Prophets, apostles, and even the Savior himself occupy a large amount of our chronological real estate teaching us about our own personal prayers. How and why do we pray? And what do we pray for?
How: Matthew 6:6-8: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
Why: D&C 19:38: “Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing—yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof.”
What: Alma 34 20-25: “Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.”
How often, however, do we think and ponder about other people's prayers? This is important, because more often than not, we are either 1) mentioned in their prayers, or 2) the answer to their prayers.
Parents: do you pray for your children to grow up physically, spiritually, and emotionally healthy?
Bishops, youth leaders, seminary instructors, brothers and sisters, medical professionals and counselors: you are an answer to prayers.
Are you struggling? Odds are that you are in someone else's prayers.
Here's a tiny quiet example from the Mormon Third Eye executive collection of inspiration stories:
Suzy Beewhyyou was walking into Staples one pleasant sunny afternoon when she noticed an elderly African-American lady (she had to be someone's grandmother- we're going to call her Mabel- I don't know her real name) standing precariously in front of the store, leaning on a cane and sporting a confused look. Suzy paused for a moment then asked if she needed some help. “I need to pay my bill at Dress Barn,” she responded in a slow, tired tone. Further discussion revealed that her niece had dropped off car-less Mabel at the wrong location; Dress Barn was actually still several long parking lots away. Suzy, who was in no particular hurry to accomplish her morning errands, offered to help. “Let me pick up what I need first, then I'll give you a ride there!”
Suzy came out of Staples a few minutes later, kindly escorted the old lady to the car, and made the short drive over to Dress Barn. Suzy deposited Mabel in front of Dress Barn, then made sure that Mabel knew where to go to be picked up by her niece. Just before Suzy drove away, Mabel thanked her with “God just sends people to you!”
A prayer answered. Is someone praying for you? Are you ready to answer prayers?