Nephi teaches about the sacred power of prayer to consecrate action taken with a sincere desire to serve God.
“…If ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.” (2 Nephi 32:8-9)
-Is it easy to see prayer as being ineffectual if you are measuring outcomes by whether God is doing what you want Him to?
-How often is your will different than God’s will?
-Have you ever thought of prayer as a way to ask God’s blessing on the actions you take with a sincere desire to serve Him? How often would this kind of prayer be ineffectual?
-When it comes to the welfare of our souls, would God ever dismiss our best efforts to do His will when coupled with a prayer that the efforts will be in line with His will and consecrated in His eyes?
-How does the Atonement of Jesus Christ allow the good we do (in our imperfect efforts) to be treasured up in heaven by the Father?
-Can you see why evil spirits strive to diminish the importance of prayer in our hearts and minds (so that the precious connection with God and His will is also diminished)?
-Unless we are willfully doing things that we know are wrong, is there anything we do that shouldn’t be performed “unto the Lord?”
Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:
“We should pray frequently. We should be alone with our Heavenly Father at least two or three times each day—‘morning, mid-day, and evening,’ as the scripture indicates. (Alma 34:21.) In addition, we are told to pray always. (See 2 Ne. 32:9; D&C 88:126.) This means that our hearts should be full, drawn out in prayer unto our Heavenly Father continually. (See Alma 34:27.)” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson , 52).
“No earthly authority can separate us from direct access to our Creator. There can never be a mechanical or electronic failure when we pray. There is no limit on the number of times or how long we can pray each day. There is no quota of how many needs we wish to pray for in each prayer. We do not need to go through secretaries or make an appointment to reach the throne of grace. He is reachable at any time and any place” (James E. Faust, “The Lifeline of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2002, 59).
“His answers will seldom come while you are on your knees praying, even when you may plead for an immediate response. Rather, He will prompt you in quiet moments when the Spirit can most effectively touch your mind and heart. Hence, you should find periods of quiet time to recognize when you are being instructed and strengthened” (Richard G. Scott, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 9).
“If any of us has been slow to hearken to the counsel to pray always, there is no finer hour to begin than now. William Cowper declared, ‘Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees’ [‘Exhortation to Prayer,’ in Olney Hymns]” (Thomas S. Monson, “A Royal Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 61).
Teachings of the Seventy:
“It is as tragic to think we are too sinful to pray as it is for a very sick person to believe he is too sick to go to the doctor!” (J. Devn Cornish, “The Privilege of Prayer,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 103).