I’m your “Mormon Guy” and I can give you some insight into the reason that Elizabeth Smart’s parents requested that everyone pray for her safe return since her family is Mormon.
The Cornerites have shown great insight and wisdom about why God would answer a prayer based on the number of petitioners.
I think, and although I don’t speak for my Church officially, I know that God loves us (duh) and when He sees a great number of His children begging, pleading, petitioning Him for a particular cause, He will certainly take their wishes and consider them.
Look at it this way, God didn’t want Israel to have any kings. (1 Sam 8) He said that if they can manage without kings, it would be a good thing…but…if they insisted, he had his prophet anoint a king for them. On the flip side of that, if a large group of people petition Him to keep a certain person alive when terminally ill, He might see the sadness and love that is present, and have compassion on them to allow the person to live longer.
However, each of these stories has the opportunity for a lesson to be learned. He could grant what the prayerful are requesting to give them either a “see I told you so…now do you understand why I didn’t want that?” or “Thank you for turning your hearts to me. I will grant your petition because of your faithfulness and desires to do a righteous work.”
Quatrain, The Mormon Guy
For Official doctrine, you can go to www.mormon.org