Thursday, March 28, 2019

President Spencer W. Kimball on private personal prayer

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"Now, some things are best prayed about in private, where time and confidentiality are not considerations. Prayer in solitude is rich and profitable. Praying alone helps us to shed shame or pretense, any lingering deceit; it helps us open our hearts and be totally honest and honorable in expressing all of our hopes and attitudes.
"I have long been impressed about the need for privacy in our personal prayers. The Savior at times found it necessary to slip away into the mountains or desert to pray. Similarly, the Apostle Paul turned to the desert and solitude after his great call. Enos found himself in solitary places to commune with God. Joseph Smith found his privacy in the grove with only birds and trees and God to listen to his prayer. Observe some keys in his story: 'So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. … It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.' (JS—H 1:14; italics added.)
"We, too, ought to find, where possible, a room, a corner, a closet, a place where we can 'retire' to 'pray vocally' in secret. We recall the many times the Lord instructs us to pray vocally: 'And again, I command thee that thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private.' (D&C 19:28.) So central is this to our prayers and personal religious life that the Lord instructed the priesthood brethren to 'visit the house of each member, exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties.' (D&C 20:51.)"
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Pray Always," Ensign, Oct. 1981, p. 3
Click here to read the full article

This excerpt comes from a "First Presidency Message" prepared by President Kimball. There were many insights in this article that are worth reviewing. He discusses prayer in public and family settings, and then turns to the importance of our individual, personal prayers. This description illustrates ways that our personal prayers can benefit us:

The importance of praying vocally, even during our personal prayers, is very significant. Perhaps we don't often consider this because of the relative inconvenience, the challenge of finding that kind of privacy. But President Kimball witnesses that this vocal aspect is "central ... to our prayers and personal religious life."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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