“When Thou Prayest Thou Shalt Not Do As the Hypocrites”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. The Savior moralized, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.” (Luke 18:9-14, italics added.)

Our prayers are offered to God, not to men. Our yearnings for divine assistance are addressed to the Man of Holiness not to unholy men and women. Perfect prayer is offered to the Father, in the name of the Son, and it is spoken by the power of the Holy Ghost. Such prayers are not delivered to impress others but only to commune with our Maker.

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4