I really enjoyed Listening to Elder Bednar's talk recently entitled "Pray Always." It changed the way I thought about some aspects of prayer and was enlightening! First, President Bednar talked about how during the creation of the world, everything was created spiritually before it was created physically. “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:4–5).
When we start our day off with a prayer we are creating the day spiritually first. We are taking the time to start the day off with the Lord and seek his blessings and inspiration to help us through the day and asking for the strength and the blessings that we stand in need of. I love how President Bednar worded this:
"There may be things in our character, in our behavior, or concerning our spiritual growth about which we need to counsel with Heavenly Father in morning prayer. After expressing appropriate thanks for blessings received, we plead for understanding, direction, and help to do the things we cannot do in our own strength alone. For example, as we pray, we might:
• Reflect on those occasions when we have spoken harshly or inappropriately to those we love the most.
• Recognize that we know better than this, but we do not always act in accordance with what we know.
• Express remorse for our weaknesses and for not putting off the natural man more earnestly.
• Determine to pattern our life after the Savior more completely.
• Plead for greater strength to do and to become better.
Such a prayer is a key part of the spiritual preparation for our day."
We then keep a prayer in our hearts throughout the day for continued assistance and guidance. “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord” (Alma 37:36). As we do this we will be able to recognize the hand of the Lord and his influence, strength and guidance. As we recognize these blessings, we can thank Him for his help "even as we recognize it."
At the close of each day we finish the day with a prayer. I cannot say this better than Elder Bednar and so I wanted to share his words here as well:
"At the end of our day, we kneel again and report back to our Father. We review the events of the day and express heartfelt thanks for the blessings and the help we received. We repent and, with the assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, identify ways we can do and become better tomorrow. Thus our evening prayer builds upon and is a continuation of our morning prayer. And our evening prayer also is a preparation for meaningful morning prayer.
Morning and evening prayers—and all of the prayers in between—are not unrelated, discrete events; rather, they are linked together each day and across days, weeks, months, and even years. This is in part how we fulfill the scriptural admonition to “pray always” (Luke 21:36; 3 Nephi 18:15, 18; D&C 31:12). Such meaningful prayers are instrumental in obtaining the highest blessings God holds in store for His faithful children."
I love these thoughts and have realized that I can do more to "pray always" and to connect my morning and evening prayers. I very much want to obtain the best blessings that the Lord has in store for me and my family. As I do this, I know I will be able to receive them.
I love the example of Enos in the Book of Mormon and how he would go to the Lord in Mighty Prayer and would pray with all of his heart.
Chapter 1, verse 4: "And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my maker, and cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all day long I did cry unto him; yea, and when the night came, I did still raise up my voice that it reached the heavens.
Verse 12: And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desired, because of thy faith."
What a powerful promise and what a beautiful blessing and strength Prayer is in our lives!