Friday, June 23, 2017

Prayer Contrast

Sometimes contrast is worth more than a thousand words.  It can really provide clarity and sharpen the image you are looking at.

In the past 3 months two different people with LDS backgrounds were both asked about prayer. One of them is an Apostle in the LDS church sustained as a prophet seer and revelator. The other was excommunicated from the church by the leaders for apostasy. The first claims authority.  The second claims no authority other than the truth shared. They both answer a similar question about how to improve ones personal prayers.  The answers are very different and each very informative but in markedly different ways.  I'll share both, along with a third example by a prophet from scripture that I find relevant to the other two.  

So here are the three, in random order.  Notice the contrast between the speakers familiarity with God and subsequently the closeness (or lack of) they then advocate and teach others is possible.

See if, based purely on the content of each quote, which you think was said by which. Apostle, apostate, or scriptural prophet, and then see the answers in the comment section.  See if number 2 or 3 would most improve the next prayer you offer.

Number 1:

For I spoke to him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.

Number 2: 

We've received many, many questions about becoming better at praying in general.  Question: "I'm a senior in high school, and I'm having trouble having good prayers, more like conversations with God. Do you have any suggestions, or what do you do?"

I'll start by saying, be modest in your expectations. God is close, and He loves you. And He would love to have a conversation, but remember He is God. And the idea that you're going to--I always worry when someone is speaking to Him in too familiar a way, because it is not easy. Heavenly Father's words, His ideas, are not exactly ours.

And so the idea of having really a conversation where you're chatting with Heavenly Father is probably a little bit of a lofty goal. My own feeling is, I pray as if He's there, as if He is listening. And He is listening. I believe He's always sending messages to me. I really do.

But sometimes there's long silences, for me at least. And so when [Questioner] speaks, you see, of a conversation in her prayers, she's making it sound a little more casual than I think it's possible to be. We're dealing with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  And They are so far above us in terms of Their powers that--in fact, I've been with people who chat as if they're chatting when I've heard them pray. And I thought, "You're a little more familiar than I am with that one."

Because I would think that if you can just get the feeling that He is hearing you, and then if, on occasion, answers come back often clearly in your mind--sometimes not--maybe by just reading the scriptures. I think the answer comes that way. But the conversation is not quite like he [pointing to associate] and I together, for instance.

We talk with each other, and it's very personal.  [Associate] and I have had wonderful conversations. But I don't have conversations with Heavenly Father like that, at least I don't. I do a lot of the asking. And then I wait and then I wait. And then answers come, but not in what you'd call a conversational mode. 

Number 3

Question: I know you are used to far more profound questions, but do you have any suggestions on how to make prayer meaningful? I find it hard to pray, given that God knows whats in my head and what I will say, but I have been making an effort to pray more. Any tips?


Talk like you are addressing your most intimate friend and have nothing to hide. Tell Him about your regrets, hopes, frustrations, concerns, fears, and confusion. Before long you will discover that whatever you care about God also cares about. He can give perspective that changes everything. Prayer should not recognize the distance between us and God, but should become the way we close that distance.

End of examples. 

Side note: 
There is a fairly clear pattern of prayer by those who know the Lord.  It's my view that God is not the one requiring continued distance between us and Him and putting his hand up to keep us at a distance.  It is us that keeps God at a distance because of the things we are often taught.  Something Nephi prophesied about: false teachings and corrupt precepts of men, which cause even the humble followers of Christ to err.   


  1. Can you provide the references?

    1. 1. 1 Nephi 11:11

      2. Henry B. Eyring. Face to Face with President Eyring and Elder Holland March 4, 2017.

      As seen in the video Elder Holland agreed with Elder Eyring. And confirmed prayer will NOT be familiar. He quotes President David O McKay and cited his example that dressing appropriately to pray was something Elder Holland felt worth while to tell a worldwide audience of youth.

      3. Denver Snuffer