President Monson: The Power of Prayer

Prayer is a great blessing that can provide inspiration in the lives of all of Heavenly Father’s children, President Thomas S. Monson says. “Men and women of integrity, character, and purpose have ever recognized a power higher than themselves and have sought through prayer to be guided by such power,” he says.

“From the very beginning, Father Adam was commanded to ‘call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore’ (Moses 5:8). Adam prayed. Abraham prayed. Moses prayed, and so did every prophet pray to that God whence came his strength,” President Monson says, noting that the prayers of generations led up to the birth of Jesus Christ, an event “for which prophets prayed, psalmists sang, martyrs died, and mankind hoped.”

The Savior’s Example of Prayer

In prayer, as in all things, the Savior provides the ultimate example for us to follow. “More than any prophet or leader,” President Monson says, “He showed us how to pray. Who can fail to remember His agony in Gethsemane and that fervent prayer: ‘O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt’ (Matt. 26:39). And his injunction: ‘Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation’ (Matt. 26:41). It is then that we remember:

“‘When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. …

“‘But thou, when thou prayest, … pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. …

“‘After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

“‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

“‘Give us this day our daily bread.

“‘And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

“‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever’ (Matt. 6:5–6, 9–13).”

President Monson says that “this guiding instruction has helped troubled souls discover the peace for which they fervently yearn and earnestly hope.

“Unfortunately, prosperity, abundance, honor, and praise lead some men to the false security of haughty self-assurance and the abandonment of the inclination to pray. Conversely, turmoil, tribulation, sickness, and death crumble the castles of men’s pride and bring them to their knees to plead for power from on High.”

Heavenly Father Still Answers

Does Heavenly Father still hear prayers today? Does He answer prayers? President Monson says that in response to such questions, he promptly replies: “There is no expiration date on the Lord’s injunction to pray. As we remember Him, He will remember us,” noting that “most of the time there are no flags waving or bands playing when prayer is answered. His miracles are frequently performed in a quiet and natural manner.”

Pray and Go

President Monson also says that it is important, after praying, to go and to do.

“Many years ago,” he says, “on an assignment to Tahiti, I was talking to our mission president, President Raymond Baudin, about the Tahitian people. They are known as some of the greatest seafaring people in all the world. Brother Baudin, who speaks French and Tahitian but little English, was trying to describe to me the secret of the success of the Tahitian sea captains. He said, ‘They are amazing. The weather may be terrible, the vessels may be leaky, there may be no navigational aids except their inner feelings and the stars in the heavens, but they pray and they go.’ He repeated that phrase three times. There is a lesson in that statement. We need to pray, and then we need to act. Both are important.

“The promise from the book of Proverbs gives us courage:

“‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths’ (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Trust Heavenly Father

“As we offer unto the Lord our family prayers and our personal prayers,” President Monson says, “let us do so with faith and trust in Him. Let us remember the injunction of Paul to the Hebrews: ‘For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’ (Hebrews 11:6). If any of us has been slow to hearken to the counsel to pray always, there is no finer hour to begin than now.”