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The Power of Prayer

How can you tap into the power of prayer? Prayer is a way for you to talk to God, to ask Him for comfort, for help, for forgiveness.

You don’t have to be someone important, educated, or even called by God to experience the power of prayer. As your Heavenly Father, God loves you and wants what is best for you. Reach out to Him in prayer. Ask for His help and guidance. You may find that He answers in unexpected ways—but He will answer. And you may even find His miracles, big and small.

What is prayer?

Prayer is the way we communicate with God. It is a personal, spiritual exchange—a conversation. Your prayer does not need to be memorized or overly formal—you can pray from your heart, like you would talk to a good friend. And whether you pray out loud or silently in your heart, God will hear your prayer.

Why should you pray?

Pray for comfort

Prayer can be a powerful tool when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or even a little lost. Prayer is how you reach out to God and invite Him into your life. He, in turn, will reach out to you, comforting you with His peace. Ironically, when you’re feeling your worst, you may feel like praying the least. But at these times it can be especially important to pray. As the prophet Nephi teaches, “Ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray” (2 Nephi 32:8). As you come to Him, the Lord can comfort you as He did the people of Alma in the Book of Mormon: “And Alma and his people . . . did pour out their hearts to [God]; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort” (Mosiah 24:12–13).

Pray for help and protection

Every person needs God’s help sometimes. Perhaps you are dealing with a dire family situation, a sickness, or a question of the soul. Maybe you simply need help with a big test at school or a project at work. When you are worried or afraid, go to God in prayer. He is there. The Lord has said, “I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10). You can also pray for both physical and spiritual protection. Your Heavenly Father will watch over you and keep you safe; simply ask Him to. Prayer can also help strengthen you “that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).

Pray for forgiveness

Every person will make mistakes and also sin. Learning from these experiences is part of God’s plan for you. But God also desires that you overcome the sorrow that comes with sin. Through Jesus Christ, you can be forgiven of anything and everything you’ve ever done wrong. This takes repentance, and repentance takes prayer. “Exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you; yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save” (Alma 34:17–18).

Pray in gratitude

The more you pray, the more you will recognize God’s answers and see His hand in your life. As part of your prayers, you can give thanks to God for the many blessings you have received from Him. “Offer unto God thanksgiving,” the scriptures say. God has given you everything, and in return He asks only that you follow Him willingly. Praying is part of following Him, that you may “pay thy vows unto the most High” (Psalms 50:14).

What does prayer require?

Faith

Just kneeling to pray is an act of faith. When you pray, know that you are talking to God and that He hears you. Don’t worry about “doing it right.” God wants to hear the thoughts of your heart, not a memorized prayer. “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8). God knows you. Have faith that He is listening.

Are you unsure how to begin? Learn how to pray.

Seek God’s will

The power of sincere prayer is not found in reciting a long list of things you want God to give you. Rather, it is found as you go to Heavenly Father in humility, knowing that He loves you and wants what’s best for you. Your first experiences with prayer may involve personal growth and learning—and that’s not always easy. You may feel a little unsure or out of your comfort zone. You might feel a need to change or repent. Remember that God has a perfect plan, and that plan includes a vision of who you are and what you can become. Pray to align yourself with that vision, and be humble as you seek answers that will help you understand and accept God’s will.

Learn more about divine guidance from God. 

Be ready for an answer

Just as it takes faith to kneel in prayer, it also takes faith to receive an answer. Have the faith to recognize God’s answers to your prayers, and have the faith to accept His answers, even when they might not be what you asked for or expected. In the New Testament, the Apostle James explains one reason that an answer may not come: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss” (James 4:3). Perhaps the thing you are asking for is something God knows is not best for you. Still, the Apostle John encourages all people to approach God in prayer: “This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14–15). Answers will come as you seek to know and then do God’s will.

Read more about answered prayers. 

How do answers come?

Prayer brings small answers

Prayers are usually answered in small, subtle ways. You might travel safely through a storm. You might “coincidentally” meet the right contact for a job. You might feel peace that a family problem will be resolved. God's answers come as tender mercies every day. Your responsibility is to recognize them for what they are. “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:9).

Prayer brings big miracles

Sometimes prayers are answered in big ways. The scriptures are full of examples of miraculous answers to prayer. Elijah prayed and raised a child from the dead (see 1 Kings 17:21–22). Peter and John prayed, and the walls around them shook with God’s power (see Acts 4:31). Even today people sometimes experience medical miracles or answers to problems that cannot be explained logically. God was and is a God of miracles (see Mormon 9:19). And these miracles often come as a result of prayer. Your Father in Heaven will similarly give you answers, whether big or small, for “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).

Prayer helps you align your will with God’s

God hears your every prayer, and He answers according to your faith in His power. You can trust that He hears you and that, with His eternal perspective, He will help you and bless you. As you reach out in prayer and seek to know His will, you will find the power, the peace, and the joy that He desires for you.

Find out more about prayer, learn how to pray, and discover the power of prayer in the scriptures. Request a free Bible or Book of Mormon.

Chat with a missionary about how to pray or how to recognize answers to prayers.

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