The Worshipful Language of Prayer - Bookmark
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Alana writes "Here is a bookmark to help people learn the respectful language of prayer. The file contains 3 bookmarks per page.
Here is an excerpt from Elder Oaks' conference address “The Language of Prayer” April 1993.
The words we use in speaking to someone can identify the nature of our relationship to that person. They can also remind speaker and listener of the responsibilities they owe one another in that relationship. The form of address can also serve as a mark of respect or affection.
So it is with the language of prayer. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches its members to use special language in addressing prayers to our Father in Heaven.
When we go to worship in a temple or a church, we put aside our working clothes and dress ourselves in something better. This change of clothing is a mark of respect. Similarly, when we address our Heavenly Father, we should put aside our working words and clothe our prayers in special language of reverence and respect. In offering prayers in the English language, members of our Church do not address our Heavenly Father with the same words we use in speaking to a fellow worker, to an employee or employer, or to a merchant in the marketplace. We use special words that have been sanctified by use in inspired communications, words that have been recommended to us and modeled for us by those we sustain as prophets and inspired teachers.
Perhaps some who are listening to this sermon in English are already saying, “But this is unfamiliar and difficult. Why should we have to use words that have not been in common use in the English language for hundreds of years? If we require a special language of prayer in English, we will discourage the saying of prayers by little children, by new members, and by others who are just learning to pray.”
Brothers and sisters, the special language of prayer is much more than an artifact of the translation of the scriptures into English. Its use serves an important, current purpose. We know this because of modern revelations and because of the teachings and examples of modern prophets. The way we pray is important.
I am sure that our Heavenly Father, who loves all of his children, hears and answers all prayers, however phrased. If he is offended in connection with prayers, it is likely to be by their absence, not their phraseology.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “It is a great thing to inquire at the hands of God, or to come into His presence.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 22.) The special language of prayer reminds us of the greatness of that privilege. I pray that all of us will be more sensitive to the importance of using this reverent and loving language as we offer our public and private prayers.
Here is the plain text of the bookmark:
The Worshipful Language of Prayer
Use the worshipful pronouns of Thee, Thou, Thy and Thine in place of the informal, common pronouns of you, your, and yours.
To use the respectful language of prayer:
1st, identify all 2nd person pronouns: subjective, objective, and possessive.
Ex 1: I love you. (I=subject doing the action, you=object receiving the affection)
Ex 2: You give me hope. (You=subject who gives, me=object who receives hope)
2nd, replace common pronoun with worshipful pronoun.
You -> Thou (subjective; acts)
You -> Thee (objective; receives action)
Your -> Thy (possessive; used like “my”: my joy, your joy, thy joy)
Yours -> Thine (possessive; used like “mine”: it’s mine, it’s yours, it’s thine)
3rd, Modify verb ending with -est (usually) when using subjective form “Thou.”
Ex: Thou knowest, Thou doest, Thou helpest, Thou gavest, Thou art, Thou wilt.
We give thee praise for what Thou hast done.
I thank thee for thy goodness and mercy.
We ask thee to bless thy prophet.
We seek to emulate thee.
Please help me to understand thy will.
All that is thine can be ours.
Use “I/me/my” in personal prayers; use “we/us/our” when praying in a group/class.
Examples to Revise (do as a class, or hand out as a worksheet)
You are great. _______ _______ great.
You know all things; your will be done. ________ ________ all things; ______ will be done.
I know that you live. I know that ________ ___________.
You give us many blessings. _______ ________ us many blessings.
We give you thanks. We give ________ thanks.
We ask you for your blessing. We as ________ for _______ blessing.
We praise your name. We praise ________ name.
We thank you for your Son. We thank _______ for _______ Son.
Using respectful prayer language will come more naturally as you study the scriptures and pay attention to the wording in hymns. Comfortable use will eventually come with practice. Thus, practice in your daily personal and family prayers.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 109: Dedicatory Prayer of Kirtland Temple—great example of worshipful language in prayer.
1st Verse of 220 “Lord, I would Follow Thee” to see respectful language
Understanding a seeming contradiction in biblical language:
Exodus 4:15, "THOU shalt speak ... I will be with THY mouth...and will teach YOU what YE shall do." "Thou/Thy" refer to Moses himself, but "You/Ye" refer to the entire nation of Israel. (This last example taken from here.)