“Why do I need to pray on my own when I already pray with my family?” New Era, Jan. 2011, 32
Imagine that you’re struggling with a personal problem. Would you feel comfortable sharing your struggle with a group, or would you prefer to confide in one person in private?
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught: “Some things are best prayed about in private, when we don’t have to be concerned about time or the confidentiality of our prayers. Prayer in solitude is priceless and profitable. Praying alone helps us to shed shame or pretense, any lingering deceit; it helps us open our hearts and be totally honest and honorable in expressing all of our hopes and attitudes.”1 That which we are not comfortable praying for in our family prayers may be—and often should be—addressed in private prayer.
Our personal prayers allow us to be the most candid with our loving Heavenly Father and discuss the deepest fears and desires of our hearts. It was when Joseph Smith prayed privately that he received the revelation that began the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Speaking to our Heavenly Father on a one-on-one basis allows us to be more receptive to promptings of the Spirit intended for our benefit.
However, family prayer is also extremely valuable—it allows us to draw nearer to our Father in Heaven and to have spiritual experiences with our family. As President Kimball taught, “The Church urges that there be family prayer every night and every morning.”2