Prayer candlesSometimes I get asked which of the spiritual practices I undertook for Flunking Sainthood I still observe regularly. I’m certainly not fasting every day anymore. But there are several practices I keep doing, including Sabbath-keeping, the Jesus Prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer.

Reciting the Lord’s Prayer each day is an unusual practice for a Mormon. But why is it so unusual?

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism says that rather than being a prayer that Latter-day Saints are to memorize and recite in full, the Lord’s Prayer offers a general “pattern” for our own spontaneous prayers. It speaks of cultivating a relationship with a divine parent who meets our daily needs, grants forgiveness, and can help us resist temptation.

That’s fine, but it does not explain why there is power in reciting the prayer’s words exactly as written (either in the New Testament or the Book of Mormon, where it also appears in a slightly different version). The Encyclopedia’s approach does not do justice to the transforming power of saying these particular words, no matter how we are feeling or what we are thinking about that day.

Perhaps it is true that Mormons unconsciously use the words of the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for prayer, but somehow I don’t think so, especially because most Mormons are never taught it. In fact, the manual for the Gospel Principles class, which teaches new members the foundations of a Mormon spiritual life, not only omits mention of the Lord’s Prayer in its lesson on prayer, but goes out of its way to caution against repeating “meaningless words and phrases.”

If Mormons don’t even learn the Lord’s Prayer, how can it be a pattern for prayer or spiritual formation?

The Gospel Principles manual reveals a Mormon suspicion of traditional, rote prayers, a suspicion that is sometimes justified by appealing to 3 Nephi 13’s warnings about “vain repetitions.” I once had a conversation with a woman in Relief Society who was highly skeptical that she could ever feel the Spirit through someone else’s words. Prayer should be extemporaneous, she felt; anything impersonal would be a violation of her own relationship with Heavenly Father.

I asked her to think about the temple ceremony and how it is exactly the same every time—and wasn’t she just saying that she learned something new each time she went to the temple?

And what about our sacrament prayer? That’s a prayer that has to be recited precisely as written every single Sunday. Any alterations will result in a red-faced teenage boy having to start all over again. And yet many Mormons reflect that the familiar words of the sacrament prayer have sunk into their souls so deeply that they can conjure them in any situation, often to their great benefit.

So the argument against rote prayer is not a valid one in Mormon tradition; our two highest ritual forms in fact rely upon such sameness as tool for spiritual growth. Mormonism has always blended personal, spontaneous prayer with repeated formal liturgy. Often, we just don’t realize that is what we are doing.

I’m puzzled that Mormons don’t do more with the Lord’s Prayer. I think it is our loss. This is the prayer that Jesus himself taught us to pray—the only one. For that reason alone we should be all ears. Mormons in particular should pay attention because the Lord’s Prayer is explicitly mentioned in the Book of Mormon from Jesus’ time among the Nephites. If Jesus thought this prayer was important enough to teach in two different settings when many of his teachings in the New Testament were apparently not given the same emphasis elsewhere, why would we not make the prayer a top priority?

In addition to its multiple appearances in Scripture, this is the prayer that the earliest Christians were taught to recite, as evidenced by the spiritual practices recorded in the Didache in the late first century. At that time, followers of Jesus said the Lord’s Prayer three times a day.*

I usually manage once a day. But when I do recite the Lord’s Prayer, it offers a powerful connection to the God I’m addressing, the Savior who taught me how to pray, and the global community of Christians both past and present who have drawn strength from this prayer in every kind of circumstance.

 

What also strikes me is how this-worldly the prayer is, how quotidian, how very Mormon. It is practical, not ethereal. It’s not about eternal salvation or theology. It’s about manna for today—just today—and strength to move forward. And I need all the manna I can get.

 

