Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day and evening.
Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.
- Alma 34:19-27
The regularity and sincerity of our personal and family prayers are, to some extent, a measure of our faith in God. Prayer is pure and genuine worship. A person on bended knee, head bowed, pouring out one's soul to one's Maker, asking for guidance, seeking solutions to problems, expressing appreciation for countless blessings, and acknowledging the hand of Diety in all things, demonstrates the essence of faith and reverence.
We may not always have beautiful church buildings to aid in our worship; we may not always be able to enjoy inspiring choirs or uplifting talks by gifted speakers. But no matter what our location or circumstance, we will always have prayer, one-on-one communication with our Heavenly Father.
It is ironic that an act of worship so simple – yet so eloquent and majestic – would be under attack by those who would forbid it in school events and in other public places.
It is heartening, however, that even as these attacks occur, U.S. President George Bush would issue a spirited and eloquent document proclaiming May 3, 1990, as a National Day of Prayer.
"I invite the people of the United States to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, for the renewal of our Nation's moral heritage and for God's blessing upon each of us, especially our children," President Bush proclaimed.
The proclamation begins: " `More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,' wrote Lord Tennyson more than a century ago. Our Nation's history and the lives of millions of men and women around the world provide compelling evidence of the power of faith and the efficacy of prayer.
"The Bible tells us what we have often seen for ourselves: that God answers the prayers of those who place their trust in Him.
"So great was the faith of our Founding Fathers, and so firm was their belief in the need for God's blessing upon their bold experiment in self-government, that they frequently turned to Him in prayer both as individuals and as a community.
"Indeed, the first act of the Continental Congress, the same body that declared America's independence, was a prayer. Thomas Jefferson and other founders believed that the God who gives us life gives us liberty as well, and if the American people are to keep a truly free and democratic government, they must acknowledge their dependence on His mercy and guidance. Thus, when they pledged to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in support of the Declaration of Independence, they did so `with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence.' "
President Bush suggested that we dedicate National Day of Prayer, 1990, to the safety and well-being of our children. "Today, amidst our many blessings, we see the destruction of too many lives in their earliest flower – too many young minds lost to drugs, delinquency, and despair.
"I therefore ask my fellow Americans to join with me in prayer for our children. Let us strive to help each of them sink their roots into the rich soil of God's love for the beings He has made in His own image. Let us show them through prayer that we, too, like our Nation's founders, seek our shelter – our rock and our salvation – in the arms of God. Finally, let us dedicate this Nation once more to the protection of Divine Providence. . . ."
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, may we lend our support to this National Day of Prayer as we follow the scriptural admonitions to "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17).