply blessings on you temporally and spiritually.  Let a merchant, a farmer, a mechanic, any person in business, live his religion faithfully, and he need never lose one minute’s sleep by thinking about his business; he need not worry in the least, but trust in God, go to sleep and rest.  I say to this people – pray, and if you cannot do anything else, read a prayer aloud that your family may hear it, until you get a worshiping spirit, and are full of the riches of eternity, then you will be prepared at any time to lay hands on the sick, or to officiate in any of the ordinances of this religion. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in old Tabernacle, November 17, 1867, Journal of Discourses 12:103; Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 46

And do not forget to call upon the Lord in your family circles, dedicating yourselves and all you have to God every day of your lives; and seek to do right, and cultivate the spirit of union and love, and the peace and blessing of the Living God will be with us, and He will lead us in the paths of life; and we shall be sustained and upheld by all the holy angels and the ancient patriarchs and men of God, and the veil will become thinner between us and our God, and we will approach nearer to him, and our souls will magnify the Lord of hosts. — Elder John Taylor, at Provo, Utah, November 30, 1879; Journal of Discourses 20:361; TLDP:488

Whoever in absolute desire to know the truth places himself in harmony with divine forces and approaches God in humble prayer, with full surrender of inherited or acquired prejudices, will learn to his complete satisfaction that there is a God in Heaven, whose loving will is operative on earth.  Just as the turning of the dial of the radio enables us to hear the messages of distant broadcasting stations, so we may tune ourselves in prayer for truth to hear the messages that come from heavenly places.  Man is more than a machine; he can so purify himself, establish earnest desire, and forget his selfish needs, as to receive through prayer the final assurance of the existence of the Lord of Heaven and Earth.  This method or test is within the reach of all, humble or great, rich or poor.  Happy is the man who thus enters into the abundant knowledge of divine things. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, “The Articles of Faith,” Improvement Era, May 1935, p. 288; Teachings of Latter-Day Prophets, p.490

If we pray that his will be done, we must be prepared to do our part.  My father said to me when I was a boy, “If you want your prayers to be answered, you’d better get on your feet and go to work.”  There is no use praying for the kingdom to come and his will to be done unless we are prepared to do something about it. — Elder N. Eldon Tanner, Conference Report, April 1974, pp. 75-76

It is not, never has been, and never will be the design and purpose of the Lord – however much we seek him in prayer – to answer all our problems and concerns without struggle and effort on our part.  This mortality is a probationary estate.  In it we have our agency.  We are being tested to see how we will respond in various situations; how we will decide issues; what course we will pursue while we are here walking, not by sight, but by faith.  Hence, we are to solve our own problems and then to counsel with the Lord in prayer and receive a spiritual confirmation that our decisions are correct. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Why the Lord Ordained Prayer,” Ensign, January 1976, p. 11; TLDP:488

Again, while prayer is essential and is one of the fundamental principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is nonsense for a person to pray only, and not work. A well-balanced person would naturally do everything that he could do and at the same time petition the Lord to help him in his efforts, thus aiding to bring about his desires.  By work, patience and integrity, such a person would support his prayers by so living that the Lord could be justified in granting his petitions.  The commandments which the Lord has given us, in ages past, and those now being revealed, teach us that human desire and effort are necessary to obtain divine assistance. — President Joseph F. Smith, “Strive to Be as Broad as the Gospel,” Improvement Era, July 1912, p. 843; TLDP:487

The time has come when our prayers in behalf of many of our loved ones have not been answered, but those for whom we have prayed have been taken away. But, my brethren and sisters, because they are taken away, is that any sign that our prayers were not heard by our Father in heaven?  Not in the least.  It is but an evidence that God knows best, that His will is not our will, and that the time had come when He saw it wiser not to answer that prayer.  How often do parents have to deny the prayers and petitions of their own children?  Notwithstanding the child desires a thing greatly, and can see no reason why he should not have it, yet in the greater wisdom of the parent his request is denied and the supposed blessing is withheld. But that is no evidence that the prayer was not considered by the parent; it is simply an evidence that the parent knows best when to give and when to withhold. — Elder Hyrum Mack Smith, Conference Report, April 1902, pp. 20-21

And I urge on you, brothers and sisters, that when you pray, let that central thought always be with you, and do not always expect that the answer to your prayer will come in the way in which you desire it. — President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, October 1958, p. 46

Prayer is powerful indeed when accompanied by works of righteousness, but prayer alone is but lip service.  The Almighty spurns lip service.  Empty words are but symptoms of hypocrisy to him.  He is a God of action – a God of works as well as of faith. He demands obedience to him if we are to receive help from him.  Are we ready to thus obey him?  We cannot deal in half-way measures – not with God – and neither can we serve two masters. — Elder Mark E. Petersen, Conference Report, April 1968, p. 62