28 Comments

  1. As a British Mormon I agree with the Church’s extreme caution about repeating set prayers as part of personal rather than collective worship, but have grown up with the Lord’s Prayer as a regular feature of my life in school assemblies and any Church of England and many Catholic services attended. It’s probably correct to say that all the UK and Irish Mormons can recite it without hesitation :) at least those in their thirties and older who were at school before the daily collective act of worship rule got downplayed. It does feel special to be able to join in a collective prayer with people of other Christian denominations. We can connect on basic principles we all share, and as you say also connect with our spiritual forbears through the ages in a humble and simple act. It feels deliciously sonorous and ancient as well as deeply spiritual and relevant to here and now, and it gives you hope that your community hasn’t completely forgotten its Christian roots. The words say so much with so little – which perhaps owes a lot to the English translators who refined it since king Alfred the Great and other Anglo Saxons in the Dark Ages began making it accessible to ordinary people. I also usually chuckle much less humbly to myself that the Mormons in the room saying it probably actually believe every word and principle of it far more literally and personally than a lot of the Christians and ministers present in the progressively secularising Christian milieu in our Sceptred Isles. I also would point out that although I love Jana’s explanation of it being immediate and practical, the final phrases about “thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever” are a very powerful statement of doctrine and eternity. The Catholics tend to leave off the last bit and many scholars believe it wasn’t part of the original text, so maybe everone needs to agree what the Lords Prayer actually even is before we feel we are missing out too much. Thank you for another delightful and thought provoking insight.

  2. Jana, this post of yours is certainly thought provoking. The biggest point that is provoking my thoughts is, “…it does not explain why there is power in reciting the prayer’s words exactly as written.”

    Not having recited the words of the Lord’s Prayer myself, possibly ever, I guess I don’t really know what the power of reciting them is. I only know that praying from the heart, whether vocally or mentally (silently,) has been of major impact in my life strengthening my faith and testimony, adding wisdom to my thoughts, and increasing my abilities to meet the challenges I face from day to day, often while I am in the midst of the difficulty.

    There is another thing akin to a “recitation of prayer” that is encouraged, at least in the Doctrine and Covenants, with the Lord saying, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (D&C 25:12), which is also reprinted in the preface to HYMNS. I have also had experience with having the prayers in the form of a song of the heart being answered with a blessing.

    As to the pattern of prayer being taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it has been my experience growing up Mormon and on my mission that we are taught 1- to address our Father in Heaven (as in the Lord’s prayer), 2- to thank Him for our blessings (less evident in the Lord’s prayer), 3- to ask for the blessings we need such as “forgive us our debts” and to “lead us not into temptation” (whatever that means), and 4- to close in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. The Lord’s prayer ends with the Amen, of course, but doesn’t reference Jesus’ name, that might have been a bit awkward if it had, with Jesus being the one saying it.

    There is one other thing included in the Lord’s prayer which is not directly taught, but is quite important, in my opinion. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” … “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever….” That expression of humility and submission to the will of God in all things is what we also learn from scripture study and an awareness of following Jesus’ example, because that is exactly how He lived and accepted His bitter cup to offer us the gift of His atonement.

    Yes, what we are taught is different in ways from what and how other people in other churches are taught, but it is not necessarily better or worse, in my opinion.

  3. Having grown up in the Lutheran (Missouri Synod) faith where we memorized the Lord’s Prayer, I tend to think that the danger is in the vain repititions that occur when it is just recited without any contemplation and heartfelt desire to hear the Lord’s acknowledgent. . . maybe that is partly the reason I am now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  4. Most 12-step recovery meetings I have attended include a group recitation of the Lord’s prayer. (LDS addiction recovery meetings, however, are an exception, and rarely, if ever, include the Lord’s prayer.) I have felt power and the Lord’s spirit in the group recitation, just as I feel power in singing hymns together with others. The group recitation of the serenity prayer also carries great power and feeling.

  5. Jana- I think some post-modern Methodist ministers are starting to move away from reciting the Lord’s Prayer, saying much the same thing that we say as Mormons that it is simply a memorization and that is was likely never meant to be recited verbatim over and over. The fact that you can say it over and over and get great benefit says a lot about your spirituality, I think, because most folks simply get up and mumble the words.

    (As a side note, I am currently taking two classes at United Seminary with Dr. Horace Six-Means {Horace Means} who said he went to Princeton with you. He directed me here/your other sites, said it might be beneficial for me to reach out to you.)

  6. I remember some time ago our Stake Patriarch was going over Priesthood ordinances and he asked us to list the prayers that were to be said verbatim (Sacrament, Temple, etc) and the Lord’s Prayer made the list. He said that we could read it in any of the three forms it is written in the Scriptures (Luke and Matthew do not match each other, 3rd Nephi’s reading reads more like Matthew’s version). I was taught in an LDS home to pray by reading this with my parents and after reading it, I would say my own prayer modeled after that one. Eventually I was told I was praying correctly and didn’t use it any more. I am unsure when we are to read the prayer, other than to teach our children. I have no problem with the idea of using it, but you didn’t really give me a clear idea in your article of how or when you use it, just that you do. I wouldn’t mind reading more from you on this. It appears you use it as a form of meditation? I could see using it if I felt the need to pray but a loss of words. That’s really about it.

