Through personal and family prayer, we can feel Heavenly Father's influence in our lives and in our homes. Prayer was an important part of the home where George Albert Smith grew up.
I was trained at the knee of a Latter-day- Saint mother. One of the first things I remember was when she took me by the hand and led me upstairs. In the room there were two beds, the bed in which my parents slept, and a little trundle bed over on the other side. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. When we got upstairs, she sat down by my little trundle bed. She had me kneel in front of her. She folded my hands and took them in hers, and taught me my first prayer. I will never forget it. I do not want to forget it. It is one of the loveliest memories that I have in life, an angelic mother sitting down by my bedside and teaching me to pray.
Click here to listen to his account in his own words:
It was such a simple prayer, but ... that prayer opened for me the windows of heaven. That prayer extended to me the hand of my Father in heaven, for she had explained to me what it all meant as far as a little child could understand. From that day until now, while I have covered approximately a million miles in the world among our Father's other children, every day and every night, wherever I have been, when I have gone to my bed or arisen from it, I have felt I was close to my Heavenly Father. He is not far away. Can you remember some of your earliest memories of learning how to pray?
3 Nephi 18:18-21
18 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.
19 therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;
20 And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.
21 Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.
Prayer is a powerful influence in our personal lives, our homes, and our communities.
We live in an age when we need our Heavenly Father as much as they ever needed Him in any age.
Do not put away from you the power of God. Retain in your homes the influences of prayer and of thanksgiving, and let gratitude flow to him who is the author of our beings and the giver of all good.
Let our homes be the abiding place of prayer and thanksgiving and gratitude....Let us pray for the great men and women of the world who need the Lord but do not understand his interest in them. Pray for ... our governors, our mayors of cities, the men who have influence in politics in our various communities, that they may do the things that will be better for all of us and make us happier, and please our Heavenly Father. That is our privilege. I say to you that the power of prayer is something that cannot be measured. The Lord ... has explained to us how we may receive blessings through prayer. There are many people in the world who do not realize the real benefits of prayer. Prayer is a power. It has an influence that comparatively few people seem to understand. ...
...How many are there in this Church who do not know that they have the right, the absolute right, to pray to their Father in heaven, and ask Him to take from them their distress and lead them to contentment and happiness? It is strange that any member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should have to be urged to say his prayers, and yet there are some people who do not pray in secret or have their family prayers. Yet unless we pray we lose the protection that prayer offers...
Let us all evaluate our prayers and think of ways to improve our personal and family prayers.
- In your prayers at night, give the Lord an accounting of your day's activites. Then review with Him your plan for the next day. Listen for the promptings of the Spirit.
- Pray to overcome temptation. Yielding to temptation interferes with the Spirit.
- Pray and, when appropriate, fast for special blessings.
- Pray about and ponder the scriptures The scriptures open the window to revelation.
- Believe that God will answer your prayers. Recognize that God's thoughts are not your thoughts (see Isaiah 55:8-9), and trust God to answer your prayers in His own way and in His own time.