No one can pray with perfect faith unless he keeps the commandments. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “The Ten Commandments of a Peculiar People,” BYU Speeches of the Year, 1975, p. 38; TLDP:487

If you would have your personal prayers reach the Divine destination to which they are addressed, see to it that they are transmitted by a current of pure sincerity, free from the resistance of unrepented sin.  Let those who assemble in the sacred circle of united prayer have a care that each is individually clean, lest the supplication be nullified through the obstruction of an offending member. — Elder James E. Talmage, “The Parable of the Defective Battery,” Improvement Era, February 1914, p. 285; TLDP:487

Reference has been made in this conference to the importance of seeking the Lord in prayer.  And we should know that our prayers will not avail us much unless we repent of our sins.  Faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, are the fundamental teachings of our Heavenly Father to us, and have been the groundwork of the Church since it was organized. — Elder George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1944, p. 95

No individual who is humble and prayerful before God and supplicates Him every day for the light and inspiration of His Holy Spirit, will ever become lifted up in the pride of his heart, or feel that the intelligence and the wisdom that he possesses are all-sufficient for him.

The prayerful and humble man will always realize and feel that he is dependent upon the Lord for every blessing that he enjoys, and in praying to God he will not only pray for the light and the inspiration of His Holy Spirit to guide him, but he will feel to thank Him for the blessings that he receives, realizing that life, that health, that strength, and that all the intelligence which he possesses come from God, who is the Author of his existence.

If we do not keep this channel of communication open between us and our Heavenly Father, then are we robbed of the light and inspiration of His Spirit, and of that feeling of gratitude and thanksgiving that fills our hearts and that desire to praise God for His goodness and mercy to us. — President Heber J. Grant, “Personal and Family Prayer,” Improvement Era, December 1942, p. 779; TLDP:489

If we want something for this Church and Kingdom, or if we want something for our individual lives, we must have a great, earnest, overpowering desire for that thing.  We must reach out for it, with full faith in our Heavenly Father that the gift may be given us. Then it would seem as if the Lord himself cannot resist our petition.  If our desire is strong enough, if our whole will is tempered and attuned to that which we desire, if our lives make us worthy of the desired gift, the Lord, by his own words, is bound to give us that which we desire, in his own time and in his own manner. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1935, p. 82

I have cherished from childhood the truth that God is a personal being, and is, indeed, our Father whom we can approach in prayer and receive answers thereto.  I cherish as one of the dearest experiences of life the knowledge that God hears the prayer of faith.  It is true that the answers to our prayers may not always come as direct and at the time, nor in the manner, we anticipate; but they do come, and at a time and in a manner best for the interests of him who offers the supplication. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1969, pp. 152-53

Brethren and sisters, let us continue to be a praying people.  Let us pray, keeping in mind some of the great principles involved therein.  Let us go to our Heavenly Father for his advice, his counsel, his help.  He will always answer if we are righteous in our asking, and if we are asking for righteous things that would be for our good and benefit. —  President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, October 1958, p. 47

Answers to prayers come in a quiet way.  The scriptures describe that voice of inspiration as a still, small voice.  If you really try, you can learn to respond to that voice.

In the early days of our marriage, our children came at close intervals.  As parents of little children will know, in those years it is quite a novelty for them to get an uninterrupted night of sleep. . . . We finally divided our children into “his” and “hers” for night tending.  She would get up for the new baby, and I would get up for the one cutting teeth. One day we came to realize that each would hear only the one to which we were assigned, and would sleep very soundly through the cries of the other.

We have commented on this over the years, convinced that you can train yourself to hear what you want to hear, to see and feel what you desire, but it takes some conditioning.  There are so many of us who go through life and seldom, if ever, hear that voice of inspiration, because “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  (1Cor.2:14) — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, October 1979, p. 28; DGSM:33

Sometimes ideas flood our mind as we listen after our prayers.  Sometimes feelings press upon us.  A spirit of calmness assures us that all will be well.  But always, if we have been honest and earnest [in our prayers] we will experience a good feeling – a feeling of warmth for our Father in Heaven and a sense of his love for us. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, October,1981, p. 5; DGSM:34

We . . . accept without any question the doctrines we have been taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith and by the Son of God himself, that we pray to God, the Eternal Father, in the name of his only begotten Son, to whom also our father Adam and his posterity have prayed from the beginning. — President Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, October, 1916, p. 6

When you approach the throne of grace and petition the Father, in the name of the Savior who has redeemed the world, do you use the name as the name of a stranger?  If you understand your own religion, you petition that Personage as you would one of your brethren in the flesh.  Is this strange to you?  It should bring near to you things that pertain to eternity, give your reflections and views a more exalted cast, stamp your daily actions with truth and honesty, and cause you to be, filled with the Spirit and power of God. — President Brigham Young quoted by John A. Widtsoe in the Tabernacle, October 6, 1859; Journal of Discourses, 7:274-75

