Words of prayers should be clothed in love and respect

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Become mature in efforts- Teach children

Just as members put aside their working clothes and dress themselves in something better when they worship in a temple or a church, so should they, when addressing Heavenly Father, put aside their "working words" and clothe their prayers in "special language of reverence and respect."

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Council of the Twelve, speaking in the Saturday morning session, counseled, ". . . "We use special words that have been sanctified by use in inspired communications, words that have been recommended to us and modeled for us by those we sustain as prophets and inspired teachers."

Elder Oaks pointed out that the special language of prayer follows different forms in different languages, but the principle is always the same. "We should address prayers to our Heavenly Father in words which speakers of that language associate with love and respect and reverence and closeness."

Members who address prayers to Heavenly Father in English have been counseled by the Lord and by Church leaders to use the pronouns thee, thou, thy and thine instead of you, your and yours, Elder Oaks explained.

"In our day the English words thee, thou, thy and thine are suitable for the language of prayer, not because of how they were used anciently but because they are currently obsolete in common English discourse. Being unused in everyday communications, they are now available as a distinctive form of address in English, appropriate to symbolize respect, closeness, and reverence for the one being addressed.

"Literary excellence is not our desire," he remarked. "We do not advocate flowery and wordy prayers. . . . Our prayers should be simple, direct and sincere."

It is not the intent of Church leaders to, while stating the position of the special language in prayers, cause some to be reluctant to pray in Church meetings or in other settings where their prayers are overheard, Elder Oaks explained. "We have particular concern for converts and others who have not yet had experience in using these words.

"I am sure that our Heavenly Father, who loves all of His children, hears and answers all prayers, however phrased. If He is offended in connection with prayers, it is likely to be by their absence, not their phraseology.

"Our earliest efforts will be heard with joy by our Heavenly Father, however they are phrased," he continued. "They will be heard in the same way by loving members of our Church. But as we gain experience as members of the Church . . . , we need to become more mature in all of our efforts, including our prayers."

Elder Oaks counseled members to take the time to learn the special language of prayer and to teach it to children.

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