Prayer in Latter Day Saint theology and practice

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Prayer is one of the central teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as taught by LDS scripture and church leaders. Public prayers are performed at the beginning and end of sacrament meetings and other meetings of the church, including Sunday School, Relief Society, Young Men, Young Women, and Primary. Families are encouraged to pray together at the beginning and end of the day, over meals, and in Family Home Evenings.[1] Individuals are encouraged to pray in private frequently. Adherents also perform ordinances that include prayers, such as the naming of an infant, baptism, confirmation, priesthood ordinations, and the sacrament.

The LDS Church teaches that prayer is listened to and answered by God and that God commands that his children pray to him. It teaches prayer can provide inspiration, revelation, healing, wisdom and understanding, hope, charity, discernment, strength to resist temptation, forgiveness from sins, compassion, solace from grief, peace, and abilities beyond normal capacities.

Just as the Bible includes many passages that teach the importance of prayer, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price also teach the importance of and how to pray to God. The Book of Mormon encourages believers to "cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save .... Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them" and that "your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you."[2] The Book of Mormon teaches that faithful prayer always includes living as we have prayed by serving and helping others, so that our prayer is not in vain or hypocritical.[3] Alma also teaches, "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; ... let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."[4]

Latter-day Saint prayers are addressed to God the Father and are concluded with "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen". All prayers of Latter-day Saints, except some of those given as part of an ordinance ritual, are not repeated from memorized expressions. Prayers may be of any length in duration. Latter-day Saint prayers are not given facing in a particular direction and may be offered kneeling, sitting, or standing. Personal prayers may be audible or silent.

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