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The Book of Mormon on Prayer


The Book of Mormon on Prayer

Prayer is the act of communicating with God. Bible verses command all people to pray, and how God wants us to pray. You can also learn about prayer in the Book of Mormon, a book of scripture similar to the Bible written by people who lived in the ancient Americas. 

Why should you pray?

The scriptures are full of instances where God and His prophets have commanded all people to “call upon [God’s] holy name” (Alma 34:17). When we pray to God, He blesses us.

  • Pray for God’s help. One of God’s commandments is to pray to Him. He is your Father (see 3 Nephi 18:20-21) who wants to hear from you and can help you in every aspect of your life. He can do this when you come to Him in prayer and seek His help.
  • Pray to avoid temptation. Prayer also is a protection for us. After His death and Resurrection, Jesus appeared to a group of people in the Americas and told them, “Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led captive by him” (3 Nephi 18:15). Prayer can help us to avoid or overcome difficulties, negative influences—even addictions.

How can you pray?

You can find examples of prayers throughout the scriptures. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon tell of faithful people from whom you can learn important lessons about prayer.

  • Pray in faith. When you pray, you can ask God for help and expect that He will respond. This expectation or belief that God will answer your prayer is called faith. Demonstrating faith while you pray shows Heavenly Father that you believe He has the power to answer and to grant your righteous desires. “Do you not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you” (1 Nephi 15:11).     
  • Pray with “real intent.” The Book of Mormon often urges readers to pray with real intent. This means you are willing to put in effort toward getting answers to your prayers—you are not simply going through the motions. It also means that you are willing to act on the answers that God gives you. The prophet Moroni taught, “If ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth . . . unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4).
  • Pray while fasting. Occasionally, you may want to accompany your prayer with fasting—voluntarily going without food or water for a certain period of time. Fasting shows God that you’re humble, and it can help bring focus to your prayers. The Book of Mormon teaches of a group of missionaries who “had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting” and as a result were given great spiritual rewards (see Alma 17:3). Fasting can enhance your prayers and help you find answers that you’re looking for (see Alma 5:46) and receive blessings you seek. 

When and where should you pray?

Is there a right time to pray? A right or a wrong place to pray? The Book of Mormon teaches that you can always speak with God, anytime, anywhere.

  • Pray often. God, your loving Heavenly Father, has asked that you pray always. “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 37:37). Just as earthly parents want to hear often from their children, your Heavenly Father wants to hear from you, to know how you’re doing and what He can do to help you.
  • Pray in public and pray privately. The Book of Mormon describes a group of people who “did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of souls” (Moroni 6:5). When we pray with others at church, over meals, and as a family, all who participate can benefit. We are also blessed when we pray individually. In the Bible, Jesus counseled His followers on prayer during His Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 6). Jesus also taught about prayer when He visited people in the ancient Americas: “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to the Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (3 Nephi 13:6).

What should you pray for?

You can pray about anything. Your Heavenly Father wants to hear about your life, your family and friends, and the desires of your heart. He wants to help and bless you.

  • Thank God. God provides for you and watches over you continually. Don’t forget to “live in thanksgiving daily” (Alma 34:38) and show your gratitude for everything God has given you. You enjoy hearing words of appreciation; God does, too.
  • Express your righteous desires. Tell God specific ways you need His help. Tell Him the deepest desires of your heart. Jesus taught, “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” (3 Nephi 18:20).

Pray for others. You should offer prayers “for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those around you” (Alma 34:27). When you’re concerned about people you love, reach out to God for help. In the Book of Mormon, a young man named Alma rebelled against his parents and their beliefs. He and his friends caused much harm, stirring up their community and provoking complaints. Thanks to the prayers of his parents and others, the Lord intervened—in a miraculous way—and Alma became a man of great faith and influence (see Mosiah 27). 

What blessings come when you pray?

The Lord cares about you, and He answers prayers with both direct and indirect blessings.

  • Answered prayers. God hears the prayers of the faithful (see 2 Nephi 26:15). Sometimes your prayer might not be answered exactly in the way you wish or in the time you hoped for, but you can trust that God hears you and will respond according to His wisdom.

Be filled with God’s love. Praying also brings an additional blessing: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with his love” (Moroni 7:48). Prayer can help us to feel love for ourselves and for all of God’s children.

Prayer is a real and effective way to communicate with your Father in Heaven. As you learn to pray, you can feel peace and you can find yourself blessed with the righteous desires of your heart.

Ask real people about their experiences with prayer. Chat now. 

Read the verses noted above and discover other scriptures about prayer.

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