Be Prayerful


Thank your Heavenly Father for His goodness and express the righteous desires of your heart. He hears. He responds. He answers.

“Be prayerful. … You need His help, and you know that you need His help. You cannot do it alone.”

As President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, we “cannot do it alone.” We cannot make it through this life without the help of our Heavenly Father. We need the power of prayer in our lives.

President Hinckley spoke to youth about prayer at his youth fireside in November 2000 (see New Era, Jan. 2001, 4). Be prayerful, the last of the six B’s in the prophet’s talk, affected many young men and young women. In his talk, President Hinckley reminded us about the power of prayer and the many blessings that come from praying often.

A great gift

Prayer is a great source of wisdom and support. The guidance and strength that come from prayer help us improve virtually all aspects of our lives, including our ability to follow the counsel of the prophet. “Prayer has helped me live the other B’s,” wrote 15-year-old Clint Vickery.

Prayer not only helps us attain our goal of following the prophet, but prayer is also a great gift in other aspects of our life. Prayer is a way to contact our Heavenly Father and to increase our testimony of the gospel. Sixteen-year-old Will Hatch found that as he prayed out loud his testimony increased.

“There is power in prayer,” wrote Will. “Prayer is a direct spiritual experience between you and your Father in Heaven. There is power in vocalizing prayer. I have noticed that prayer brings you directly out of the passive gospel state to an active gospel state, which is a state when you fully participate in the gospel. That active state is a direct result of personal prayer. I believe my whole life has changed as a result of personal prayer. I want everyone to know the truth of this great and marvelous work. It is true. We can be saved if we only put forth effort. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ lives, and the Atonement is real.”

For Aaron Curley from Wallsburg, Utah, prayer became a source of comfort and inspiration after he incorporated the prophet’s counsel into his life.

“When President Hinckley gave us the talk for the youth I really did not know for myself that praying has a comforting spirit. I started to think that the only way I would know that prayer works would be by trying it out. Now I know that I have the Spirit with me during my day. On top of that I find that it is easier to resist temptation. For me it has changed my life to the point where I am going on a mission, and before I did not know if I wanted to. By living these simple things I now have a stronger testimony of Christ. I know He lives and will come again.”

Righteous desires of the heart

In his talk, President Hinckley suggested that the youth, through prayer, thank the Lord for His blessings. He also encouraged them to use prayer as a means of expressing needs and desires to the Lord. “Get on your knees and thank Him for His goodness to you and express to Him the righteous desires of your hearts.”

Richelle James from Littleton, Colorado, discovered that expressing the righteous desires of her heart through prayer brought great results.

“After I went to the fireside, I decided that I wanted to work on being more prayerful. When I was in high school sports, I was involved in diving. I started to really stress out because my grades were going down, and I would seldom see my parents because I was so busy with diving. So I prayed that I could have the Spirit with me through the diving season and that I would have time to do homework, etc. Within that week I really started to change. I became happier, less stressed, and my grades went up. I also started to do really well in diving.”

Like Richelle, Whitney Brown from Poway, California, found comfort after expressing her needs and concerns in her prayers.

“Moving was a very difficult experience for me; however, through prayer, I was able to know of my Heavenly Father’s love for me and His awareness of my situation. I felt my Father’s love as I never had before, and it made going much easier. I knew that He was always there for me to talk to.”

He answers

The prophet assured us that our Heavenly Father listens to our prayers. “The miracle of it all is that He hears, He responds. He answers—not always as we might wish He would answer, but there is no question in my mind that He answers.”

We know He will answer our prayers, but it may not always be in the way that we want. As Edgar Castro from Los Angeles, California, explains, “When people are prayerful, they’re always in contact with Heavenly Father. I started to be more prayerful, and I feel that my Father in Heaven listens to my woes, thanks, and questions. I know He does answer my prayers, one way or the other.”

Speaking with the Lord

As we incorporate President Hinckley’s Be prayerful into our lives it is important that we not only pray often, but that we pray with meaning and intent. President Hinckley advised the youth to “Live so that in good conscience you can speak with the Lord.”

If we live righteously we should always feel comfortable speaking with the Lord. Speaking with Him means more than just reciting a list of routine desires and wants. Instead we should take the time, morning and night, to have a true conversation with the Lord. After listening to President Hinckley, 17-year-old Jill Miller decided to improve her prayers.

“Ever since President Hinckley’s counsel I have made a special effort to make my prayers more meaningful,” she wrote. “I have grown much closer to my Heavenly Father. Having a good relationship with Him and feeling of His love for me has helped me in every aspect of my life. I wasn’t always doing what was right and what would make my Father in Heaven proud and happy with me. By praying more earnestly it has helped me remember my desire to be good.”

You cannot do it alone

Prayer is a gift from our Heavenly Father—a gift that will help us throughout our entire lives. We cannot make it through this life alone. By following the prophet’s counsel to be prayerful the Lord will bless us. Through His power He will give us strength to overcome the evil things of this world. For the Lord is, as President Hinckley reminded us, “The source of all wisdom and power.” And it is only through Him that we gain the answers and guidance that we need in order to return to and live with Him someday.

[photos] Photography by Jed Clark, Kelly A. Larsen, and Derek Israelsen