Hey guys! So I recently realized that we haven’t done a Faith and Beliefs episode yet on how to PRAY, or at least, how Latter-day Saints pray. That’s like, Latter-day Saint 101 stuff! So that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Alright so let’s learn how to pray—Latter-day Saint style. There are 3 super-basic parts: The beginning, middle, and end. Or, in other words, we’re going to cover how to start a prayer, what to say in your prayer, and how to end your prayer.
Luckily, Jesus Christ gave us an example of how to start a prayer in Matthew 6. He taught, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” So the first thing you’re going to do in your prayer is address God the Father because that’s who we’re praying to. If you’ve heard Latter-day Saints pray you’ve surely heard them start out by saying, “Dear Heavenly Father,” or “Father in Heaven.” Anything to that effect is fine. You just want it to be clear who you’re talking to.
We only pray to God the Father. We do not pray to prophets or Joseph Smith or important historical figures, or even Christ Himself, because He instructs us to pray to the Father.
Once you’ve addressed God the Father, what do you say in your prayer? Say whatever you want. Whatever you feel like you should say. The Church’s website says “As we pray to our Heavenly Father, we should tell Him what we really feel in our hearts, confide in Him, ask Him for forgiveness, plead with Him, thank Him, express our love for Him.”
Most Latter-day Saints follow a fairly simple pattern when expressing their thoughts in prayer: First, they express gratitude for their blessings. Good health, safety, family, friends, things that happened during the day, maybe a little miracle or spiritual experience that happened, whatever you’re grateful for!
After expressing gratitude, most Latter-day Saints then ask God for any blessings they may need. Help with a test, a speedy recovery from an illness, strength to endure trials—again, whatever you or others may need that you feel prompted to ask for. Our prayers are not memorized or recited from a script, except for ordinance prayers, such as the prayers over the sacrament or when someone is being baptized. Those are different.
Once you’ve expressed your thoughts and feelings, once again Christ has given us clear instructions in the scriptures about how to end your prayer. My favorite reference is found in the words of Christ to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon:
“Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name; And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you. Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.”
It echoes New Testament verses like John 16:23 when Christ says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” So we end our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ. You’ll almost always hear Latter-day Saints use the phrase, “in the name of Jesus Christ, amen,” or, “in Christ’s name, amen.”
We do this because Jesus Christ, as our Savior, is also our mediator and advocate before God the Father. This principle is encapsulated nicely in what Christ said to Thomas in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Those are the basics of how Latter-day Saints pray. Now I’m going to flood you with some miscellaneous information that you might find helpful if you’re new to praying like this: There are a lot of things Latter-day Saints do when praying that is more cultural than doctrinal, and you don’t have to do it the same way.
For example, most Latter-day Saints express reverence when they pray by folding their arms or hands and bowing their heads. Kneeling on the ground isn’t a prerequisite, it’s just another sign of reverence. You do whatever you think is appropriate. When someone is praying in a group setting I know that in some faiths it’s customary to shout “Amen!” in the middle of the prayer. Latter-day Saints don’t really do that, even though frankly I think it’s kind of cool.
When praying for yourself you’ll use words like “I” and “me,” when praying for a group in a group setting it’s good to use words like “we” and “our.” You can say your own personal prayers out loud or just in your head. You can pray wherever and whenever you want as circumstances allow, though Latter-day Saints are taught that it’s important to pray every morning after you wake up, and every night before you go to bed, with as many prayers during the day as you want.
If you have any questions that I didn’t cover, let us know in the comments. And just to give you an actual example of what a Latter-day Saint prayer looks like, I’m going to say a very basic prayer to conclude this video. If you want to participate from your end you can say “Amen” after me when I end the prayer, which essentially means you agree with what I prayed for and share those same thoughts. Or you can just watch and listen for educational purposes. Alright, here we go.
Thanks, guys. Have a great day!