When we go to worship in a temple or a church, we put aside our working clothes and dress ourselves in something better.  This change of clothing is a mark of respect. Similarly, when we address our Heavenly Father, we should put aside our working words and clothe our prayers in special language of reverence and respect.  In offering prayers in the English language, members of our church do not address our Heavenly Father with the same words we use in speaking to a fellow worker, to an employee or employer, or to a merchant in the marketplace.  We use special words that have been sanctified by use in inspired communications, words that have been recommended to us and modeled for us by those we sustain as prophets and inspired teachers. . . .

Modern English has no special verbs or pronouns that are intimate, familiar, or honorific.  When we address prayers to our Heavenly Father in English, our only available alternatives are the common words of speech like you and your or the dignified but uncommon words like thee, thou, and thy that were used in the King James version of the Bible almost five hundred years ago.  Latter-day Saints, of course, prefer the latter.  In our prayers we use language that is dignified and different, even archaic. . . .

 . . . . In our day the English words thee, thou, thy, and thine are suitable for the language of prayer. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Conference Report, April 1993, pp. 17,19

I think, my brethren, that in the quorums and in the classes, you would do well, as in the homes also, to teach the language of prayer “Thee and Thou,” rather than “you.”  It always seems disappointing to me to have our Father in Heaven, our Lord, addressed as “you.”  It is surprising how much we see of this in the mission field among the young men who come to serve there.  I think you might make note of it, and avail yourselves of any opportunities that may come in order to teach the sacred and reverential language of prayer. — Elder Stephen L. Richards, Conference Report, October 1951, p. 175

[I]t is good to use the sacred pronouns of the scriptures – thee, thou, thy, and thine – when addressing Deity in prayer, instead of the more common pronouns you, your, and yours.  By doing so, we show greater respect to our Heavenly Father. — Elder L. Tom Perry, Conference Report, April 1993, p. 112

We do not give memorized, ritualistic, or repetitious prayers.  We seek the guidance of the Spirit and suit every prayer to the needs of the moment, with no thought of using the same words on successive occasions. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Conference Report, April 1984, p. 44

The Church urges that there be family prayer every night and every morning.  It is a kneeling prayer with all or as many members of the family present as possible. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Prayer,” New Era, March 1978, p. 15

In the spirit of helpfulness let me give you a key.  When in doubt go on your knees in humility with an open mind and a pure heart with a real desire to do the Lord’s will, and pray earnestly and sincerely for divine guidance.  Persist in praying in this way until you get an answer that fills your bosom with joy and satisfaction.  It will be God’s answer. — Elder Joseph F. Merrill, Conference Report, April 1941, pp. 50-51

It was a prayer, a very special prayer, which opened this whole dispensation.  It began with a young man’s first vocal prayer.  I hope that not too many of our prayers are silent, even though when we cannot pray vocally, it is good to offer a silent prayer in our hearts and in our minds. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1979, p. 4

So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt.  It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty.  It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally. . . .

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join.  No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join.  (Joseph receives a visitation of the Father and the Son, spring of 1820) — Joseph Smith, JS-H 1:14,18

In consequence of these things, I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when, on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.  (Joseph relates the angel Moroni’s visit to him, Sept. 21, 1823, JS-H 1:29)

Sins are not forgiven solely through prayer but following appropriate repentance.  As stated by Francis M. Lyman:

“The forgiveness of sins is predicated upon faith in God, repentance and reformation and baptism.  Sins are not forgiven through the payment of tithing, nor through the partaking of the sacrament, nor observing the Word of Wisdom, or prayer.  There are blessings attached to each of these important requirements of the Gospel; but if a man would have his sins forgiven, and be allowed to enter into the Church, he must have faith in God, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, he must repent of all his sins, turn unto the Lord with full purpose of heart and sin no more.  Then God will forgive him and redeem him from his sins; but not by paying tithing. . . . But we want our names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and it is not done by the observance of any one principle alone, but to every principle there are special blessings promised.” — Elder Francis M. Lyman, Conference Report, October 1899, p. 34

We would say to the brethren, seek to know God in your closets, call upon him in the fields. Follow the directions of the Book of Mormon, and pray over, and for your families, your cattle, your flocks, your herds, your corn, and all things that you possess; ask the blessing of God upon all your labors, and everything that you engage in. — Joseph Smith, quoted by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, Times and Seasons, June 1842; HC5:31; TPJS:247

