There are few periods of my life where I have consistently prayed in the LDS model: kneeling at the side of my bed and addressing God with the recommended salutation, voicing supplication, and closing in the name of the Savior. First of all, I rarely kneel (it’s rather uncomfortable given some chronic inflammation in my left knee), and even though I might begin a prayer with the prototypical “Dear Heavenly Father,…” my personal prayers generally diverge at that point, becoming a stream-of-consciousness review of all that is preoccupying my mind.
In discussing prayer with friends this week, many said that they felt frustrated with the recommended morning, night and evening prayers, as they felt like the “vain repetitions” that we are warned about in the New Testament. Others spoke of the unexpected divine epiphanies that have come only rarely, and not necessarily when head is bowed. One friend said that for her prayer is usually about communion with God and not about receiving answers to specific requests. Yet another friend expressed frustration about praying with her husband because he was uncomfortable with her addressing both Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father.
As I listened to everyone’s experiences with prayer, I marveled at the variety of stories that were shared. I thought about my life and how significant prayer has been in many of my decisions. I reflected on prayers that have brought comfort during times when I thought I would be crushed under the weight of disappointment and sorrow. And I smiled as I reflected on my current practice of meditative prayer—at the warm satisfaction I feel when sitting in silence and connecting to the Divine.
So I thought I would bring the topic of prayer to you, asking you to share insights about your personal practice of prayer. How often do you pray? Do you kneel at your bedside? How do you overcome the feeling that prayer is a ‘vain repetition’? And how does a regular practice of prayer affect your daily life?