“Five Promises of Prayer,” Liahona, January 2017
Heavenly Father provided prayer as a way to communicate directly with Him in order to give thanks, ask for blessings, and grow spiritually. Sometimes all it takes is a bowed head, folded arms, and a few simple and sincere words. Cool, huh? Here are five different promises or blessings we can receive if we pray:
As humans, we can feel weakness in many ways—physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. We can struggle trying to run a race or pass a test or withstand temptation or even feel the Spirit. But prayer can give us the strength we need to overcome anything that life hands to us.
As Nephi said, “The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7). The Lord can give us strength to accomplish any good thing that we try to do if it’s His will.
Pray for the strength to overcome a temptation. Pray for the strength to focus and study productively for a test. Pray for the strength to run and not be weary. Pray for strength, and He will make you strong.
Though it’s nice to think otherwise, we’re not perfect. We make mistakes, and that’s just a part of life. But the Lord provides a way to fix them: the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And one access point to His power is prayer.
When we ask for forgiveness through prayer, we can be forgiven of our sins through the Savior’s Atonement. Though bigger sins may need the assistance of a bishop or branch president, personal and sincere prayer will always be one of the first steps to forgiveness—whether we are asking Heavenly Father to forgive us or to help us forgive someone else. He’ll even help us learn how to forgive ourselves.
Personal revelation might have been one of the first promised blessings of prayer that you thought of, especially with the new Mutual theme running around in your head. Joseph Smith lacked knowledge about which church to join, so he got on his knees in the Sacred Grove, asked his question, and received an answer—in a pretty big way.
But revelation isn’t just for prophets, and it doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering experience. If any of us lack wisdom on anything, we can and should ask of God. He will answer, though sometimes not in the way we would expect. The Lord will answer our questions and help guide our lives, but we have to first ask!
It may be harder to see this one as a blessing—because, honestly, sometimes we want things for ourselves that the Lord doesn’t want for us. But as we pray to be truly converted and to have the desire to do the Lord’s will, we’ll notice something pretty amazing: what we want starts to look more like what He wants.
This change of heart won’t happen immediately, though. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said: “For many of us, conversion is an ongoing process and not a onetime event that results from a powerful or dramatic experience. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God” (“Converted unto the Lord,” Liahona, Nov. 2012, 107–8).
One of the blessings we are promised if we pray is peace and comfort through the Holy Ghost. After all, He is called the Comforter. Be reassured that peace will come even in difficult times. Remember the Lord’s promise in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Peace will eventually come if we ask.
Prayer is a direct way to communicate with our loving Father. Use it and let Him bless you for it. But after receiving these blessings from sincere prayer, remember to express your heartfelt gratitude in—you guessed it—a prayer.