If faithful, we have a right to claim the blessings of the Lord upon the labor of our hands, our temporal labors.  The farmer has a right to ask the Lord for blessings upon his farm, upon the labor that he bestows upon it.  He has a right to claim the blessings of the Lord upon the animals that are necessary to the cultivation of his farm.  He has a right to ask God to bless the grain that he sows and the seeds of the fruit that he plants in the soil. It is his privilege, not only to ask and claim these blessings at the hand of the Lord, but it is his right and privilege to receive blessings from God upon his labor, upon his farm, and upon all that he puts his hand unto in righteousness.  It is our privilege to ask God to remove the curse from the earth, and to make it fruitful.  If we will live so that we shall be entitled to his favor, and so that we may justly and righteously claim the blessings and gifts that he has promised unto his Saints, then that which we ask will be given, and we shall receive and enjoy them more abundantly. It is our privilege to ask God to bless the elements that surround us and to temper them for our good, and we know he will hear and answer the prayers of his people, according to their faith. — Elder Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, April 1898, pp. 9-10

If there should come a problem as to what kind of business a man should be engaged in, whether he should invest in this matter or that, whether he should marry this girl or marry that girl, where he should marry, and how he should marry, when it comes to the prosecuting of the work to which we are assigned, how much more certainly would those decisions be made, if always we recalled that all we do, and the decisions we make, should be made with that eternal goal in mind, with an eye single to the ultimate glory of man in the celestial world.

If all our selfish motives, then, and all our personal desires, and expediency, would be subordinated to a desire to know the will of the Lord, one could have the companionship of heavenly vision.  If your problems be too great for human intelligence or too much for human strength, you too, if you are faithful and appeal rightly unto the source of divine power, might have standing by you in your hour of peril or great need an angel of God, whose you are and whom you serve.  One who lives thus worthy of a testimony that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ, and who is willing to reach out to him in constant inquiry to know if his course is approved is the one who is living life to its full abundance here, and is preparing for the celestial world, which is to live eternally with his Heavenly Father. — Elder Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1946, p. 146

All over this land there are thousands and tens of thousands of students who are struggling to get an education.  In the Church, let us teach these students that if they want to succeed in their lessons, they should seek their God; that the greatest Teacher known to the world stands near to guide them.  Once the student feels that he can approach the Lord through prayer, he will receive confidence that he can get his lessons, that he can write his speech, that he can stand up before his fellow students and deliver his message without fear of failure.  Confidence comes through sincere prayer.

. . . . It is not imagination, if we approach God sincerely seeking light and guidance from him, our minds will be enlightened and our souls thrilled by his Spirit.  Washington sought it; Lincoln received it; Joseph Smith knew it; and the testimony, the evidence of the Prophet Joseph’s inspiration is manifest to all who will but open their eyes to see and their hearts to understand. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1961, p. 8

[W]e have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. (On Sept. 30, 1978, at a general conference of the Church, President N. Eldon Tanner presented – and it was accepted by the Saints assembled as revelation – what is now known as “Official Declaration 2,” from which this excerpt is taken.)  (D&C OD 2:9-10) — President Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, September 30, 1978

If children pray for their parents, it makes them more appreciative of their parents, and as they pray for one another, they feel closer to one another and part of each other, especially as they realize that they are talking to their Father in heaven while on their knees in family or secret prayer.  Then is when we forget our differences and think of the best in others, and pray for their well-being and for strength to overcome our own weaknesses. There is no doubt that we are better people when we try to tune in to the Spirit of our Father in heaven so that we might communicate with him and express our desire to do his will as we pray for his blessings. — President N. Eldon Tanner, Conference Report, October 1967, pp. 55-56

The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. . . . If you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another. — Joseph Smith, in Relief Society meeting, at the Grove, Nauvoo, Ill., June 9, 1842; History of the Church 5:24

Parents, have you ever noticed that your children have exercised faith for you when you have been sick?  The little daughter, seeing you sick, will lift her heart with a pure, angelic-like prayer to heaven; and disease is rebuked when that kind of faith is exercised. God bless the children.  I pray that they may live and be reared up in righteousness, that God may have a people that will spread and establish one universal reign of peace, and possess the powers of the world to come. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in Bowery, July 8, 1860; Journal of Discourses 8:117; Discourses of Brigham Young :206

One of the most pleasing scenes that can transpire on earth, is, when a sin has been committed by one person against another, to forgive that sin: and then, according to the sublime and perfect pattern of the Savior, pray to our Father in heaven, to forgive also. — Joseph Smith, “A Friendly Hint to Missouri,” Times and Seasons, March 15, 1844, p. 473; TLDP:206

