Pray Often

“Pray Often,” Friend, Aug. 1996, inside front cover

Pray Often

(Adapted from an April 1994 conference address. See Ensign, May 1994, pages 94–96.)

Call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you (Alma 34:17).

One of the especially happy times in my life happened when I was seventeen years old. My friends and I went to a fireside where the speaker taught us about our Savior’s love. He told us that we could have confidence in the Savior, that He would lead us, that He would be there for us, that our faith in Him could increase and we could feel greater happiness than we had ever known.

But we needed to do something: We needed to choose to believe in the Savior and His love; we needed to ask for His help, and then we needed to practice thinking about Him all through the day.

The speaker suggested that to help us remember to think about the Savior, we could listen to the school bell that rang often during the day. Each time we heard the bell, we were to say a silent prayer, even with our eyes open, even walking down the hall. We could thank our Heavenly Father for our blessings, especially for our Savior. We could tell Him of our love and ask for His help. He taught us that in just a few seconds, many times during the day, we could practice thinking about our Heavenly Father and Savior.

There was something else: The speaker suggested that almost immediately we move from praying for ourselves to praying for someone else—a friend, a teacher, a stranger—and asking Heavenly Father to bless that person.

He also warned us that all of this might seem awkward at first but that if we chose to try, we could truly be filled with His love, our faith really would grow, and we would feel joy.

That sounded wonderful to me. I decided to try. I could not believe how many times the bell rang each day! When I heard it, I stopped. “Heavenly Father, thank you. Please bless me and bless Dorene. I know she’s having struggles.” It was awkward at first, but soon I found myself thinking about Heavenly Father and the Savior not only when the bell rang but many times during the day. I remember walking across a muddy field one morning and seeing a tiny yellow flower. It was probably a weed, but to me it was beautiful, and I felt that He had created it just for me. I loved Him so much. My faith had increased, and I was happy.

Choosing to increase our faith in the Savior isn’t easy. It takes work, but the feelings inside of peace and joy and love are worth all our efforts.

Painting by Ted Henninger