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Prayer is defining act of worship

"The Savior puts great emphasis on prayer in the Book of Mormon," said Elder David E. Sorensen of the Seventy at the April 1993 general conference. "He repeatedly and personally prayed with and for the Nephites. And after He did this, He asked them to follow His example:

" Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him."And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you.' " (3 Ne. 18:15-16; see also 3 Ne. 18:24; 19:17-34; 27:21.)

Elder Sorensen said, "In fact, Christ specifically exhorts the Nephites at least ten times to `pray unto the Father in

HisT name.' (3 Ne. 18:19; see also 3 Ne. 13:6-9; 14:11; 17:3; 18:20-21, 23; 20:31; 21:27; 27:2-7, 9, 28.)

"Christ taught that prayer is indispensable at each step of the perfection process, but especially at the very beginning. For example, He taught that one of the key reasons for the restoration of the gospel was so that scattered Israel could pray to the Father in the name of Christ:

" `Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name." (3 Ne. 21:27; emphasis added.)

"Furthermore, He taught that we in the Church are to pray on behalf of those who are investigating the Church. (See 3 Ne. 18:23-30.) He encouraged those who had heard His words to ponder them and to pray to the Father in His name for increased understanding. (See 3 Ne. 17:3.) And, of course, he showed us that even perfected people, such as even Himself, should pray constantly.

"At each level of our progression toward becoming like our Heavenly Father, prayer is a necessary step. Once we have tasted of His goodness, Christ encourages us to pray often - in secret, in our families, in our churches, and in our hearts, continually asking specifically for the things which we need - telling us, `And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.' (3 Ne. 18:20.)

"Christ taught the Nephites that prayer is more than just a means to receive our Father in Heaven's generosity; rather, prayer itself is an act of faith as well as an act of righteousness. Prayer is the defining act of the worshipper of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This is because the act of prayer itself can change and purify us, both individually and as a group. As our Bible Dictionary states, `The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.' (p. 753.)

"In other words, prayers bring 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. This practice is key to the collective and individual salvation of women and men."

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