But even with all this, the prime element of any conversion is personal prayer.  When a person gets down on his or her knees and prays to Heavenly Father about the message that he or she has heard, that’s when conversion really starts to take place. There cannot be conversion without prayer, without recognition of a power higher than our own.  Until a person comes to the point where he or she desires to really communicate with our eternal Heavenly Father, conversion will always be elusive.  But it can be conclusive once powerful, personal prayer takes place.  In a sense, our role through all of our exposures and introductions of the Church to others through member missionaries, books, magazines, films, lessons, meetings, etc., is simply to stimulate individuals to receive personal revelation from our Heavenly Father.  Once that happens, all the rest falls into place. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Status Report on Missionary Work,” Ensign, October 1977, p. 14

I thought this morning that I would refer to the question of prayer, for it is so vital to a man and woman, no matter what position they hold, in order that they may maintain a testimony, if they have one, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and if they haven’t yet that testimony, I know of no better way in all the world to receive it than to plead with our Heavenly Father that it may be granted unto them.  I know whereof I speak, because it was only through the humiliation of my soul and the prayers ascending to my God, at the request of the mother who gave me birth, that I received a testimony that this is God’s work; and every prediction made by the servants of God in any age since it was established upon this earth, shall be fulfilled. — Elder Reed Smoot, Conference Report, October 1932, p. 85

Whoever in absolute desire to know the truth places himself in harmony with divine forces and approaches God in humble prayer, with full surrender of inherited or acquired prejudices, will learn to his complete satisfaction that there is a God in Heaven, whose loving will is operative on earth. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, “The Articles of Faith,” Improvement Era, May 1935, p. 288

Those who live the Gospel of Jesus Christ gain this higher knowledge, this greater testimony, this ultimate assurance that this is the truth.  It is the way to truth.  All the while, brethren and sisters, we must seek help from the great unseen world about us, from God and his messengers.  We call that prayer.  A man never finds perfect peace, never reaches afar unless he penetrates to some degree the unseen world, and reaches out to touch the hands, as it were, of those who live in that unseen world, the world out of which we came, the world into which we shall go. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, October 1938, p. 129

Whenever you are in doubt about any duty or work which you have to perform, never proceed to do anything until you go and labour in prayer and get the Holy Spirit. Wherever the Spirit dictates you to go or to do, that will be right; and, by following its dictates, you will come out right. — Elder Wilford Woodruff in Bowery, April 9, 1857, Journal of Discourses 5:85; TLDP:484

Brethren and sisters, let us not be deceived.  There are many agents of Satan abroad in the land and some of them may be self-deceived, not knowing that they are in the power of the evil one.  However, the spirit of the devil among this people may be detected by all honest, sincere members who keep the commandments of the Lord.  The spirit of the Lord is comforting, joy-producing, love-inspiring, help-giving.  The spirit of the devil is manifested in fault-finding, envy, selfishness, hatred, deceit, dishonesty, and produces misery, sin and crime. . . .

In the spirit of helpfulness let me give you a key.  When in doubt go on your knees in humility with an open mind and a pure heart with a real desire to do the Lord’s will, and pray earnestly and sincerely for divine guidance.  Persist in praying in this way until you get an answer that fills your bosom with joy and satisfaction.  It will be God’s answer.  If obedient to this answer you will always act as the President indicates.  You will then be safe. — Elder Joseph F. Merrill, Conference Report, April 1941, pp. 50-51

I know it is hard to receive chastisement, for no chastisement is joyous, but grievous at the time it is given; but if a person will receive chastisement and pray for the Holy Spirit to rest upon him, that he may have the Spirit of truth in his heart, and cleave to that which is pleasing to the Lord, the Lord will give him grace to bear the chastisement, and he will submit to and receive it, knowing that it is for his good. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in Bowery, October 6, 1855; Journal of Discourses 3:47; Discourses of Brigham Young, 227

I rejoice in afflictions, for they are necessary to humble and prove us, that we may comprehend ourselves, become acquainted with our weakness and infirmities; and I rejoice when I triumph over them, because God answers my prayers, therefore I feel to rejoice all the day long. — Elder John Taylor, in Tabernacle, report on mission to Europe, August 22, 1852; Journal of Discourses 1:17; TLDP:5

If we draw near to him, he will draw near to us; if we seek him early, we shall find him; if we apply our minds faithfully and diligently day by day, to know and understand the mind and will of God, it is as easy as, yes, I will say easier than it is to know the minds of each other, for to know and understand ourselves and our own being is to know and understand God and his being. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in Tabernacle, April 17, 1870; Journal of Discourses 13:312)

The minute a man stops supplicating God for his spirit and direction, just so soon he starts out to become a stranger to him and his works.  When men stop praying for God’s spirit, they place confidence in their own unaided reason, and they gradually lose the spirit of God, just the same as near and dear friends, by never writing to or visiting with each other, will become strangers. — President Heber J. Grant, “Some Sentence Sermons,” Improvement Era, August 1944, p. 481; TLDP:481

