Names on the Prayer Roll

By: Guy Templeton
January 31, 2013

Not an actual image

Mormons have the opportunity to submit names for special prayers in the temple.  The names are placed on the altars of the temple, and God is asked to bless those whose names lie on the altars of the temple.  I believe they are there for about 2 weeks before they are removed.

Have you ever submitted your own name to the temple?

  • Yes (56%, 53 Votes)
  • No (44%, 41 Votes)

Total Voters: 94

Loading ... Loading ...

Is it acceptable to submit your own name to the temple?

  • Yes, any time you want (55%, 51 Votes)
  • Yes, only if you're seeking a special blessing (32%, 29 Votes)
  • Generally you shouldn't submit your own name (13%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 92

Loading ... Loading ...

Tags: , , , ,

21 Responses to Names on the Prayer Roll

  1. Last Lemming on January 31, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    With respect to the caption under the…uhhh…whatever it is that depicts a box with a slot in the top. I am reminded of this painting. It depicts a pipe, with the caption (in French) “This is not a pipe.” Meaning that it is an image of a pipe, not an actual pipe. Now we have a caption that denies that what appears to be an image of a box is an “actual image.” I must confess that your attempt at high art has lost me. What are seeing here?

    In fact, I’m so confused, I think I’ll put my name into an actual box in the temple intended for prayer requests for help sorting it out.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  2. Last Lemming on January 31, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    What I needed was an error message that said “This is not an actual backslash” after the first italicized word.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  3. Andrew S on January 31, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    ^it’s a photoshop of an actual image.

    dang. this is so meta.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  4. Hedgehog on January 31, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Presumably submission is to obtain a blessing, even if any time you want. Isn’t every blessing special or when is a blessing a special blessing?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  5. Roger on January 31, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    I am anxious to learn about this practice. All of my TBM family members are speeding to different temples to place the name of a near relation combatting a very serious illness. I have been trying to understand what special efficacy these efforts lead to and here, in all serendipity, I find this OP.

    I ask, in all sincerity, why would greater weight be given by Deity to a prayer request in the temple than to the plaintive request from a mother sitting next to her newborn in a NICU?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  6. Mike S on January 31, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Roger: All of my TBM family members are speeding to different temples to place the name of a near relation combatting a very serious illness.

    Have them save gas.

    Temple prayer rolls work by a person’s faith – not the number of temples where a name is submitted.

    If someone REALLY wants to have a name in more than one temple, you don’t actually have to drive there in person either. While it currently isn’t possible to submit a name online, you can call the temple and submit it over the phone.

    If they are really eager, the numbers for all of the temples are here: http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/schedules/

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  7. Jeff Spector on January 31, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Let’s not give anyone any ideas the the more Temples = more chance of blessings.

    Oh, brother!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  8. MH on January 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Roger, I think the rationale behind the temple prayers is similar to a ward fast: get more people involved, and hope that God listens. The parable of the Unjust Judge comes to mind.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  9. Sherry on January 31, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    I’ve always wondered WHY the prayer roll at all. Keep in mind I was an active temple goer for decades and always sincerely put names on, with much faith, etc. I even looked down on NOMO’s who had prayer groups because I thought they were “less then” temple prayer rolls and they didn’t know any better. As a women, I also believed my simple prayer at the bedside of a sick child was less effective than my DH (now my X – another story) giving said child a p-hood blessing. Using logic, I now see NO difference – a sincere prayer is a prayer is a prayer – no matter where it is offered, IMHO. If indeed our prayers are heard, then please tell me logically WHY they are more effective if offered in the prayer circle in a temple? If that is true, then why bother to pray anywhere else? Why not call every temple, every day and place names on the prayer rolls? I’m not trying to be contrary, just trying to figure out WHY? In my mature, wiser years, I feel that our prayers are personal, not for show of any kind, and they are heard, even if not answered how we would like them to be. Prayer is simply a form of communication between me and my Mother and Father. Why should my Mormon prayer, in or outside of a Mormon temple, be “better” than someone of another faith? I don’t believe it is…

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 9

  10. Jenna on January 31, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Honestly, I think the temple prayer rolls just help people feel like they are doing something in a difficult situation. I have put relatives names on there often when they are ill or suffering and I feel useless. It is comforting to come to the temple and pray with others about situations that make us feel helpless. This is probably why I am less likely to put my own name there except in dire emergencies, since I can usually act on my own behalf and therfors feel less helpless

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  11. Rigel Hawthorne on January 31, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    I agree with Jenna in that the person placing the name there does forge a spiritual connection to that person’s situation that is unifying. My mother had, unbenownst to me, been putting my name on the prayer role for months that I would (end my status as a menace to society and) get married. I really lucked out in so many ways when I found my wife and the narrowness of the timespan where our paths crossed make me believe that God was watching out for me on that critical decision. As a nod to Sherry’s comment,though, I’ve always felt like my parents prayers were very beneficial to me throughout the mission and college years away from home. Something about the temple role being added in my behalf (although I wouldn’t have been happy to have heard it at the time) brings me retrospective gratitude for that time in my life.

