The True Order of Prayer

By: Guy Templeton
November 15, 2012

I’ve recently had occasion to attend the temple more often, and I have some questions.  In the temple, we have the opportunity to participate in the true order of prayer.  What exactly does that mean?

Dictionary.com has 37 definitions that might fit.  I picked these 9.  How do you think they apply?

What is the best definition for "order" when we talk about the "true order of prayer"?

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What do you think the true order of prayer refers to?

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13 Responses to The True Order of Prayer

  1. Hedgehog on November 15, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    I wish I knew.
    At the moment it’s the one thing that seems to be preventing me from joining the prayer group held monthly at my childrens’ school…
    Sigh.
    Probably I’m worrying about nothing do you think?

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  2. hawkgrrrl on November 15, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    I take the “true order of prayer” to be related to having no ill will toward others, to be united in a common purpose, and to focus all our energies together toward a specific outcome. I would say it’s consistent with ward or stake fasts (at least in theory). But the first step is to be free of unkind feelings toward others because those will deflect our energy from our purpose.

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  3. Hedgehog on November 15, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    Actually Hawkgrrrl that’s a really helpful answer. Thank you.
    My presence at the group probably would make it difficult for some others there. They’d be uncomfortable and twitchy about a mormon joining perhaps. And that would get in the way of their feeling of common purpose and unity. Even though they say everyone welcome, in practice… And I don’t want to spoil things for them.

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  4. Frank Pellett on November 15, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    I think a good part of the “true order of prayer” is in the form, and should be duplicated whenever we participate in prayer with more than one person, having only one person being the mouthpiece/director. Not in the whole signs/joining hands way, but in repeating mentally the words of the prayer. Do you spend your time during prayer wondering how long it’s going to take and what else you can be doing with your time, perhaps mulling over some problem that can be set aside for the time, or are you joining your heart and mind with the supplication being made?

    The True Order of Prayer isnt just for the temple – it’s an example of how we should strive to be in all of our prayers.

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  5. Nick Literski on November 15, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Umm…tell your stake president that you practice the True Order of Prayer in your home, and see what kind of reaction you get. The phrase denotes the ritual form, not ephemeral philosophies about “how to pray.”

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  6. MH on November 15, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Nick, I think you’re right. I suspect the true order of prayer is generally only supposed to be done in the temple. However, I know that Brigham Young often directed saints in the true order of prayer because no temple existed in Utah. I’m not sure the church would be happy if this ritualized form of prayer was done outside the temple, or without direction from church leaders.

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  7. Frank Pellett on November 15, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    It does not need to denote the ritual form. The ritual in the temple should be used as a type; an example of how our prayers should be as one whenever we pray together.

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  8. SkywalkerNinga on November 15, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    As an extension to the original question, I would suggest that everyone truly interested in the answer, do a keyword search to see what the Lord and his prophets say about the true order of prayer in the scriptures. You may be surprised at what you find…. or… don’t find.

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  9. Geoff - A on November 15, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    hedgehog, I would join. So long as you are joining them I don’t think it could be a problem.

    My wife helps with a “shoe box appeal” where people from many background join to fill shoe boxes, which are distributed to needy in neighbouring countries. Everyone is just doing good quietly. There are a couple of LDS people go and are accepted. If they wore helping hands vest that would be a problem.

    Agee with 6 on True order of Prayer. I think it is expected to be more effective because of the spiritual setting.

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  10. Hedgehog on November 16, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    Thanks Geoff.
    We have a ‘shoe box’ appeal here (providing christmas gifts for children in refugee camps and impoverished countries) – in my previous Stake, the whole stake participated, providing hundreds of boxes each year. Where we live now, my children’s junior school took part.

    I don’t normally have a problem joining with other denominations to do things, at 16 onwards I’d go along to the Christian Union Groups at my VI Form College, at University I participated in Chaplaincy activities. My children now attend the Cathedral school in our city. Our FIG primary children participated in an activity run by the Cathedral celebrating the King Jame’s Bible anniversary making scenes from the Bible inside a shoe box (each participating group was given a sction of the Bible to illustrate), and the whole thing was then put on display in the Cathedral.

    But this group is specifically gathering monthly at the school to pray together for whatever (requests can be submitted to the school), and I think it is lovely. But every time I think about going along there’s this ‘True Order of Prayer’ thing sitting in the back of my head. Which made no sense to me, because I’d always ascribed the True Order bit to all that ritual rigmarole before the prayer actually began, and nobdy does that outside of the temple anyway (so clearly prayer without it does just fine). But on the other hand whilst prayer groups are fairly common in other denominations, its not something we do outside the temple – the only ‘group prayers’ outside the temple are family prayers, opening/closing meetings, or as part of a presidency, in my experience, which aren’t really the same thing.
    Maybe I am thinking too hard about this.

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  11. Nick Literski on November 16, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    MH, the history of the True Order of Prayer is interesting, to say the least. It certainly has NOT only been practiced in temples. Up until the 1970s, stake high councils practiced it in their meeting rooms at stake centers. During the 1990s, there was a resurgence/rediscovery of earlier teachings regarding personal, private use of the True Order of Prayer in one’s home. Those of us who explored this received varying degrees of chastisement, particularly from bishops like one I had at the time (a professional seminary teacher, of all people), who were fully ignorant of the history and insisted that this ritual had never been performed outside of LDS temples.

    It’s all well and good to say that you can draw broader inspirations from the True Order of Prayer, but I believe it’s quite inaccurate to say that those inspirations are the True Order of Prayer.

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  12. mh on November 16, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Nick, that is fascinating. I would love to hear more. In fact, would you feel comfortable writing a guest post on the topic? You can email me at mormonheretic at gmail dot com.

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  13. IDIAT on November 16, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    If we’re strictly talking about the “order” part, perhaps it is an order of the priesthood. After all, it follows a point in the endowment where the parties have received just about everything they can receive, and made all covenants within the endowment that they can make.

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