The efficacy of prayer

jesus-praying-in-gethsemane-39591-galleryCan there be any prayer more beautiful than those we fervently pray, with all the power of our being, not for ourselves, but in behalf of those we love? Such prayers, poured out tearfully from the very depths of our souls, are profound in their simplicity and fervency, and surely pleasing unto the Father.

But we be mere mortals, and as we look to our Great Exemplar, we ask, are there any more beautiful prayers than those which our Lord prayed in behalf of others? The night before His Crucifixion, in what is known as the Great Intercessory Prayer, Jesus prayed for His Apostles and all of the Saints.

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine…

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word…

that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (1)(John 17:9, 20, 26).

Of such, we read in another witness of our Lord and Savior:

“…behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.

And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;

And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.

… and when he had done this he wept” (2)

We shall not in this life pray such a prayer as was His, but we can aspire to such. There will come a time, if it has not already come, when each one of
us will have reason to look pleadingly to Heaven. Are we not better suited for such moments when our hearts are pure and our hands clean? While there is time then, let us avail ourselves of the priceless gift of repentance, that our prayers might avail much as we kneel before Heaven.

When sailing on life’s stormy sea,
‘Mid billows of despair,
‘Tis solace to my soul to know
God hears my secret prayer.

When thorns are strewn along my path,
And foes my feet ensnare,
My Savior to my aid will come,
If sought in secret prayer. (3)

And yet, it be in the providence and mercy of the Lord, that even the sinner in times of trial may be bid back to the path through, and in times of, harsh trial. Let us not suppose that Heaven is not pleased when the sinner repents, and turns from his ways:

“Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice,
Returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice
And cry, “Behold, he prays!” (4)

I bear my humble witness that God hears our every fervent prayer, for He lives! Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and our Redeemer. He loves us, more than words can say. Lovingly, He pleads, “pray always, that I might heal you.” Of this I testify, in His holy name, even Jesus Christ, amen.

1) John 17: 9, 20, 26
2) 3 Nephi: 15-17, 22 The Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ
3) “Secret Prayer” Hans Henry Petersen, 1835-1909
4) “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire” James Montgomery 1771-1854