    • Jana Riess

      That’s a great question. I tend to say it in a few different ways.

      First, when I’m about to pray my own spontaneous prayer, I sometimes begin by saying the Lord’s Prayer. It settles my heart and prepares me for connecting with God. Then I continue with my own prayers, like praying for someone who is sick, etc. The Lord’s Prayer sets the tone.

      Second, frankly, I pray it when I am anxious about something. I particularly resonate with the idea of daily bread, because I am a worrier by nature and tend to get anxious about daily things.

      And third, I pray it when I’m with my husband and daughter at their Episcopal Church. The prayer helps to unite me with other Christian believers even though I don’t take the Eucharist with them.

      • I am sincerely curious about people who identify themselves as Mormon but then proceed to disagree with most of its doctrine. I empathize with the concept, because I consider myself a Christian, but have not found a church or organized religion that I consider 100% biblically or experiencially correct. But LDS is one of the churches/religions that actually requires agreement and exclusive authority. It seems to me that many “Mormons” are in fact not true believers in the separating doctrines. So why still identify as Mormon. You’ve seen thru some of the falsehoods, you say your spouse is not Mormon— if you truly believed LDS doctrine you’d have to have a temple sealing or else you are not pleasing God. The bible says otherwise, as I’m assuming you know. But the LDS church, despite the good people (perhaps like yourself) actually attempts to condem people who take biblical liberties like marrying outside of the church. I guess I just wish more “Mormons” were honest about how much they do not agree with in LDS doctrine. Unknowing young people are converted into the church based on their encounters with people like you. People who are happy because they have a connection with the true spirit of God, and who follow their own spiritual revelations ABOVE traditions of men. Blah blah blah I hope I haven’t been offensive, I’m sincerely asking.

        • Hi Ema, I don’t think it’s fair to say that Mormons who have issues with some areas of Church policy or doctrine or who don’t live the idealised model of lifestyle or family set-up (how many in any religion do?…) are being hypocritical or dishonest. There is perhaps more wiggle room within LDS belief and culture than you realise – on the issue of authority for example major revelations are not considered kosher until the whole membership has voted to sustain them as such and they aren’t presented to the membership until nearly 100 General Authorities have discussed and voted to support them, so power is not as centralised as many think. Any denomination has a lot of doctrine and interpretation and culture to explore, and with additional books of scripture and 200 years of continuing history and revelations in addition to the Bible to process there is a whole lot more for Mormons to chew on and interpret. It is a core Mormon principle that we are on a journey of progression in knowledge and applying that knowledge ‘line upon line’ and ‘milk before meat’ as the Bible puts it, personally and as an institution, so while being confident about core doctrines it is part of the Mormon psyche to also be constantly evaluating and learning with a view to making improvements in what we believe and how we apply that in what we do rather than being frozen in a status quo. I would say from my experience as a life-long member that the typical experienced faithful Latter-Day Saint does both – has certaintly and confidence in their Church, but is also very open to critiquing it and they have endless conversations about what has or is being done that is not great and how to make that better. This is one of the positive consequences of giving everyone in the congregation a variety of teaching and ministering roles – I’m 43 and have had 18 that I can remember so far! Probably the same for my wife and twice that for my Mother – all of us end up in situations where it is literally up to us to make the decisions about what to do and teach and how, so constant critical review of everything from doctrine to practical application of gospel principles is part and parcel of being involved Mormons. How freely members feel they can do that varies, but on the whole I still think we are leagues beyond any other Christian denomination in involving our membership in ministry and sharing power and influence widely, including among our female members. So you will hear Mormons with very strong opinions about how things can be improved and what mistakes and correcting improvements have been made in the past about everything from missionary working methods to polygamy and institutional racism and patronising women, but they are not denying their confidence in the Church and its authority or truths by doing so – they are acting on them. This is best expressed I feel in our scripture Doctrine and Covenants 58 which Mormon teenagers are encouraged to memorise as a ‘Seminary scripture’. Mornmons are at their best when they practice it but stagnate when they don’t. We grind to a halt when fear of being an original thinker or doing something differently to how it has been done before stifles the independent creativity this scripture says God is not only happy with but insisting upon:

          26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. 29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

