The National Day of Prayer in the United States is an observance held on the first Thursday of May. This year, President Russell M. Nelsons shared a powerful message on social media about how prayer can be used as a tool to inspire righteous action. He also shared numerous pictures of his opportunities to minister around the world. President Nelson said:
On this National Day of Prayer, I have been pondering the evolving meaning in our society of the phrase “thoughts and prayers.” For many, this is still a sincere expression of condolence and concern. For others, it is viewed as a perceived lack of action in the face of tragedy.
I have a firm belief that praying for those in need is pleasing to God; in fact, He commands us to turn to Him and to pray for others! However, it is my own personal experience that when I ask God in prayer for direction on what I can do to help minister, lift, love, and support those in need, He answers these prayers with specific and simple things I can actually do to bless one of His children.
I invite you to consider how your thoughts and prayers can be a catalyst for God to inspire and direct you toward acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity. Imagine how much good you could do in the world—and in your own family, school, and workplace. As we seek to be His healing and helping hands, we surely will exalt the Lord.
Here are a few of the comments left on President Nelson’s post:
“I love posts like this and others that ask for prayers on behalf of their loved ones. It’s a great opportunity to seek silent ways to plead with the Lord for others and bless my relationship with Him.”
“Thank you so much for this President Nelson! I always offer thoughts and prayers, and I follow through with an actual prayer for the person. However, there is much more I could and should do. I will be sure to ask for specific direction from now on to make sure I am helping in a more tangible way as well as offering a sincere prayer.”
“This is so timely for me. I am friends with a refugee family who was just relocated again within Utah and they are really struggling for friendship and help. I felt overwhelmed with how to help them knowing I can’t do it all on my own. I’ve been praying for them and have received small answers of actions that I can take. Things I can actually do to make a difference and it has calmed my anxiety over their situation. I know that God hears and answers our prayers when we sincerely want to help and lift another of His children. My testimony of prayer and of a living prophet has been strengthened today!”
Latter-day Saints believe in praying often, individually, as families, and in public settings where appropriate. The Church’s Gospel Topic essay on prayer states, “As we make a habit of approaching God in prayer, we will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Our desires will become more like His. We will be able to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that He is ready to give if we will but ask in faith.”
You can learn more about the basics of prayer here. Check out some of our related articles below on how we can follow President Nelson’s counsel.