“Praying Out Loud,” New Era, Apr. 2013, 46–47
Lately I have been falling into a “spiritual slump.” I had not been saying my prayers or reading the scriptures like I should. I was also letting some of the negative attitudes from school affect how I was treating my family and how I judged things. Then, in the New Era, I saw the scripture Doctrine and Covenants 19:28: “Thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private.” I was curious why we should pray vocally. I had always known I should have a prayer in my heart, but I had never heard of praying vocally besides at church or during family prayers.
I was curious, and something told me I should pray out loud. The next day, when everyone else was gone from the house and I was alone, I went up to my room to try it. I cleaned my area of the room so I could kneel down and think of the Savior and my Father in Heaven. I started my prayer by thanking Heavenly Father for my blessings. Praying out loud was kind of awkward at first, so I stumbled over my words and felt a little silly, only hearing my voice.
I repented for the little things and then opened my mind a little more and started repenting for being disrespectful to my parents sometimes. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew I hadn’t obeyed the Lord and was not keeping His commandments to the best of my abilities. I opened my mouth and prayed for forgiveness more earnestly than I had ever done before. I asked to be forgiven for all the times I had not said my prayers because “I was too tired” or “it was too late at night,” for the times I hadn’t read my scriptures for the very same reasons, for not keeping my mind and my heart clean so I could be worthy to be an example to others, and for not being as kind and loving to my family as they are to me. Realizing all I had done, I began to cry. I felt warm inside. I knew the Lord had forgiven me, I knew He loves me, and I knew that He wants to comfort me and have me feel of His love.
I continued my vocal prayer and thanked Him for the many blessings He has given me. I had realized just how important the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ is. It is in His name that we communicate with our Heavenly Father as much as we want (see 3 Nephi 18:18–20). We can turn to Him whenever we need guidance, help, or comfort.
I know that my Father in Heaven loves me and wants me to return to Him. And I can—as long as I just hold on.