- Parents should teach their children to pray. The child learns both from what the parents do and what they say. The child who sees a mother or a father pass through the trials of life with fervent prayer to God and then hears a sincere testimony that God answered in kindness will remember what they saw and heard. When their trials come, they will be prepared. In time, when the child is away from home and family, prayer can provide the shield of protection the parent will want so much for them to have.
Over his life, President Eyring has learned many things about prayer. He mentions these as examples that can enhance the meaning in our own prayers.
- I had learned from my parents and from the Savior’s teachings that we must address our Heavenly Father in the reverent language of prayer.
- I had learned that it was important to give thanks for blessings and to ask for forgiveness.
- I had been taught that we ask for what we need and pray for others to be blessed.I had been taught and found it true that we can be warned of danger and shown early what we have done which displeased God.
- I had learned that we must always pray in the name of Jesus Christ.
Concerning why we pray in Christ's name, he talks about how we need to be familiar with Christ in our lives.
- We do not close in the name of a stranger when we approach our Father in prayer.
When we teach our children to pray, the goal is for them to gain their own relationship with God and understand for themselves the need for God to be close to their lives.
- Our goal when we teach our children to pray is for them to want God to write upon their hearts and be willing then to go and do what God asks of them. It is possible for our children to have faith enough, from what they see us do and what we teach, that they can feel at least part of what the Savior felt as He prayed to have the strength to make His infinite sacrifice for us.
The ultimate goal for us is to have our will align with God's will. When our desires align with His, we will make the right decisions and the Spirit will confirm we are on the correct path that pleases our Heavenly Father.
- I have had prayers answered. Those answers were most clear when what I wanted was silenced by an overpowering need to know what God wanted. It is then that the answer from a loving Heavenly Father can be spoken to the mind by the still, small voice and can be written on the heart.
Those that are distancing themselves from the church, look for their own way in life, all have one overwhelming desire that can help being them back to God. That desire is for forgiveness. No one can handle the burden of sin without the help of the Savior. We all need forgiveness.
- But there is one need even the hardened and proud person cannot believe they can meet for themselves. They cannot lift the weight of sin from their own shoulders. And even the most hardened may at times feel the prick of conscience and thus the need for forgiveness from God.
- Prayers are answered to those whose hearts are softened by that overwhelming feeling of the need for cleansing.
It is always good to remind our children that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father. This will help them understand their relationship to Him and their purpose in God's great plan of happiness.
- When we teach those we love that we are spirit children temporarily away from a loving Heavenly Father, we open the door of prayer to them. We lived in His presence before we came here to be tested. We knew His face, and He knew ours.
He concludes with his testimony that God answers the prayers of concerned parents for their children.
- I testify that our Heavenly Father answers the pleadings of faithful parents to know how to teach their children to pray.
This talk speaks to me today. I spent my oldest daughter to college a couple weeks ago. My prayers for her have not stopped since she left. My desire for her to make wise decisions, proper decisions to follow the things that we have taught her are great. I have pleaded with God to watch over her, inspire her to make good decisions, and asked for His guidance be given to her. I am comforted to have a knowledge that I have taught her the gospel. I have taught her to pray. I have taught her to repent. I have taught her to service others. I have taught her to listen to the guiding Spirit in her life. Now it is time for her to grow her own wings and make her own decisions. I pray that she will see the importance of having God, church, and the Savior in her life. No matter what decisions she makes, she has the assurance that her dad is at home praying for her and will always be there to help her along the path of life.