He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh. — Joseph Smith, Revelation relative to the gifts of the spirit, March 8, 1831; D&C 46:30

Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation, and ye receive the Spirit through prayer; wherefore, without this there remaineth condemnation. — Joseph Smith, Revelation at Kirtland, Ohio, August 1831; D&C 63:64

Pray by the power of the Holy Ghost.  This is the supreme and ultimate achievement in prayer.  The promise is:  “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the power of faith” (D&C 42:14), “and if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done (D&C 50:29).  Of the coming millennial era, when prayers shall be perfected, the scripture says:  “And in that day whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him” (D&C 101:27). — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Why the Lord Ordained Prayer,” Ensign, January 1976, p. 11

It is all-important that we should possess that Spirit, whether we preach or sing or pray.  Prayers unprompted by it do not ascend to Heaven; sermons uninspired by it fail to touch the heart of the hearer; and the songs that are sung in our worshiping assemblies, if not in tune with it, are but discords in the ear of Deity. — Elder Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1931, p. 61

The Lord has said, go into the waters of baptism and be baptized for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive a witness that I am telling you the truth.  How? . . . by the Spirit that shall come unto you through obedience, which will make you feel like little children, and cause you to delight in doing good, to love your Father in Heaven and the society of the righteous. . . . You will feel a glow, as of fire, burning within you; and if you open your mouths to talk you will declare ideas which you did not formerly think of; they will flow into your mind, even such as you have not thought of for years. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in Tabernacle, February 17, 1856; Journal of Discourses 3:211; Discourses of Brigham Young, 331

Pray in your homes morning and evening.  Pray for civil magistrates and leaders even when you do not agree with them.  Pray for the leaders of the Church.  Pray, as you have been counseled, that the doors of nations of the world will be opened to the preaching of the gospel. — Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1978, p. 48

Prayer is practiced in the Kingdom of God.  Part of our prayers should be devoted to our leaders:  they have great responsibilities.  Oh, so many of the people do not realize the responsibilities that fall upon the President and his Counselors these days.  It has been so from the beginning and as long as there is life it will continue to be so.  Let us pray for our leaders at all times instead of criticizing them, pray that they may be given courage to continue with unflagging zeal from year to year; pray for the power of God to be upon them. — Elder Reed Smoot, Conference Report, October 1940, p. 21

We ought to pray for these people, for those that are in authority, that they may be led in the right way, that they may be preserved from evil, that they may administer the government in righteousness, and that they may pursue a course that will receive the approbation of heaven.  Well, what else?  Then we ought to pray for ourselves that when any plans or contrivances or opposition to the law of God, to the church and kingdom of God, or to his people, are introduced, and whenever we are sought to be made the victims of tyranny and oppression, that the hand of God may be over us and over them to paralyze their acts and protect us. — Elder John Taylor, in Assembly Hall, January 4, 1880; Journal of Discourses 21:68

Say your prayers always before going to work.  Never forget that.  A father – the head of the family – should never miss calling his family together and dedicating himself and them to the Lord of Hosts, asking the guidance and direction of his Holy Spirit to lead them through the day – that very day.  Lead us this day, guide us this day, preserve us this day, save us from sinning against thee or any being in heaven or on earth this day.  If we do this every day, the last day we live we will be prepared to enjoy a higher glory. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in new Tabernacle, August 9, 1868; Journal of Discourses 12:261

Message from the First Presidency:

            It is a small matter to devote and dedicate ourselves and all we have to the cause of truth, and the building up of the kingdom of God upon the earth, but it is of importance to rightly apply ourselves and our means where we may do the most good.  It is important that we be obedient and passive in the hands of the servants of God, and when we have embraced the truth, and placed ourselves with all we have upon the altar, to so remain, regardless alike of friend or foe, sunshine or shade, peace or plenty, of war, famine, and pestilence. (Thirteenth General Epistle of the First Presidency) — President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Jedediah M. Grant, Deseret News, October 29, 1855; TLDP:433-44

Observe that great commandment given of the Master, always to remember the Lord, to pray in the morning, and in the evening, and always remember to thank him for blessings that you receive day by day. . . . It is the commandment of the Lord that we shall remember God morning and evening, and as the Book of Mormon tells us, “at all times.” We should carry with us the spirit of prayer throughout every duty that we have to perform in life.  Why should we?  One of the simple reasons that appeals to my mind with great force is that man is so utterly dependent upon God. — President Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, October 1914, p. 6

No prayer is unheard.  The place and time of prayer are of less importance. Morning, noon and night, prayer is always fitting.  However, it is well to be orderly, and to beget habits of prayer, and certain hours of the day should therefore be set aside for prayer, both in private and in the family. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, A Rational Theology, pp. 76-77

