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One Thing You’re Forgetting When You Pray

If you’re praying for God’s healing Balm of Gilead, remember that other people are too. You might be surprised how serving others will call down the power of heaven on your own behalf.

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Mortality is hard for all of us—nothing we do can earn us a pass from the “sore trials” of this life.  But during heartbreak and challenge, faith-filled people “think to pray” (“Did You Think to Pray, Hymns, no. 140). We pray because we believe that God’s healing “Balm of Gilead” has the power to fix what’s broken in our lives. 

God wants to give us that healing balm, but he asks that we do more than just pray for it: he asks us to serve others. In the BYU devotional “Improving Our Prayers,” Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin teaches this fascinating principle about our role as we make requests from our Heavenly Father. Elder Wirthlin says that one reason “our prayers have little power is because we fail to succor those in need around us.” In other words, to request the Balm of Gilead, we have to give it out. 

This principle may feel counterintuitive. When we’re suffering, isn’t God supposed to send someone to our rescue? Why would he ask us to go to someone else’s? When we ask God for things that we need, let’s also remember that many people around us are sending their personal pleas up to heaven too. If we go on God’s errand to help them, God surely will do the same for us. Elder Wirthlin explains it like this: “As we are to those in need, so our Heavenly Father will be to us in our time of need.”

So when we pray for God’s healing, we can remember that our prayer belongs to a chorus of pleas ascending to heaven. Next time we think to pray, let’s also think to serve.  

Discover the other concepts Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin teaches about prayer by reading his full address “Improving Our Prayers.”

Source: BYU Speeches

—Jamie Kathryn LeSueur, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

Read Carli Hanson’s Latter-day Saint Insights article “Power Up Your Prayers” for other tips on improving your prayers.

See Sister Bonnie H. Cordon’s BYU devotional address, “Ask of God: Our Solace, Guide, and Stay,” to hear how Sister Cordon uses prayer to cultivate a powerful relationship with Heavenly Father.

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  1. I love the idea of us each being the answer to each other’s prayers, and that we can help others even when we’re the ones who are hurting.

    • Latter-Day Saint Insights Team

      Thank you for adding your own beautiful insights to this article. Comments like yours can help uplift and comfort readers, so we hope to keep hearing from you!

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