    With our youngest son, we went home from an ultrasound test being told that a miscarriage would happen shortly. Well, we waited and nothing happened. A brother in my ward called the temple and placed our family’s name on the temple list continually throughout the pregnancy, checking with me for approval to continue to do so. As a nod to Jenna’s comment, I think he did have a postive feeling that he was doing something for us, and I, by all means, was not going to decline the potential to have more prayers offered in my behalf. But, after he was born, we knew it was time for our personal prayers to take the place of the prayers being offered in a prayer circle. Why stop? Just the feeling we had and the recognition that our time for that added number of prayers had passed. It was time for that service to be applied to someone else.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  12. Geoff - A on January 31, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    To add a lighter note. I’m told by a temple worker that each name is now checked befor it goes on the alter because some people were putting in the name of their football team.

    I bet Romneys name appeared a lot before the election.

    The football team is definitely inapropriate, not sure whether any other use could be inapropriate?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  13. Roger on January 31, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    Geoff—

    Any and all lightheartedness is appreciated.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  14. graceforgrace on January 31, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Geoff,

    I should have put the Seattle Seahawks on the prayer roll and they could have been in the Super Bowl this weekend! Dang!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  15. graceforgrace on January 31, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Sherry,

    I have wondered about the prayer roll as well. I used to be a temple worker. What I liked about the prayer role is uniting together and praying.
    What I didn’t like about it was the ritualistic approach and also the fact that the prayers were generic and impersonal.
    I realize that people want privacy, so it may be hard to do, but I would like to see people unite in prayer and pray specifically for people as individuals. I’ve always liked how my family who is in a different Christian faith unites together and holds hands and each person who feels moved to pray does so out of the sincerity of their hearts.
    If we could somehow approach it that way in the temple, it would be more impactful, I think.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  16. Sherry on February 1, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    thank you graceorgrace…..

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  17. Jettboy on February 1, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    “also the fact that the prayers were generic and impersonal.”

    I have never got that impression. Every time there has been at least one thing in the prayer where I walk away thinking “wow, how did they know I or someone I know needed that?” Of course it was a rhetorical question to my spiritual self.

    If you ask why prayer rolls then you must ask the question why temples at all? They are a special holy place where Heaven and Earth meet together.

    “If indeed our prayers are heard, then please tell me logically WHY they are more effective if offered in the prayer circle in a temple? If that is true, then why bother to pray anywhere else? Why not call every temple, every day and place names on the prayer rolls? I’m not trying to be contrary, just trying to figure out WHY?”

    Because God said so. Take it up with Him. I say that in all sincerity because Jesus went to the Temple a lot and even defended it against money changers, and the Apostles after that. Well, to sort of answer why not call every temple every day; its because most of us are lazy, although no one said you can’t do lots of kinds of praying.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  18. Melody on February 2, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    In response to Roger’s question: My personal feeling about this is that when a group of people gather for the specific purpose of offering prayer on behalf of others; and when these people join hands or otherwise physically connect with each other there is a sort of metaphysical energy created by the faith of all concerned — an amplified supplication made to the heavens, if you will, for those of us who believe someone in the heavens is watching and listening.

    I remember reading Betty Edie’s-sp? book many years ago wherein she describes a near-death experience in which she witnessed (among other things) people’s prayers as actual physical beams of light eminating from their heads/bodies upward and that these visible prayers were attended to by angels. Some were brighter, others were dim. The brighter beams were attended to more rapidly. So, if one believes such a thing, the physical circle of a number of bodies creates a massive beam of prayer/faith light.

    This was only one woman’s experience but it was a lovely image and it has stayed with me.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  19. Melody on February 2, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    And I would add that a mother’s prayer over her newborn in ICU could most certainly have greater intensity than a dozen tired temple patrons. . . it’s all about the intent of heart, will and mind for me.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  20. graceforgrace on February 3, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Jettboy,

    Generic may not be the best because each prayer is a different prayer. However, I still feel the prayers are impersonal and ritualistic. Impersonal is that the temple patron offers a prayer according to how he wants to offer it (as guided by the Spirit of course). However, they do not pray for individuals by name and also someone else who is in the circle may have something else they would like to pray for that the patron doesn’t say. Ritualistic in the sense that everyone is repeating exactly what the patron just said.
    As I mentioned, I do think the prayer circle is great in that everyone unites and joins hands. We could benefit from doing that outside of the temple as well, I think in our families for starters.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  21. Hedgehog on February 4, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    I do feel the impersonal nature, that we don’t know the names of those we are praying for, but on the other hand I sometimes appreciate the privacy too. I suppose the ritual beforehand acts as a unifying force to get participants on the same page, but I’m usually too stressed about the clothing to participate.

    I agree for those submitting the names it does bring a feeling of closeness to the person whose name is submitted, and it also helps to feel lots of prayers are being said, when one can’t be praying so intently so frequently oneself. And it is nice to be thinking about any names submitted during the prayer, even though that name isn’t vocalised (and may even be on a different altar – I’m assuming they aren’t duplicated and put on all the altars, and the prayer is generally phrased to include all the altars in the temple IME).

    That said, I do like the tradition of prayer groups as found in other denominations as well, which the prayer roll at the temple seems to supercede for us.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting

Archives

%d bloggers like this: