- Simply saying prayers is quite a different thing from engaging in meaningful prayer. I expect that all of us already know that prayer is essential for our spiritual development and protection. But what we know is not always reflected in what we do. And even though we recognize the importance of prayer, all of us can improve the consistency and efficacy of our personal and family prayers.
Ask in Faith and Act
- The classic example of asking in faith is Joseph Smith and the First Vision. Joseph’s questions focused not just on what he needed to know but also on what was to be done! His prayer was not simply, “Which church is right?” His question was, “Which church should I join?” Joseph went to the grove to ask in faith, and he was determined to act.
- Action alone is not faith in the Savior, but acting in accordance with correct principles is a central component of faith.
- Understanding that faith is a principle of action and of power inspires us to exercise our moral agency in compliance with gospel truth, invites the redeeming and strengthening powers of the Savior’s Atonement into our lives, and enlarges the power within us whereby we are agents unto ourselves.
- Asking in faith requires honesty, effort, commitment, and persistence.
Elder Bednar shares that a great example of asking in faith can be found in missionary work. He discusses that we as members are the find people for the missionaries to teach and this should be a process of asking the Lord to help prepare someone to accept the gospel and for us to not be afraid to seek those people out that the Lord is preparing.
After the Trial of Our Faith
Elder Bednar shares an experience of a young boy becoming ill while on vacation with his family in a foreign country. As the parents prayed for their son to feel better, it was not until the Mother and Son put their trust in the power of a priesthood blessing that the son was able to feel better and return to their journey. This mother and son determined that prayer was not enough. They needed to place their trust in God and see a more meaningful prayer through a blessing of the priesthood for their prayers to be answered.
Not My Will, but Thine, Be Done
Elder Bednar shares an experience of a young father who was not active in the church for many years. As his young daughter became ill, their prayers turned from asking for healing to asking that the will of God be made and that they will understand the will of God. They pleaded for one last time to see their daughter's eyes open and were granted this tender mercy from God right before she passed to the next life.
- Discerning and accepting the will of God in our lives are fundamental elements of asking in faith in meaningful prayer. However, simply saying the words “Thy will be done” is not enough. Each of us needs God’s help in surrendering our will to Him.
In summary, Elder Bednar shares these words:
- The object of our prayers should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing. Every sincere prayer is heard and answered by our Heavenly Father, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate. Prayer is a privilege and the soul’s sincere desire. We can move beyond routine and “checklist” prayers and engage in meaningful prayer as we appropriately ask in faith and act, as we patiently persevere through the trial of our faith, and as we humbly acknowledge and accept “not my will, but Thine, be done.”
Seeking to have better communication with our Heavenly Father should be a goal of ours. Elder Bednar shares at the beginning of his talk that "all of us can improve the consistency and efficacy of our personal and family prayers." How wise to know that all of us can do a better job with our personal and family prayer. I know that I sometime have prayer and lack the meaningful part that is being described here. I am going to try to spend a little more time making my prayers more meaningful and less of a checklist of things that I need to say. I hope as I change this in myself, I will find better understanding of how my life and be more in tune with what God needs to be to do.