The Way to Pray

Have you ever felt that you just couldn’t make it through a particular challenge? Heavenly Father loves you and wants to help you solve the problems you face. He wants to show you how much he cares. But you need to communicate with him—and listen for his response.

Prayer is a very personal form of communication between you and Heavenly Father. The Lord’s Prayer gives us an example of how we should pray. (See Matt. 6:9–13.) Some basic guidelines are—

  1. 1.

    Start with a salutation or greeting, as Christ did when he said, “Our Father which art in heaven.”

  2. 2.

    Let Heavenly Father know you love him, respect him, and are grateful to him. Christ said, “Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.”

  3. 3.

    Ask him for help with your needs. Christ’s words of “Give us this day our daily bread” show that it’s good to ask for the Lord’s involvement in your life.

  4. 4.

    Ask for forgiveness for sins, errors, and weaknesses. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

  5. 5.

    Close your prayer humbly, gratefully, and worshipfully. Christ did it by saying, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” We close our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ because his atonement made it possible for us to come before Heavenly Father in prayer.

Of course, prayers can include much more, or, in times of emergency, much less. If you’re at a loss about how to communicate with Heavenly Father, try praying for help with your prayers. He’ll answer.

Wait a Minute. Do you give Heavenly Father a chance to answer when you talk to him? Try listening before you jump up from your knees. You’ll be more likely to recognize the guidance he wants you to receive.

Here are some more ideas for effective prayer:

Sincere expression: Prayer is a time to truly pour out your heart and soul to a loving Heavenly Father, without using memorized repetitions.

Meditation: Prayer involves being quiet, pondering, and listening to the influence of the Spirit.

Worship: Prayer is a time to praise God, count blessings, and express gratitude.

Problem solving: Prayer allows you to spread your problems out before Heavenly Father and gain an eternal perspective on them.

Learning: Prayer can be a time for the Lord to enlighten you.

Fortification: Prayer can provide you with strength to choose the right and face difficult problems.

Self-evaluation: Through prayer, the Lord can help you examine your progress, uncover your weaknesses, and turn them into strengths.

[photo] Photograph by Jed Clark