An individual started the prayer by addressing our Heavenly Father. He gave gratitude for the atonement of Jesus Christ. He expressed a sincere heart felt thank you to God for many specific things. He then petitioned God for help and pleaded for blessings upon others, locally, nationally, and worldwide. He verbally explained to God certain situations and how heavenly assistance, mercy, and grace were desperately needed.
After conversing with God a few minutes, he paused, and someone else in the congregation (about 30 in number) began praying. Their prayers were sincere and heart felt. They did not multiply words, 3 Nephi 19:24 but spoke by the spirit with real intent Moroni 7:6-9, Moroni 10:4-5. About five to seven people prayed following this pattern of expressing their desires and gratitude to God. They spent the majority of their time praying for others. The prayer was closed in the name of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps what I enjoyed the most was the feeling I had inside. I felt that the words spoken were real and had meaning. They came from the heart. It was a touching experience for me and left an impression on my mind and soul.
Having experienced this “new” pattern of prayer, we were prompted to implement it in family. A couple months ago, we began using this approach to pray together at mealtime and during morning devotional. At first it seemed very novel and out of the ordinary, but now it feels accepted, established, and inspiring.
At family prayer, dad assigns someone the responsibility to begin and close the family prayer. Each family member has the opportunity to freely speak to God as the spirit guides. Sometimes just three or four people pray verbally while the others are silent. Other times nearly everyone feels to participate and speak to God. Everyone has the opportunity to express his or her heart to God and commune with heaven.
Since we have implemented this practice, it has proved to be a very positive experience for our entire family. We tend to perceive and identify more circumstances and needs around us. We now pray a lot more for each other and our neighbors (friends and enemies alike). The words actually have more meaning and purpose. The children enjoy hearing their individual needs and desires expressed to God by their parents and siblings. Everyone seems to take great joy in hearing specific prayers in their behalf.
We, as parents, have been astounded by the power of a sincere and simple prayer coming from a child. Adults can pray like children too, but it takes humility, meekness, and faith, accompanied by sincere desire. We feel very blessed to have become aware of this way of praying. We are amazed at the improvement we have witnessed in our family life. Our connection with heaven is more solid and each member feels more empowered and happy.
As we petition God for specific help, sacrifice our own will to conform to the will of God, and reach out to others, then miracles happen, blessings appear, and help from heaven comes. We are all much more excited to communicate with God through prayer than ever before because He really does hear and answer prayers.