How to Pray

Praying is simpler than you might think. God is there and will hear and answer your prayers. 

Four steps to prayer

God is your loving Father in Heaven, and He wants to hear from you. You can reach out to Him by praying to Him. As His child, you can ask your Heavenly Father for help and guidance in your life. 

Praying can be done out loud, or in your mind. You can speak to God like you would any other person. Your words do not have to be eloquent or memorized. It is more important to open your heart and not hold back. Believe He is there and listening, because He is. Believe He will help you, because He will. 

1. Begin your prayer

Before you begin, find a quiet place where you feel comfortable. A good way to start is to address God by name. You can try “Dear God,” “Dear Heavenly Father,” “Our Father which art in heaven,” or simply “God.” 

2. Have a conversation with God

Speak from your heart and share your hopes and desires as well as your worries and problems. You can ask Him for help, direction, forgiveness, or healing. Whatever is on your mind, bring it to Him, acknowledging that His wisdom and timing are greater than yours. You can ask Him what He wants for you. 

Share your feelings with God about others. You can pray for their needs or ask for ways you can love and help them.

Express appreciation to God for all the blessings in your life. Even challenges can be a blessing. This helps us feel humble, which keeps our hearts and minds more open to God's answers. 

3. End your prayer

Once you’ve said all that you wanted to say, you can end your prayer by saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

We do this because Jesus is the way to connect to our Father in Heaven and all things should be done in His name. 

4. Act on your righteous desires

There is wisdom in the saying, “Pray as if everything depends on the Lord, then work as if everything depends on you.” It is in the process of doing that we often get guidance and help from God. 

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Getting answers to our prayers

God promises that when we turn to Him in prayer, He will give us answers and guidance. 

God communicates with us through the Holy Spirit, in the form of good thoughts and ideas or peaceful, comforting feelings. When we feel those things, it means God is encouraging us, showing us truth, and giving us direction. 

Everyone will feel the Holy Spirit in their own way. In the Bible, it’s often described as a “still small voice,” (see 1 Kings 19:11–12) that almost seems to whisper to your mind. 

Often, God answers our prayers through others. God can put people into our lives at the right time who can give or be the answer we have been looking for. We can also get answers to prayers by reading what His prophets have taught in the Bible and Book of Mormon. When we pray and read these books, the Holy Spirit can give us personalized ideas and direction. Taking time to study His word is also a way we can show God that we truly desire an answer from Him. 

Learn what the Book of Mormon says about prayer

Common Questions

The Bible encourages us to pray, while providing lots of examples and advice on how to do so: 

Mark 11:24 

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” 

Colossians 4:2 

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” 

James 5:16 

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” 

1 John 5:14 

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”

When Jesus Christ was encouraging His disciples to pray, He offered a prayer as an example for them. This has become known as the Lord’s Prayer, and we can pray using the same pattern. We start by addressing God and showing gratitude, then asking for the things we need, before closing our prayer with “amen.” You can find an account of it in both Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:1–4.

There are many different ways to pray. We can pray by ourselves, or as a family. We can offer prayers at mealtime, before bed, first thing in the morning, or anytime, really. The important thing is that we take the time to sincerely offer our gratitude to God and ask Him for help.

In addition to prayer, meditation can help us center our minds on God and help us feel the Spirit. In that sense, meditation is a form of prayer.