These notes come from the teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, chapter 6, How Mighty A Thing Is Prayer. All of the stories and observations are my own but feel free to take out of it what you can.
God is our Father, and He invites us to pray to Him individually.
Who is your favorite person to talk to? How often do you talk to them? (shout them out)
My favorite person to talk to is my mom, I tell her everything
What would happen if we talked to Heavenly Father as much as we talked to our favorite people?
Let’s turn to the scriptures :
Alma 13:28 – won’t be tempted beyond what you can bear
Moroni 7: 48 – we can have the love love of Christ for each other
Mark 11: 25 – a broken heart in prayer leads to forgiveness
Can I have volunteers to read the second and third paragraphs under section 1?
“Starting with: Never forget who you are….”
“Never forget who you are. … You are in very deed a child of God. … He is your Eternal Father. He loves you. You can go to Him in prayer. He has invited you to do so. … What a wonderful thing this is. He is the Greatest of All. He is the Creator and Governor of the universe. And yet He will listen to your prayer!9
We can draw nearer to the Lord in our prayers. These can become conversations of thanksgiving. I can never fully understand how the Great God of the Universe, the Almighty, invites us as His children to speak with Him individually. How precious an opportunity is this. How wonderful that it actually happens. I testify that our prayers, offered in humility and sincerity, are heard and answered. It is a miraculous thing, but it is real.”
You know, I have always felt a personal connection to Heavenly Father, mostly because when I pray I imagine myself talking to Him. I even spent a period of my life inactive from the church and I still felt a very personal connection with God. But what really stands out to me in this section is the line “He is the Creator and Governor of the universe. And yet He will listen to your prayer.”
That really struck me. It was very humbling to remember that compared to God, I am dust, I am nothing. And yet, He loves me so much that He will listen to my little prayer. To me this was a good reminder to be more thankful in my prayers for the things that He has given me becuause He has given me everything.
Does anyone want to share how prayer has helped you grow closer to Heavenly Father?
Family prayer leads to miracles for individuals, families, and society.
Who in here has siblings? When you were growing up and you were mad at your siblings did your parents make you hug them and tell them that you love them?
Well my parents did. And that simple act always defused the anger and tension in the room.
In my mind, the same effect happens during family prayer when we are thanking God for each other and our blessings. It creates a beautiful spirit in the room that reminds us how lucky we are to have the gospel and to have been sent to loving families.
Read this from the second section and emphasize the bold words:
Now I want to read you what President Hinckley says about family prayer in section 2. It starts with ….“I submit that a return to the old pattern of prayer…..”
“I submit that a return to the old pattern of prayer, family prayer in the homes of the people, is one of the basic medications that would check the dread disease that is eroding the character of our society. We could not expect a miracle in a day, but in a generation we would have a miracle. …
There is something in the very posture of kneeling that contradicts the attitudes described by Paul: “proud … heady, highminded.”
There is something in the very practice of father and mother and children kneeling together that evaporates others of those qualities he described: “disobedient to parents, … without natural affection.”
There is something in the act of addressing Deity that offsets a tendency toward blasphemy and toward becoming lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”
- Can anyone share a story about ways that your family has been blessed by family prayer?
I recently got engaged and between planning a wedding and trying to find a place to live, one of the bigger discussions that we’ve had is the type of family we want to have. After we told the bishop, he told us that it would be good practice to start praying together so that we’re in the habit of doing so. Now, we’re not always perfect at praying when we are together but we’ve made a point of praying for each other if we forgot to pray together. This has been one of the biggest blessings to pray for the man I am going to spend eternity with. I have noticed that our time together is more about problem solving than fighting, we share each other’s good news, we pay closer attention to each other’s needs and we are just overall happier.
Now can I have someone read Alma 34: 17-28
17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;
18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.
28 And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.
Prayer can offer you forgiveness
Prayer can humble you
Prayer can happen anywhere, not just kneeling in by your bed
Prayer is like a shield that defends you from your enemies including the adversary
Praying is a great way to ask for the things you need
Prayer requires a lot of effort, it can’t be repetitive and it needs to be sincere
And prayer has one caveat, you need to take care of the people around you for it to work. Prayer is not for the selfish, if you take care of each other God will take care of you.
Does anyone have anything to add?
We need to be prayerful and listen, for our prayers will be answered.
Can I have someone read the second paragraph under the third section? It starts…. “Pray to the Lord with the expectation of answers…”
“Pray to the Lord with the expectation of answers. … The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries—we place our order and hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.”
What have you learned about how Heavenly Father answers prayers?
I want to leave you with my testimony that prayer can change our lives and the lives of those around us. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers, even though I’m not a great listener, He makes sure I get the message. My favorite Gordon B. Hinckley quote is “When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.” and I believe that if we follow that advice, we will never deal with any of life’s challenges on our own.
This week I hope that you will pay closer attention to the things you share with Heavenly Father. I challenge you to share more and repeat less. And if you do that, you will feel closer to Him than ever.