To this day, my conscience won’t let me go to bed at night or leave my room in the morning without saying my prayers on my knees, if I am where I can get on my knees.  If I am where I can’t get on my knees, I say them as I lie in my bed. — President Marion G. Romney speaking in the 52nd Primary conference, April 1958

“Pray always.” (See 2 Nephi 32:9.)  So it is written meaning: Pray regularly, consistently, day in and day out; and also, live with the spirit of prayer always in your heart, so that your thoughts, words, and acts are always such as will please Him who is Eternal.  Amulek speaks of praying “both morning, mid-day, and evening,” and says we should pour out our souls to the Lord in our closets, in our secret places, and in the wilderness.  (See Alma 34:17-29.)  Jesus commanded both personal and family prayer: “Watch and pray always,” he said: and also, “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” (3Ne.18:15,21) — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Why the Lord Ordained Prayer,” Ensign, January 1976, p. 11

How impressive are those few simple words in regard to prayer (D&C 19:28, 38). They enter into a man’s life and comprehend his whole existence, at least from the years of his accountability until he passes into the grave.  He must pray under all circumstances. Prayer is not reserved for the Sabbath day or for any particular occasion.  It is not only to be used at the general conferences of the Church, but the spirit of prayer must be in our hearts unceasingly.  We must pray in our families; we must pray in secret; we must pray in our hearts. The spirit of prayer must be with us when we retire at night and when we arise in the morning.  It must be upon us when we leave our homes for our daily employment; in the office; in the shop; in the field; in the mountains or in the valleys; or wherever we are.  We are told . . . that if that spirit is upon us the Lord will bless us, and the blessings which will come in answer to prayer will be of more importance to us than treasures of the earth. — Elder Rudger Clawson, Conference Report, April 1904, pp. 42-43

I do not know any other way for the Latter-day Saints than for every breath to be virtually a prayer for God to guide and direct his people, and that he will never suffer us to possess anything that will be an injury to us.  I am satisfied that this should be the feeling of every Latter-day Saint in the world.  If you are making a bargain, if you are talking in the house, visiting in the social party, going forth in the dance, every breath should virtually be a prayer that God will preserve us from sin and from the effects of sin. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in Tabernacle, Ogden, Utah, June 11, 1864; Journal of Discourses 10:313

We should call upon the Lord in mighty prayer, and make all our wants known unto Him.  For if He does not protect and deliver us and save us, no other power will.  Therefore our trust is entirely in Him.  Therefore our prayers should ascend into the ears of our Heavenly Father day and night. — Elder Wilford Woodruff, “An Epistle from the President of the Twelve Apostles,” Millennial Star, December 1886, p. 806

You should enter your secret closets, and call upon the name of the Lord.  Many of you have learned how to pray; then fail not to let your prayers ascend up into the ears of the God of Sabaoth; and He will hear you. I think sometimes that we do not fully comprehend the power that we have with God in knowing how to approach Him acceptably.  All that these men holding the Priesthood, and all that our sisters need do, is to live near to God, and call upon Him, pouring out their soul’s desires in behalf of Israel, and their power will be felt, and their confidence in God will be strengthened. — Elder Wilford Woodruff, at Nephi, Utah, January 27, 1883; Journal of Discourses, 24:55

The Prophet Joseph Smith told President John Taylor that if he would pray earnestly every day of his life, he would never apostatize from the Church.  I say also to all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that if they will attend to their prayers, make the hearthstone of the home an altar for prayer, where the words from sincere hearts appeal to our father in Heaven, pray honestly, morning and evening, with the family and in secret; I promise them that they will never apostatize from this Church. . . .I know that God will bless His people if they will attend to their prayers honestly and sincerely.  Prayer is a duty.  Why?  Because God says that He desires His people to pray. And far greater than a duty, prayer is a privilege to every Latter-day Saint, and that privilege should be exercised by every member of the Church.  No matter whether it be child, man, or woman, we should value our souls; and, as we value our soul’s eternal happiness, as we value the salvation of mankind, the fulfillment of the decrees of God, the extension of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the eradication of all vices in our midst, as we value the great principles of temperance, virtue, truth, and charity, so let us pray.  Let us pray early and late, and let the prayer not only be by the lips but from the heart.  Let us pray in secret and in public. — Elder Reed Smoot, Conference Report, October 1908, p. 78

One of the requirements made of the Latter-day Saints is that they shall be faithful in attending to their prayers, both their secret and family prayers. The object that our Heavenly Father has in requiring this is that we may be in communication with Him, and that we may have a channel open between us and the heavens whereby we can bring down upon ourselves blessings from above. — President Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, April 1944, p. 11

It matters not whether you or I feel like praying, when the time comes to pray, pray.  If we do not feel like it, we should pray till we do.  And if there is a heavy storm coming on and our hay is likely to be wet, let it come.  You will find that those who wait till the Spirit bids them pray, will never pray much on this earth. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in Tabernacle, November 1869; Journal of Discourses, 13:155

