Monday, May 16, 2011

Second attempt: Quality Prayers

I posted this last week, but a glitch at Blogger made it difficult for nearly everyone to find it. So I'll try again today...

It’s easy to think about the great prayers of the scriptures. The Savior in Gethsemane, Enos on his hunting trip, the brother of Jared with his sixteen stones, Joseph Smith in the grove. Prayers with purpose in places set apart with the attention of the prayer-givers focused intently on the matter at hand.

And yet, I also think about a prayer my MTC companion told me about. Late into our missions we were serving in the same zone. We happened to be on a split together and he told me about a moment with his companion that had so upset him that when he went to bed that night, all he could pray was this: “Heavenly Father, I’m so mad I could spit.”

It helps me to remember that God hears both kinds of prayers. And yes, of course the first kind is valuable (and more likely to be fruitful), the second also has its place as we lay our burdens at the Lord’s feet.

Sometimes I don’t know what to pray. And sometimes I’m so mad I could spit. And sometimes I’m so tired I fall asleep before the prayer ends. And sometimes I can pray in a place set apart from my routine, with purpose and focus.

Sometimes my prayers are those omnibus prayers – mention everyone by name and specific concerns I’m aware of. Sometimes my prayers are more general, grouping like folks together (“the kids” or “the kids at home”). Sometimes my prayers are focused on just one person – my wife or one of my children or another family member or friend – or one event. Sometimes my prayers are fixed in time and space and sometimes that prayer lives in my heart throughout the day.

It’s comforting to know that God hears them all.


  1. More than once my prayer has been "Heavenly Father, I'm just not feeling it tonight. I'm sorry. I'll check back in tomorrow. Amen."

  2. Paul: How about emailing me so we can communicate "off-blog"?