I have been thinking a lot about what it means to “pray always.”
When the Savior appeared to His people after His resurrection He commanded them to “pray always.” In 3 Nephi 18 we read that He placed those two simple words together several times. They were words declared for the benefit of our protection, well-being and preservation. He spoke those words because He loves us and wants us to be safe.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him” (3 Nephi 18:15).
One in doubt may ask, “Can we pray always? Can we walk through our daily lives dealing with all of the distractions, trials, joys, flirtations, just walking up and down the stairs of life attaining one destination after another, and keep our heads bowed in prayer, without risk of tripping and falling into disaster?”
A person of faith and practiced prayer would more likely ask, “How can we not pray always?” If we go through life‘s distractions, trials and temptations, joys and flirtations, and a vast array of decisions to be made without seeking higher wisdom than our own, tripping and falling will be the certain result. If we attempt to endure sorrow or emotional unrest without seeking comfort and understanding of one who possesses true and boundless empathy, we may be lost to the utmost depths of despair. If we fail to take hold of the Savior’s ever outreached hand we will never have the strength to reach the heights available to all of us as sons and daughters of God.
Truly, all praying is not done with one’s eyes closed, but in our hearts we can bow our heads in reverence and recognition that there is someone whose purpose and glory it is to lift us to immortality and eternal life (Moses 1:39), and therefore to pray always is to show greater wisdom and practicality than to walk alone thinking that we know where we are going and what we are doing.
We should pray in our churches, we should pray in our families, we should pray in places where we gather, and in closets where we are alone. We should lift our voices in prayers of thanksgiving and wanting, and we should pray silently in our hearts when the only one we trust to hear will always be listening.
Our Savior Jesus said, “…always pray unto the Father in my name; And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you” (3 Nephi 18:19-20). This is a simple admonition from the only one who is trusted by all, even the Father, to bless us with everything that life and eternity can afford, even salvation. I pray silently in the depths of my heart, and I shout with full voice rejoicing prayers of hope and faith, that we may take the Lord for His word, and “pray always.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.