The Lord says, I will be sought unto by my people for the blessings that they need. And instead of our classing prayer among the duties devolving upon us as Latter-day Saints, we should live so as to deem it one of the greatest privileges accorded to us; for were it not for the efficacy of prayer what would have become of us both as a people and as individuals? — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in Richfield, Utah, April 22, 1877; Journal of Discourses 19:222)

If the Devil says you cannot pray when you are angry, tell him it is none of his business, and pray until that species of insanity is dispelled and serenity is restored to the mind. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe in Tabernacle, May 24, 1863;             Journal of Discourses 10:175)

When we neglect any one of these duties, the enemy says, “I have made so much ground.”  If the Devil can induce an Elder to drink a little, he is not satisfied with this triumph, but says to him, “Your wife and children know it, don’t pray tonight.”  The Elder says to his family, “I feel tired tonight, we won’t have prayers.”  The enemy says, “I have gained another point.”  You indulge still further, and you will find other excuses.  Your head is not right, your heart is not right, your conscience is not right, and you retire again without praying.  By and by, you begin to doubt something the Lord has revealed to us, and it is not long before such a one is led away captive of the Devil. — President Brigham Young, quoted by John A. Widtsoe At Logan, Utah, August 15, 1876; Journal of Discourses 18:216

Dramatic and miraculous answers to prayer may come, but they are the exceptions. Even at the highest levels of responsibility in this kingdom of God, which is being built up upon the earth, the voice is still small.

In the Bible we read of the account of an earlier prophet who was rejected and discouraged.  The word of the Lord came to Elijah when the children of Israel had forsaken their covenant, and thrown down altars and slain prophets.  He was told to “go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.  And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kgs. 19:11-12)

My testimony is that the Lord is speaking to you!  But with the deafening decibels of today’s environment, all too often we fail to hear him. — Elder Graham Doxey, General Conference, October 1991

President Marion G. Romney, quoting the prophet Enos, said, “While I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind.”  (Enos:10)  Enos then related what the Lord put into his mind.

“This,” President Romney said, “is a very common means of revelation.  It comes into one’s mind in words and sentences.  With this medium of revelation I am personally well acquainted.” — President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report., April 1964, p. 124

If I ask Him to give me wisdom concerning any requirement in life, or in regard to my own course, or that of my friends, my family, my children, or those that I preside over, and get no answer from Him, and then do the very best that my judgment will teach me, He is bound to own and honor that transaction, and He will do so to all intents and purposes. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], p. 46

Do not get so angry that you cannot pray; do not allow yourselves to become so angry that you cannot feed an enemy – even your worst enemy, if an opportunity should present itself.  There is a wicked anger – and there is a righteous anger.  The Lord does not suffer wicked anger to be in his heart. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 5:228-29

Let every man and every woman call upon the name of the Lord, and that, too, from a pure heart, while they are at work as well as in their closet; while they are in public as well as while they are in private, asking the Father in the name of Jesus, to bless them, and to preserve and guide in, and to teach them, the way of life and salvation and to enable them so to live that they will obtain this eternal salvation we are after. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 15:63

As we face the temptations of time, the confusion of choice, the embarrassment of error, the pursuit of perfection, our Heavenly Father is there to listen, to love, to inspire.  Our Father, to whom we earnestly pray, is not an ethereal substance or a mysterious and incomprehensible being.  Rather, He has eyes with which to view our actions, lips with which to speak to us, ears to hear our pleas, and a heart to understand our love. 

In our petition, we must remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. 

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire.  It is our compass to guide our lives.  Prayer provides power – spiritual power.  Prayer provides peace – spiritual peace. — President Thomas S. Monson, “A Quest for Eternal Life,” BYU-Hawaii Jubilee Celebration, October 21, 2005

The inhabitants of the earth do not realize the effect and benefit of prayer.  The Lord hears and answers the prayers of men, women and children.  Prayer has more power, a great deal, to bring down the blessings of God, than almost any other thing. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, p. 110

If we can get our young people to have . . . faith and so to approach their God in secret, there are . . . great blessings that will come to them here and now.  The first is gratitude – gratitude for blessings before unrealized.  Their souls will be filled with thanksgiving for what God has done for them.  They will find themselves rich in favors bestowed.

The young man who closes the door behind him, who draws the curtains, and there in silence prepares to plead with God for help, should first pour out his soul in gratitude for health, for friends, for loved ones, for the gospel, for the manifestations of God’s existence, as seen in the rocks and the trees and the stones and the flowers, and all things about him. He should first count his many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise him what the Lord has done.  [See “Count Your Blessings,” Hymns, no. 241] Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, p. 77