          • Peter:
            I’m not sure I understand what all that was… You seemed to be explaining to me why members are all different and your opinion that it is good for them to have their own drive…? You say there is “wiggle room” in the LDS church, but it is one of the Christian denominations that require absolute agreement with the prophet identified by that church. There’s no wiggle room as far as wether or not you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet— and if you believe he was, then there’s no wiggle room in things like marriage and how to be “saved”. I know that there are a lot of wigglers in practice, but that is simply because the church is too big to manage every member. The person who wrote this article mentioned being married to someone outside of the church. There was NO wiggle room in Joseph Smiths claims regarding marriage. According to his “revelations” a marriage that isn’t sealed in the temple is not okay. And without a sealed marriage a person can not return to god/reach the higher level of heaven. I believe it’s D&C 132 that covers that. I have read things and spoken with countless members who do not believe that they have to follow every commandment JS revealed. So my question was regarding things like that. You seem to be well versed in the church apologetics tho– so I wonder what you think about what this blog says: http://truthisoursalvation.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/57/ —- It says that the LDS specific (separating doctrines) are bad fruit. And it shows the deception the church employs in it’s media. And then maybe you could comment on the company Bonneville communications who advertise a thing called “Heartsell”. You can google it “Bonneville Heartsell” they sell a way to cause people to “feel” things… It’s a LDS church owned company that sells this thing to other churches (the Salvation Army). I have a lot of questions about a lot of church related things. But my original comment was very much inspired by reading that this author was married to someone outside the church.

