Prayer is a very personal form of communication between you and Heavenly Father. The Lord’s Prayer provided an example of how we should pray (Matt. 6:9–13). Some basic guidelines are—
Start with a salutation or greeting, like Christ did when he said, “Our Father which art in heaven.”
Let Heavenly Father know that you love him, respect him, and are grateful to him. Christ did it many times, like when he said, “Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. …”
Ask him for help with your needs. Christ’s words of “Give us this day our daily bread” show us that it’s good to ask for the Lord’s involvement in your life.
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, of course, 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 crisis, much less. If you’re at a loss for how to communicate with Heavenly Father, try praying for help with your prayers. He’ll answer.
Wait a Minute
How would you feel if a friend were to call and say, “Hi! How are you? I’m fine, except for I blew the science quiz. I thought you were going to help, but oh well. I don’t like my new haircut, but I guess it will grow out. Good talking to you. Take care. Bye!”—and then hang up?
If someone called every night, told you about their life, and never gave you a chance to respond, you might not feel that that person was truly interested in you.
Think about it. Is that the way you pray? Do you give Heavenly Father a chance to answer when you ask him something? Try devoting part of your prayer time to listening, before you jump up from your knees. You’ll be more likely to recognize the guidance he wants you to receive.
That’s Why We Pray
Prayer is like a multiple vitamin—it has all sorts of ingredients that are good for you. Just look at a partial list of the contents:
Expression: Prayer includes pouring out your true 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 should contain 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 include a wonderful opportunity for the Lord to enlighten.
Fortification: Prayer can provide you with strength to choose the right and face difficult problems.
Self-Evaluation: Prayer will help you to examine your progress, uncover your weaknesses, and turn them into strengths.
When residents of Bear Creek called for help, over 175 youth and leaders from the Dallas Texas Stake answered. They helped with the restoration and cleanup of the historic, 150-year-old area, the oldest black community in Dallas County.
The youth worked hard to help restore and preserve some of the historic homes in the area. They also prepared some of the historical buildings that will be moved nearer to a recreation center site.
The residents of Bear Creek expressed their gratitude for the “wonderful job” the LDS youth did in helping them clean up their homes and neighborhoods. They were amazed that so many could be brought together from such distant places in such a short time.
A year ago, the young women in the Mesa Sixth Ward, Mesa North Stake, were challenged to commit to a one-year, 365-day daily scripture reading program. Twelve months later, six girls completed it.
The six were JoDee Lindblom, Tammie Lindblom, Deanna Trone, Vilate Miles, Kristin Vance, and Rhonda Trone.
Jennifer Rice, of the Corona Second Ward, Corona California Stake, has a good reason to be cheerful. She has a perfect GPA, is an early-morning seminary student, has been accepted into the advanced fine arts class at her school, and is Mia Maid president in her ward.
On top of that, she is an award-winning cheer leader, sings in her stake youth chorus, and plays on the ward young women basketball team. Rah!
Kris Whitehead, a priest in the Lethbridge Fourth Ward, Lethbridge Alberta Stake, learned to use the family computer at age six and never stopped. He loves entering names in the Church Personal Ancestry File, and last year entered more than 4,500 names.
When his family drove to Utah last year, Kris opted for doing research in the Family History Library over going skiing. But he does have other interests. He’s an honors student, plays the piano, loves floor hockey, and recently received his Queen’s Venturer’s Award.
East meeting West was a big event for James Lee Gilchrist of the Norwich Branch, Ithaca New York Stake. The Scout earned a scholarship to attend a week-long junior leadership training seminar at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
The scholarship is based on academics, leadership, and Scouting achievement. James returned to share his newfound knowledge and experience with other Scouts in his council. He is the highest ranking Scout in Troop 77 and recently earned his Eagle.
Thirteen-year-old Grant Cuddy of the Stackport Ward, Cheshire England Stake, has been winning championship 1,500-meter races for the last three years now.
Lately he won the British National School Cross-Country Championships and the British National Cross-Country relays in record time.
Grant also likes football, skiing, swimming, and ice skating, when he has time. His training with the Manchester Harriers, a track team, takes up most of his after-school hours and Saturdays. Still, he and his family, which includes four brothers, put the Church first.
Mix lots of strips of newspaper, lots of young women, a well-written script, missionary-minded enthusiasm, and what have you got? The Freeport Ward, Pittsburgh East Stake’s Young Women community service project.
They used papier-mache-masked players in a program introducing the concept of family home evening to local parent/teacher groups as a free public service. It was a major project, which included handouts with family home evening ideas and brochures on marriage and communication. “It felt good teaching nonmembers gospel principles that could strengthen their families,” said one of the girls who participated. Everyone involved, both spectators and cast members, learned from the experience.
The youth Sunday School class in the Hyde Park Ward, Sydney Australia Mortdale Stake, in New South Wales, doesn’t just meet on Sunday. They have other activities. Their first was at the Audley National Park, where they were divided into teams, played games, boated, and had a “Great Australian Barbecue.”
The best part about the day was that it provided an opportunity to “get to know each other and our teacher even better, and to build closer friendships with one another,” said several class members.
It’s not unusual for Latter-day Saints to serve on their local school boards, but it is when they’re only 17 years old, which is the case of Jennifer B. Smith of the Laie Second Ward, Laie Hawaii Stake.
“At first I was intimidated by older members of the board, but that soon passed and I frequently spoke out many issues,” Jennifer says. She is also a national merit scholar, has a 4.0 GPA, sang in high school vocal groups, speaks French, and attended early-morning seminary for four years. That was the most valuable time spent of all.
“The seminary program not only has helped me to prepare for a mission, but it has helped me to talk about the Church with my nonmember friends,” she says.
“You never know until you try,” said 16 year-old Camela Lines of the Yuma Fourth Ward, Yuma Arizona Stake. With that, she entered a local speech contest and ended up winning a trip to Seattle plus a $500 scholarship.
Her speech was entitled “Our Waste, Our Challenge,” and it was about what people can do in their own homes to help the environment. “Speaking to a large group of strangers in a very formal setting is a much different experience that giving a five minute talk in sacrament meeting to friends,” Camela said, adding that she was “scared to death.”
Camela is the Sunday School chorister, vice president of the Cibola High Chapter of the National Honor Society, and the oldest child in a family of ten.