Prayer defines true worshipper

Is key to salvation

Shapes lives- Changes souls

Prayer is the defining act of a worshipper of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, said Elder David E. Sorensen, who was called to the Seventy last June.

"Prayer brings our desires and the desires of our Father into harmony, thus bringing us both the blessing we are seeking and also the blessing of greater unity with the Father," Elder Sorensen said Saturday afternoon. "This practice is key to the collective and individual salvation of women and men."

He noted that the Savior, speaking to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, exhorted the people at least 10 times to "pray unto the Father in [HisT name."

The Savior's teachings on prayer include the importance of praying during each step of the perfection process and praying for those investigating the Church. He showed that even perfect people, such as Himself, prayed constantly.

Recalling a traumatic event in his family when a son suffered a badly fractured skull and contracted meningitis in the hospital, Elder Sorensen said all they could do was to pray.

"And pray we did. For several weeks our neighbors, friends, and business associates joined us in praying for our son and for our own strength. After almost a month, our son's condition finally stabilized and then improved, and we were blessed to see him eventually recover and smiling again.

"During our son's illness, we saw and felt the spiritual power of prayer! . . . Even as our hearts were breaking in fear that we might lose our son, we felt closer to our Heavenly Father and more aware of our dependency on Him than at almost any other time in our lives."

He said the greatest blessings that come from prayer "are the changes to our souls that come as we learn to be dependent on our Heavenly Father for strength."

He said that Heavenly Father tutors "us to pray because the very act of praying will improve us. Surely as our Creator He knows our cares, our worries, our joys, our struggles, without our informing Him. The reason our Heavenly Father asks us to pray . . . is that the process of learning to communicate effectively with Him will shape and change our lives. . . .

"Aside from participating in the ordinances of the gospel, there is no other time in our lives where we can renew our spiritual life and improve our understanding of our place before Heavenly Father the way we can when we pray."

He continued, "As we humble ourselves to approach our God and thoughtfully consider His grace and great love for us, we will be a more holy and reverent people, more able to receive blessings He will willingly pour out on us."

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