Questions & Answers: How can I make my prayers more meaningful?

“Questions & Answers: How can I make my prayers more meaningful?” New Era, January 2017

Questions & Answers

“How can I make my prayers more meaningful?”

Do you remember the story of Enos? Once when he went to the forest to hunt, his soul hungered to know the truth, and he “cried unto [God] in mighty prayer” (Enos 1:4). As Enos prayed more fervently, he received answers. He learned that “whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it” (Enos 1:15).

We can follow the same pattern: prepare our minds and hearts to receive inspiration, ask Him about our questions and concerns, share our joys and sorrows, and take time to ponder and to receive answers through the Holy Ghost.

Carly D., 17, of Utah, USA, says, “Ask him to help you with little things as well as the big ones. I ask Him to help me when I’m tired so I can get through the day. He wants to hear the little things just like any friend does.”

Elder Juan A. Uceda of the Seventy has reminded us of the importance of prayer and asked: “When you pray, are you really praying or just saying prayers? …

“… Do you prepare yourself for a moment of prayer? …

“At the very moment we say, ‘Father in Heaven,’ He hears our prayers and is sensitive to us and our needs. … The wonderful thing is that He will see you with eyes of love and mercy. …“… So a moment of prayer is a very, very sacred moment” (Oct. 2016 general conference).

Express Your Thoughts

When you pray, express your thoughts and feelings as if He is in the same room. Prayers are more meaningful when we take time to thank Heavenly Father for this awesome world.

One of my experiences with prayer was when I lost my wallet. It may seem unimportant, but it mattered to me. The wallet was hard to find, and after I checked everywhere, I prayed for help in finding it. I found it after a few more days of looking. Answers to meaningful prayers—even prayers over small matters—might not come quickly, but they will eventually come.

Garrett K., 14, Arizona, USA

Take Time to Pray

I’ve begun to understand a few basic principles about prayer. First, Heavenly Father loves to hear from you. Whether it’s something deep or hopeful or thankful, He will listen. Second, saying a meaningful prayer doesn’t mean you have to say a long prayer. Some of the most meaningful prayers I’ve ever said are the shortest. Third, don’t be afraid to pause and think about what to say next—even in a public prayer. Fourth, be thankful and humble. Be sure to give thanks when you receive an answer to prayer.

Sophie C., 14, Vermont, USA

Be Thankful

When I express why I’m so thankful for each blessing Heavenly Father gives me, it invites the Spirit to accompany me while I’m praying. Those spiritual experiences help me be happier throughout the upcoming day. I can feel more joy in my life, more gratitude for my blessings, and I can feel that He knows that I’m thankful for what He gives me. Be open to your Heavenly Father; He is always open with you.

Jarom H., 17, Utah, USA

Talk to Him

The way to make prayers more meaningful is to actually talk to Him. Tell Him about your day and the things you are struggling with. Ask for an experience that will help your testimony grow. Ask for help with the things you need help with.

Lindsey M., 17, Utah, USA

Think about What You’re Saying

Prayers are sacred. They are a way to not just report back to God but also to talk with Him. He loves you and wants to hear from you. It doesn’t need to be really deep and profound, but don’t just mumble the same thing over and over again every night. If you want to make prayers more real, think about what you’re saying, and remember that what you say is actually reaching Him. Make it meaningful by putting your heart and brain into your prayers.

Lauren E., 16, Missouri, USA

Be Reverent

When you’re looking for an answer to your prayer, make sure you’re in appropriate places for the Spirit to guide you.

Rosemary A., 15, Utah, USA

Pray for Others

One thing that has really helped me make my prayers more meaningful is to pray for others. Our Sunday School class has an email group, and when someone needs help, they let us know so that we can pray for them and give them encouragement. I have been so impressed by how much it has changed my life. I hadn’t realized it, but I had been only praying for myself. This is a Church of serving others.

Eli W., 16, California, USA