Questions and Answers about
1. If more people pray for a request, does that make it more probable that it will be granted?
President Ezra Taft Benson wrote,
"We should teach that an effective public prayer depends more on the feeling of the individual than the words he uses. Therefore, developing a spirit of prayer through a proper life can best qualify a person to give a meaningful public prayer. Without this, the prayer becomes hollow and does not inspire."
In other words, it doesn't matter if it is one person praying, or a group of people. If the prayer comes from the heart, God will respond. What we have to remember is sometimes the answer is "no", or may come later than we want.
2. Isn't it kind of inconsistent to pray to God (a request for God to intervene) for some other person to know and to believe in God? (Or to thank God that this person "came to" God?)
No, it isn't. It's absolutely necessary. In the Book of Mormon, Alma the Younger, son of Alma the Prophet, was persecuting and fighting against the church. One day, an angel appeared to Alma and his friends as they were off teaching against the church. The angel said,
"Nevertheless he cried again, saying: Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people. And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith." (Mosiah 27:13-14)
It was because of the prayers of his father and others that Alma the Younger stopped persecuting the church, and became one of its strongest members. There are thousands of experiences like this, in one way or another. Most aren't as dramatic, but all are real.
3. Assuming that God knows all, and knows your need before you ask Him of a need, then is a prayer really necessary?
Prayer is not just to ask God for things. When we call our parents, or our friends, is that all we do is ask them for things? Prayer is necessary both for petitioning God, and strengthening our relationship with him. President Spencer W. Kimball wrote:
"When we pray, do we just speak, or do we also listen? Our Savior ... stands and knocks. If we do not listen, he will not sup with us nor give answer to our prayers. We must learn how to listen, grasp, interpret, understand. The Lord stands knocking. He never retreats. But he will never force himself upon us. If our distance from him increases, it is we who have moved and not the Lord. And should we ever fail to get an answer to our prayers, we must look into our own lives for a reason.
"The blessing of revelation is one that all should seek for. Righteous men and women find that they have the spirit of revelation to direct their families and to aid them in their other responsibilities. But, like Abraham, we must seek to qualify for such revelation by setting our lives in order and by becoming acquainted with the Lord through frequent and regular conversations with him.
"Prayer provides assurance God lives. He had abandoned his Lord. I said, "How often do you pray?" "Well, not so very often." "Why don't you pray?" "I am not sure anymore." "Why aren't you sure anymore?" Because you have cut all the communication lines. You have lost his address. You do not have his telephone number even, and you do not have any address. The communication lines have been severed. How do you expect to know whether he is living or dead? If you went for two years without ever hearing from your parents and they were in the opposite end of the world, how would you know if they were alive or dead? How do you know if God is dead or alive if you have lost communication? Now, you get on your knees, my boy. If you want to be happy, get on your knees and crawl on your knees to the city of happiness. Only there is peace. Apparently, the "thinkers" spend years in their spiritual conflicts when hours on knees in prayer and contemplation could bring them a true knowledge. Arrogant, egotistical man with his limitations in thought, experience, knowledge, trying to deal independently with the existence and life of his Creator, with the being of his Lord. Why will these belabored souls clumsily stagger in the dark with shuffling feet, and reaching hands for something they yearn for but do not recognize nor grasp?"
4. Praying the "Lord's Prayer", what are we really saying? And, what's the point of saying it if we are "commanded" (by scriptures) to say it?
Jesus didn't command us to use the Lord's Prayer, He just said it was a model or template we should follow. The words of that particular prayer show that we recognize our relationship to God, and His Sacred nature. We acknowledge our obedience and faith to Him. We thank Him for our blessings, and acknowledge that He is the true provider of all we have. It teaches us to seek humility, and tolerance for friends and adversaries. Finally, it teaches us to lean on God for help and strength because only He has the light and power to get us through the dark times, and entrance back to His presence.
5. How about "prayer requests" of the TV evangelists? Isn't that a bit silly?
Only if they charge money or compensation for them. Other than that, No, it's not silly. James 5:16 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."