          • Hi Ema,
            I’ve looked at all the links you referenced. A little knowledge can be a dangerous or misleading thing and I think you are jumping to some conclusions without being fully aware of what you are talking about yet, but it is good that you are engaging and trying to find information. You have touched on a lot of things so I will try and respond as succinctly as possible. You say your original comment was prompted by Jana being married to a non-Mormon. As she explained in her blog about marrying outside the faith, Jana is a convert to the LDS Church and was married before joining, so her decision to marry a fellow protestant was not made in the context of having beliefs about LDS temple marriages. Also as I have tried to explain, your assertion that to be a proper faithful Mormon one has to be living every single principle in its ideal form here and now does not reflect our actual beliefs that we are all on a long journey of change and repentance and that we all need a lot of patience and grace from Christ’s atonement to make up for our weaknesses and failings. We aim for perfection, but the most common mistake made by anti-Mormon propagandists is to insist that we expect to be perfect here and now and it is OK to criticise members and leaders when they are not perfect as completely undermining the whole Mormon ‘thing’. Perhaps it is because a lot of anti-Mormons are from the more Calvinist / Evangelical end of the Christian spectrum which puts a lot of emphasis on the whole job of salvation being accomplished in the moment that you are ‘saved’ and become a new creation in Christ, in effect already in an exalted state spiritually in this life, so they can’t relate to our model of a longer process of exaltation while still being just as confident and joyful here and now that we are on a path to glory. I’ve tried many times to get my evangelical friends and relatives to grasp how that works and they find it as impossible to understand as I find their insistence that they are perfected in Christ and He is ruling their lives now they are saved, yet they still think and make all their choices for themselves and aren’t living perfectly yet. Mindsets can be hard to break out of for all of us!
            The LDS view of marriage and chastity is that sexual relations within a ‘legally and lawfully’ conducted heterosexual marriage is fine, which includes civil marriages, so a sealed temple marriage is not the only acceptable option in Mormonism. In the eternal scheme of things we believe that marriages need to be sealed with authority and the covenants involved lived up to for a marriage to be eternal (while most of Christianity doesn’t believe marriages carry on in the next life anyway so it is odd for Christian anti-Mormons to make such a fuss about it). However, you need to factor in all of our ‘LDS specific separating doctrines’ that here and now isn’t everything – people who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour will have that opportunity in the spirit world before resurrection or during the millennial reign of Christ on earth, which begins with the resurrection of the generally righteous whether saved Christians or not and is followed by 1000 years of life and temple work to give everyone who is ready for it the opportunity to be married and sealed as eternal families. Eventually ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ Philippians 2:10-11
            It’s not all done and dusted in this life, so we make the best we can of our opportunities here and cherish our marriages and families whether or not they are sealed yet. Mormonism has a fundamentally long-term view of matters of salvation and exaltation where most of Christianity condemns everyone not saved and sorted out in this life before they die to an eternal hell of punishment and suffering. That’s pretty brutal and arbitrary. I suggest you let that weigh heavily on your mind on your journey to decide while Church has got the best handle on Christianity and reflecting God’s love in its beliefs.
            The wordpress website you refer to doesn’t seem to be explaining why LDS doctrines are ‘bad fruit’ – it just lists situations where Joseph Smith in their opinion did not live up to what they sometimes inaccurately interpret as LDS doctrines or practices or versions of events, which is a different thing. Its other main point seems to be that the Church is deceitful because its basic missionary discussions or curriculum don’t include particular details of history that it finds scandalous or hypocritical…then shows screen shots of LDS-related websites that do include those details. I found it rather amateur and contradictory. There are better anti-Mormon sites out there! First of all, common sense needs to be applied. In telling any account of history you start with the basics and then go into depth. You don’t start with an encyclopaedia. Like any religious or scriptural or historical story you learn the basics then get into all the details and different opinions about how to interpret or find meaning in it. I can only speak from my own experience growing up in the Church – following the curriculum and doing some basic reading around the subject I was aware by the time I was 18 and heading off on a mission of all the issues the website raises and am still learning and enjoying new perspectives and insights about what are often controversial matters. A lot of things I originally thought were just odd or unnecessary have turned out to be the most important and inspiring experiences and doctrines as my piecing together of the jigsaw puzzle of life has continued and expanded. I would have missed those insights by shutting myself off from them taking everything at face value and not continuing to research their context and keep an open mind.
            Every member of every religion or denomination is on the same journey – a Catholic or Evengelical missionary lesson isn’t going to begin with a detailed exposition on the orgies of the medieval Popes or televangelist adultery and financial corruption cases. I don’t judge Catholics and Evangelicals by every choice or hypocrisy of their leaders. I really look at their fruits – what are the personal qualities their religion encourages them to have? What kind of people are they because of its influence in their lives?…and respect all the good in them and their faith that comes from it. I strongly disagree with many of their doctrines and practices, but I still want to understand them and be accurate and fair in assessing how they came about and how they influence their members. One of the bonuses of Mormon ideology is the freedom it gives you to celebrate any progress people make in wisdom and living a lifestyle of selfless love whatever their religion or lifestyle as steps towards perfection that they will take with them to build on in this life and the next – they are not wasting their time or doomed to hell regardless.
            Finally, your link to the Bonneville Communications advertising company blurb. It just sounds like any other advertising company fluff to me. All advertising, virtuously motivated or not, is about manipulating people’s emotions and ideas. That’s the nature of the game. There is no advertising company on earth that claims otherwise. The same goes for every religion or Christian denomination’s efforts to evangelise. It’s interesting where our cultural levels of tolerance for it vary – I’m British and we tend to be very cynical and sceptical about emotionally manipulative advertising so the levels of schmaltz that are standard for American marketing, including a lot of the Mormon adverts and films, leave us reaching for the sick bucket! Things have got a whole lot better in recent media campaigns like ‘I’m a Mormon’ where ordinary people are speaking for themselves as themselves, but I’ve had to endure a lifetime of syrupy twaddle at times in the Church. I’ve worked out how to separate the medium from the message though. There’s a big difference between what my religion and the religious community I live in is really about and how an advertising company chooses to spin it. Keep digging away Ema – keep learning, but go deeper. Ask yourself big questions with an open mind about everything. Don’t get distracted by trivial and mostly irrelevant controversies manufactured by propagandists. How perfectly should or has any prophet of God lived up to what they taught? Should we expect human to be as perfect as God? If they aren’t perfect, why trust anything they say? What is real history? Who writes it? What biases do they have? How much detail do you need to have before you can say you truly understand what happened and why? Is any summarised version of an event less than 1000 pages long accurate? What are the fruits by which to judge a religion or individual? Can any effort to critically evaluate a denomination or share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ avoid trying to manipulate feelings and thoughts? How can you do it with integrity and sincerity?…..‘Seek and ye shall find’ :)

  7. Garson Abuita

    Suspicion of Catholicism can be found in several post-Protestant American new religious movements of the 19th century. Mormonism and Seventh-day Adventism come to mind. This attitude came at least in part from the broader surrounding culture which was suspicious of Catholic immigration from southern and eastern Europe. Does this have anything to do with it?

  8. I don’t see anything wrong with memorizing and repeating the Lord’s Prayer any more than I see repeating any passage of scripture. It is uplifting and beautiful. Do I want to repeat it as my own personal prayer? No way! I’ve a lot more personal things to discuss with the Lord every morning and evening. The Lord’s Prayer would do me no good.

