"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
April 30, 2014
Prayers in a Rut? Two Things to Try
by Kathryn Grant

“Do you sometimes bore yourself as you pray?” I remember chuckling at these words of Elder Joseph B. Within in an article on meaningful prayer. Yes, I’ve had that happen, I thought to myself.

If it’s happened to you as well, here are two simple suggestions that may make a difference for you as they did for me.

The first one was brought to mind by my dear friend, Terri, whose strong faith in the Lord leads her to inspire and bless the lives of those around her. From time to time, she emails beautiful prayers to her friends. As I read the prayers in her emails, I started to notice a pattern: they all started by expressing a desire to follow the Lord’s will.

I remembered that Jesus expressed this same willingness at the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer, given by Him to teach us how to pray.

For whatever reason, it seems we don’t often include this expression in our prayers. When we do, we usually make our requests first and then we append “Thy will be done,” kind of like fine print on a contract which we hope won’t be invoked — especially if we really, really want the thing we’re praying for.

I decided I could improve in this area, so I began expressing my willingness to do the Lord’s will at the beginning of my prayers. At first, I wasn’t used to it and it seemed almost awkward. But I discovered that when I started this way and really meant it, it set the tone of my entire prayer.

It also made a difference in the things I asked for and the way I listened during and after my prayers.

The second suggestion is to take more care when we close our prayers in the Savior’s name. Once, as a Primary leader, I’d become concerned about how the children ended their prayers. They seemed to switch into some kind of automatic mode, saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen,” rapidly and without thought.

So one Sunday I decided to talk to them about it. I explained the sacredness of the Savior’s name, and told them how our prayers can only be answered because of Jesus and what He did for us.

I will never forget the experience that followed. The young girl who gave the closing prayer ended it by saying the Savior’s name carefully and reverently. That simple, sincere act immediately invited the Spirit into the room in a discernible way.

In fact, one of the teachers and I looked at each other in amazement afterward and asked, “Did you feel that?” There was no question that saying the Lord’s name with care had made a difference.

These suggestions aren’t anything new, but we may sometimes — or maybe often — not give them the attention they deserve. So give them a try: at the beginning of your prayers, sincerely express your desire to know and do the Lord’s will.

When you close in the Savior’s name, do it carefully and reverently, with mindfulness of His atonement for us. You may find that not only are you not boring yourself, but your prayers have become more meaningful and powerful.

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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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