When God arranged for us to come to earth to live, He also planned a way for us to stay in touch. Through prayer, we can communicate with our Heavenly Father as often as we want. God can also communicate with us, allowing us to discover truth and to make wise choices for our time on earth.
Mormon prayers begin by greeting Heavenly Father in a respectful loving way, such as “Our Father in Heaven,” or “My Beloved Father in Heaven.” Next, the person thanks God for blessings he’s received from God, helping Him to remember to notice God’s hand in his life and to express appreciation for what He’s received. Scriptural history shows that when people forget who sends their blessings, causing them to take credit for their own good fortune, the world suffers.
Next, the person asks for what he needs from God. God is not a magic wand or Santa Claus. The requests need to be carefully considered and be appropriate to ask God for. For instance, it would be inappropriate to ask for a million dollars simply because you want to be rich. On the other hand, if you were raising money to feed hungry children and all the money you raised would go to that cause, the request might be appropriate. Often members ask that their families be kept safe, that they’ll be able to recognize what God wants them to do about a specific problem, or to have the courage to face a challenge ahead.
The member then closes the prayer in the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ, who is our mediator with God, and then says Amen.
Mormons pray often. They have prayers as a family, a couple and an individual each morning and evening. They also pray before meals and before beginning a journey or outing, or a new situation that needs special care. They have prayers when they’re worried, frightened, making a choice, or celebrating something special. Prayers open and close each meeting and also open and close church-sponsored events. In addition to all these prayers, members are encouraged to talk to God throughout the day, keeping up a running dialogue as they move through their day and listening carefully for promptings from the Holy Ghost.
Mormons are taught that once they’ve prayed, they need to stay on their knees a bit longer and wait patiently for an answer. God, through the Holy Ghost, can send them advice or comfort. For this reason, they need to take the responsibility to wait for the answer, learn to recognize it, and then put it into practice.
When seeking advice, Mormons are taught to study the issue carefully and come to a conclusion. Then they turn to God to have their choice confirmed. Many report that confirmation comes from a warm or comforting feeling in the heart, sometimes a tugging or burning in the heart. An answer of no is one of confusion or even the inability to remember the original choice. They understand God doesn’t always say yes. Sometimes He says no or not yet. Seeing as he does with an eternal eye, He knows what is really best for us in the long run.
For a Mormon, prayer is the most common activity of their spiritual day. It helps them build a warm, personal relationship with God and to improve their ability to keep God’s commandments.