The Lord Himself taught us how to pray in the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 6:5–6 Pray in secret to avoid appearing to be righteous before men.
Vaughn J. Featherstone wrote:
“Now, the Lord taught us to pray in secret. What happens to us when we pray in secret? First, our faith is put to the test. How foolish people would feel who pray alone and really do not believe in God. We can pray in public and people might think we believe, but praying alone takes faith. When we pray alone, there is no one to impress with our command of the language, with our beautiful phrases or eloquence. We simply talk with a loving, interested Father about what is troubling us most. We take problems that no one else, not another living soul, can help us with. We become like little children, feeling a dependence and need for someone wiser and with power and influence. We do not have to worry about embarrassment if our prayers are not answered the way we think they should be, because only we and God know for what we pray. When tears come, there is no embarrassment. We can be totally honest, knowing that we cannot lie to or deceive the Spirit or God. He knows us for our real worth. He knows who and what we really are, not what we seem to be. When we have personal problems or struggles, we can pray and know that these things are kept totally confidential. We can discuss our weaknesses, our sins, our frustrations, our needs, and know that He will listen and respond.” (The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model, 60 – 61.)
Matthew 6:7 Pray from the heart, avoiding “vain repetitions.”
The Lord’s prayer was intended to be an example, not a set of words and phrases to be recited repetitiously.
Matthew 6:9 Pray to our Father in Heaven
Elder J Devn Cornish in the October 2011 General Conference said:
Jesus addressed His Father in an attitude of worship, recognizing His greatness and giving Him praise and thanks. Surely this matter of reverencing God and giving heartfelt and specific thanks is one of the keys to effective prayer.
|Matthew 6:10 Remember that God knows best and pray for His will to be done.|
Francis M. Lyman said
“What a splendid condition would obtain among the Latter-day Saints today, what an improvement there would be among us, if we were to do the will of our Father as it is in heaven! It is possible for us to do the will of our Father. We know what His will is, and we beseech our Father that we may do His will as His will is done in heaven; and when we pray with faith we will be enabled to live up to that prayer and that petition, and this should be the endeavor of every member of this Church. Our thoughts should be brought to that point upon every occasion when we approach the Lord, that his will in us may be done as it is done in heaven.” (Oct. 6, 1895)
|Matthew 6:11 Pray for material or temporal needs.|
Jesus was not telling His disciples to only pray for bread. However bread symbolises our physical needs and God’s care for His children. In the Old Testament we read how he promised to “rain bread from heaven” (Exodus 16:4). What he provided was ‘Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.’ (Exodus 16:31). Wafers made with honey – that sounds pretty delicious to me! The Lord will bless us when we approach him with our needs.
Matthew 6:12 Pray for forgiveness from sins
In this verse the Lord makes a very clear link between our being forgiven of debts (or sins) and our forgiving others.
Matthew 6:13 Pray to avoid temptation
Joseph Smithtaught that a better rendition of this verse is “leave us not in temptation.” (Andrus,They Knew the Prophet, p. 87)
Elder J Devn Cornish said:
Thus, in our prayers we may begin the protective process of putting on the whole armor of God (see Ephesians 6:11; D&C 27:15) by looking forward to the day ahead and asking for help with the sometimes frightening things we may face. Please, my friends, do not forget to ask the Lord to protect and be with you.