In the LDS church, we believe that anyone can pray, at any time, and that God will hear and answer every sincere prayer. Our basic belief about prayers is this:
We are all children of God. He loves us and knows our needs, and He wants us to communicate with Him through prayer. We should pray to Him and no one else. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded, “Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name” (3 Nephi 18:19). As we make a habit of approaching God in prayer, we will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Our desires will become more like His. We will be able to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that He is ready to give if we will but ask in faith.
For me, prayer is a deeply personal event. Even so, it is sometimes shared with family, friends, or even strangers. The unifying factor that lets this personal experience be so readily shared is our universal nature as sons and daughters of God on the earth. We are all here together, and we can all pray to our Heavenly Father any time we want or need to.
Mormons pray very simply. We don’t memorize prayers, and we generally say what comes to our heart. We address our Father in Heaven, thank Him for specific blessings he has given us, ask for things we need, and close in the name of His Son. I believe that God will hear any prayer, no matter what is said, if it is done in humility, searching for God’s help and presence.
There are times when we don’t feel like praying. The fact is, these are the times when we need to pray the most. When we’re down, disappointed, discourage or in dispair, prayer can lift is back to an understand and clear view of our lives. When we’re worried about others, prayer can help ease our own burnden, and can bring about miracles in lives beyond our own.
Recently on LDS.org there was an article featured by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS church. In his profession, he was a commercial pilot, and in his article he relates a story of how he used to feel when he broke through dark storm clouds and into the sun that shone above. He relates:
Prayer is a heavenly gift designed to help us achieve spiritual lift. It enhances and cultivates our relationship with God. Isn’t it remarkable that we can converse with the supreme Source of wisdom and compassion in the universe at any time of our choosing, in any place?
Daily simple, sincere, and mighty prayers lift our lives to a higher spiritual altitude. In our prayers we praise God, give thanks to Him, confess weaknesses, petition needs, and express deep devotion to our Heavenly Father. As we make this spiritual effort in the name of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, we are endowed with increased inspiration, revelation, and righteousness, which bring the brightness of heaven into our lives.
I think back on my days as a pilot and those times when thick clouds and threatening thunderstorms made all appear dark and gloomy. In spite of how bleak things looked from my earthly vantage point, I knew that above the clouds the sun beamed brightly like a dazzling jewel in an ocean of blue skies. I did not have faith that such was the case—I knew it. I knew it because I had experienced it for myself. I did not need to rely on other people’s theories or beliefs. I knew.
And I know something else. Although it was a breathtaking experience to break through the clouds and fly to the bright blue horizon, that is nothing compared to the wonders of what we all can experience as we lift up our hearts in humble and earnest prayer.
Prayer helps us transcend the stormy times. It gives us a glimpse of that blue sky that we cannot see from our earthly vantage point, and it reveals to us another vista—a glorious spiritual horizon filled with hope and the assurance of the bright blessings the Lord has promised to those who love and follow Him.
I know that God lives, and that he sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us, so that we would not have to go through this life alone. We can always turn to God in prayer for answers and help. We can receive divine guidance, inspiration, and answers, if we will have faith.