Formula for Prayer – From Desire to Faith

The scriptures help me maintain faith and spirituality teaching me many valuable lessons like an effective formula for prayer.

Lately, I have spent more time learning how to do makeup than I have studying the scriptures. This week I noticed I was less patient, empathetic and kind. My edgy disposition was a sign I needed to spend more time on my spirituality. As I sat down to focus on spiritual matters, I rediscovered scriptures I have read numerous times that made an impression upon my mind. I found myself being retaught a formula for prayer that I found to be effective in the past. Since I did not continue to employ this formula, now is a new opportunity to make this formula for prayer a habit.

Help from the scriptures

If you follow my blog, you know I was a Mormon (aka The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for 57 years and that I left my lifetime religion a few years ago. Although I am no longer “religious per se”, I still read the scriptures because they really help me maintain more faith, spirituality, and teach me many valuable lessons such as an effective formula for prayer.

Scripture story teaches a formula for prayer

About 600 B.C., there was a man named Lehi who had a dream to leave Jerusalem with his family because Jerusalem was going to be destroyed. Lehi’s son, Nephi, was skeptical about the content of his Dad’s dream, but he did have a great desire to believe. Nephi cries unto (asks with passion) God about the things his dad told him.

…..having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers

1 Nephi 2:16

Great desire to know truth

Because Nephi had a great desire to believe his dad, he asked the only source that would assuredly tell him the truth because God does not lie.

God is not a man, that he should lie;

 Numbers 23:19
Great desire becomes belief

Because God is full of grace, He subtly answered Nephi’s humble prayer by softening his heart and then he believed his father’s words so rather than rebel, he believed. Nephi’s desire to believe has now been replaced with belief.

Takes action by sharing with his brother

Next, Nephi shared his new belief with his brother Sam.

And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the Lord had manifested unto me by his Holy Spirit. And it came to pass that he believed in my words.

1 Nephi 2:17

Acts with charity in the midst of adversity

After Nephi is successful in getting his brother Sam to believe, he shares what he learned with his brothers Laman and Lemuel, however, they did not believe as Sam did. Rather than contend with his brothers, Nephi prays for them.

But, behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto the Lord for them.

1 Nephi 2:18

Nephi displayed Christlike charity in the midst of adversity by praying for his brothers although they rejected him and his new belief.

Belief becomes faith

This formula for prayer can be repeated over and over again until gradually faith becomes actual knowledge.
Photo by Thomas Quaritsch

Now God speaks to Nephi with words in his mind rather than just softening his heart. God’s words let him know he had developed faith. A dialogue of words could also come in the form of a dream as it did to Nephi’s dad, Lehi.

The Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart.

1 Nephi 2:19

How does belief become faith?

In order for a belief to become faith, action is required. I explain in more detail about the relationship between action and faith in a previous blog titled, “What is Faith, A Principle of Action and Power”  if you would like to learn more about this subject.

When Nephi took action concerning his new belief, he strived to be charitable or Christlike even in adversity which helped him develop faith.

Summary – Formula for Prayer

We can see a pattern of how desire moved to faith. Greater faith is what we need to pray more effectively.

  1. Great Desire – Pray to believe
  2. God’s grace enables desire to change to Belief
  3. Act upon your new belief
  4. Strive to be Charitable while acting upon your new belief
  5. Belief changes to Faith


This formula for prayer can be repeated over and over again until gradually faith becomes actual knowledge.

While using this process, striving to keep the commandments is essential. Since we are none perfect at keeping the commandments, it is necessary for us to employ repentance which I addressed more thoroughly in a previous blog titled, “True Repentance – A Unique Positive View” if you would like to learn about a positive approach to repentance.

This blog post is written in my own words, however, the pattern to move from desire to faith found in the scriptures was identified by Denver Snuffer, Jr. in chapters two thru four in his book titled “The Second Comforter” which can be purchased from Amazon if you would like to read more helpful details about this subject.

Top Featured Photo by Viktor Juric 

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