Friday, August 15, 2008

Keeping Prayers Fresh

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them, for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him. (3 Nephi 13:7-8, see also Matthew 6: 7-8)
When I was trying to apply this scripture to my life, something I realized is that when we pray there are things we may find ourselves asking for over and over because we always need it, like help at work, or patience with the kids, or understanding of our schoolwork, or whatever. After a while these requests become automatic and we stop thinking about what they really mean. Some of our ordinary conversation to each other is like that already. (“How are you?” “Fine” “How’s it going?” “Good” “What’s up? “Not much”)

I think this scripture shows us that a long prayer full of the things we usually ask for isn’t more righteous. If anything, it is more boring to us and to the Lord. It’s what makes praying a drag, to have a big list of usuals to get through before we get to our real concerns.

I think this scripture is telling us to stop asking for those automatic things, because Heavenly Father knows what we need. It is possible that He gets conditioned after a while and knows exactly what is coming next in our prayer because He's heard it so many times before. What He really wants is for us to talk to Him and tell Him what we are really worried about deep down. He wants to know what our plans are and He wants to be consulted and He wants to communicate with us.