How to Pray
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.
Four steps to prayer
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.
Prayer is one the most valuable gifts you have received from your loving Heavenly Father.
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 could try “Dear God,” “Dear Heavenly Father,” “Our Father which art in heaven,” or simply “God.”
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 God for help, direction, forgiveness, or healing. Whatever is on your mind, bring it to Him, acknowledging that His wisdom and timing is greater than yours. You can ask Him what He wants for you.
Share your feeling 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. Gratitude helps us feel humble, which keeps our hearts and minds more open to God’s answers.
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 commanded us to pray in His name.
“Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;
“And 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 18:19–20
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.
When to pray
There is no such thing as praying too much. God wants to hear from you when you’re happy, or sad, or if you just need someone to talk to. You can pray whenever you feel like it or need it. In fact, if you don’t feel like praying, or feel like God doesn’t want to hear from you, that might be one of the best times to pray.
“For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray.” —2 Nephi 32:8
Pray on your own and with others
You should speak with God individually and regularly. But pray with others too—during worship services, before a meal, and in family prayer. One person usually offers the prayer on behalf of the group while others listen respectfully, think of the words being said, and show their agreement by saying “amen” at the end of the prayer.
Pray throughout the day
In Psalm 55:17, King David said he would pray in the “evening, and morning, and at noon.” Typical times for personal prayer are as you start your day in the morning, before each meal, and before you go to bed at night. But there is never a wrong time to pray. God is always listening, so we can “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Pray for special circumstances
There are times that call for extra prayer—like a prayer for healing, for protection, or for urgent needs. Fasting (purposefully going without food or drink for a period of time) combined with prayer helps show God your sincerity and provides spiritual strength.
Getting answers to our prayers
God promises that when we turn to Him in prayer, He will give us answers and guidance.
“Ask, and it shall be give you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” —Matthew 7:7
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.