Sunday, July 30, 2017

President Thomas S. Monson on making prayer more effective

President Thomas S. Monson (b. August 21, 1927) was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1963. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency with Presidents Benson, Hunter, and Hinckley before becoming Church president in 2008.
"Fortify your foundation through prayer. 'Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed' (Hymns, no. 145).
"As we pray, let us really communicate with our Father in Heaven. It is easy to let our prayers become repetitious, expressing words with little or no thought behind them. When we remember that each of us is literally a spirit son or daughter of God, we will not find it difficult to approach Him in prayer. He knows us; He loves us; He wants what is best for us. Let us pray with sincerity and meaning, offering our thanks and asking for those things we feel we need.
"Let us listen for His answers, that we may recognize them when they come. As we do, we will be strengthened and blessed. We will come to know Him and His desires for our lives. By knowing Him, by trusting His will, our foundations of faith will be strengthened. If any one of us has been slow to hearken to the counsel to pray always, there is no finer hour to begin than now. William Cowper declared, 'Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.'
"Let us not neglect our family prayers. Such is an effective deterrent to sin, and thence a most beneficent provider of joy and happiness. That old saying is yet true: 'The family that prays together stays together.' By providing an example of prayer to our children, we will also be helping them to begin their own deep foundations of faith and testimonies which they will need throughout their lives."
- Thomas S. Monson, "How Firm a Foundation," General Conference, October 2006; see Ensign, Nov. 2006, pp. 62-68
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The sacred opportunity to communicate with our Father in Heaven is a blessing that we must not neglect or forget. Allowing prayer to become mundane or routine is a trap that we sometimes fall in to; we can avoid the mistake of "expressing words with little or no thought behind them" by making sure we ponder and prepare for prayer, considering our blessings and our divine heritage:

The second key President Monson suggests to make our prayers more effective is to listen for answers. That helps to create a sense of communication and interaction; we are not just reciting those routine words in our message to God, but are expecting a response to our thoughts and needs.

It's also wonderful to consider the blessing of praying with those we love most in our homes and family settings. Being faithful in family prayer creates "an effective deterrent to sin" and helps increase the joy and unity a family experiences, as well as setting patterns and establishing foundations of faith in family members. Those are blessings we would not want to miss in our lives!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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