  9. Phillip C. Smith, Ph.D.

    The Church does not object if any of its members wants to recite the Lord’s Prayer. As one who seeks to pray from what I think and feel I gain so much good and feel closer to God and great love for others by so doing.

    We do have set prayers when it comes to making covenants with God.

  10. There is no power in merely reciting the Lord’s Prayer as if it is a kind of magical incantation. The power is in PRAYING the Lord’s Prayer, and in trusting God’s promises to hear our prayers and answer them – in the way that he knows is best for us. Why we cherish the Lord’s Prayer and pray it often is because it is the prayer that Jesus taught us. Our Lord and Savior, the Son of God, knows the Father’s will perfectly. This prayer that he has taught us is a wonderful blessing, as Dr. Martin Luther’s Small Catechism so beautifully teaches and explains.

  11. Jeff Cunningham

    Jana, Love the name, Flunking Sainthood! I am flunking a lot, but still trying! I agree we should teach this prayer in our church, I remember being taught by my Mom & Grandmother ( I’m 54) and have always remembered it. It is special to me, especially so, as I read the Book Of Mormon as I got older.

  12. My impression has always been that Mormons read the Lord’s prayer fairly often, though daily recitation of it is a personal decision. It was certainly influential in my congregation growing up.

    I’m also surprised the article doesn’t mention Elder Nelson’s (a Mormon apostle’s) talk on the Lord’s Prayer not long ago. He devoted an entire general conference talk to the subject, “Lessons from the Lord’s Prayer” and there’s alot of good insight:

    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/lessons-from-the-lords-prayers

  13. I get what you are saying about the Lord’s Prayer, it is beautiful, and I love reading it frequently. However, please do a little more research on the subtle difference between ordinances and prayer. The Sacrament, Baptism, and Temple ordinances are not ordinary prayers, rather they are exercises of the priesthood. What that means is that the person performing the ordinance is acting in place of the Lord Jesus Christ as if He were performing the rite Himself. These ordinances have been specifically revealed to effectuate the redemption of mankind; they are essential for salvation. Recitation of The Lord’s Prayer is not a saving ordinance, however beautiful it may be.

  14. The best prayers I have ever prayed, as I think back on them have included words like:

    1-“What should I do, in order to…?”
    2-“I need HELP, and I don’t mean ‘Hundreds of Everyday Low Prices.’ ”
    3- “What is the best thing…?”
    4- “I am tired of imperfect doctors making mistakes in treating me. Wilt thou please be my ‘Dear and glorious Physician?’ I will put up with anything, if it be thy will.”

    Besides the Lord’s prayer as an example, there are many instructions on prayer in the Bible, including the one that started Joseph Smith on his own road towards organizing this church: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” [James 1:5]

  15. Where I live, most members are “converts” from other Christian churches, and so most know the Lord’s Prayer, inside and out. (When I was growing up, visiting other denominations, I remember asking a member “Are you debtors, trespassers, or sinners?”!) One sister I know always starts her prayers with the opening verse “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name”.

    So, I agree with the comment that it can be a very powerful prayer, if it is sincerely prayed, and not just recited as part of the weekly collect. It gets to be monotonous after a while.

    We LDS are not forbidden from reciting it for our own prayers, if that’s what we feel is what we want to say to our Heavenly Father, but when we pray in open, we should pray our own words.

  16. If you want to know how Jesus really prayed look at John 17. Try memorizing that. I learned the Lords Prayer at school where we recited it daily standing by our desks. That policy was eventually abandoned by the school board as the teenagers became more sophisticated and the prayer became less relevant. Sure it is the teaching of Jesus but in most situations today it is casting pearls. TFGlenn

  17. Charles Smith

    One of the reasons for not saying the Lord’s Prayer revolves around the idea that prayers are for getting out in the open those things that are in our hearts. By specifically telling our Father in Heaven what is bothering us can be therapeutic in and of itself. Sometimes it allows US to see if there is anything to our fears or even our conclusions about certain issues in our lives.

    Again prayer is the getting out in the open for you to see what might only be a feeling or unexpressed desire. Saying them can help you to see clearly what they are and then our Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost can give you his feeling on the matter.

    I don’t think your parents would like you to greet them with a set paragraph of greetings. Nor would they like to hear of your concerns in a pre-written statement as you coming into their presence. Our Father in Heaven is the same. Prayer is a child speaking to his or her parent. Heaven Father is our parent in heaven and wants to talk to us like the child you and I are.

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