When I was in Basic Training for the Army, prayer was on the most important things that I had to help me through it. Every morning and every night, I would kneel up on my top bunk and pray for strength for me and my friends who were struggling in my unit. One night, when I had finished my prayer and was laying down, I felt someone take my wrist. When I looked down, I saw a girl who slept next to me. Her eyes were filled with tears, and her body was shaking. In a quiet and humble voice, she looked up at me and asked me if I would teach her how to pray.
My example was enough that she saw a difference in the way that I was handling situations in the unit. Most of my comrades and sergeants referred to me as being the most motivated person in the unit. My attitude was different from the rest, my behavior and my actions were different than the others. And apparently it was noticeable. I know that I could not have made it through the struggles of the Army without the power of prayer.
Prayer is something that can be engaged in any time of the day, by anyone. But mostly, prayer is conducted before every meal, in the mornings when an individual wakes up and at night before he goes to sleep. Unlike the Lord’s Prayer, which I learned in a private school in Ireland, personal prayer is not something that is constructed and recited line for line. It’s a personal conversation with the Lord, a moment in the day where you can thank the Lord for things in your life that you consider blessings, and ask for help with the things that you can’t handle on your own.
“Petitioning in prayer has taught me, again and again, that the vault of heaven with all its blessings is to be opened only by a combination lock. One tumbler falls when there is faith; a second when there is personal righteousness; the third and final tumbler falls only when what is sought is, in God’s judgment—not ours—right for us” (Neal A. Maxwell).
While most prayers are serious and a penitent experience, the ones that are more causal and comfortable attract the Holy Ghost to that individual even stronger. One example that still makes me smile to this day is when I was living with my roommate and best friend. After a long day for both of us, we knelt down and began to pray to the Lord for safety and strength. We could both tell that there was a lot of tension in the room, because of the stress that we were both going through. In the middle of the prayer, that my friend was saying, she inadvertently passed gas. I was unable to help how much I laughed at the whole situation. Tears of laughter, started to stream down my cheeks as my friend smiled and continued with the prayer. In the prayer, she stated “thank you heavenly father, for giving us a chance to smile and to laugh in the mist of all our troubles.”
I will never forget that moment, because I had never been happier when saying a prayer. It showed me, that prayers should not be something that is planned, rehearsed, or done just because you feel obligated to say them. Prayers are meant to strengthen the connection between us and the Lord, and bringing the Holy Ghost closer to our hearts and our minds. There is no wrong way to pray, anyone can pray, anytime and in any place, as long as you speak from your heart and believe that the Lord will hear and answer you.