Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pray Always

“All through my life the counsel to depend on prayer has been prized above almost any other advice I have received,” said President Ezra Taft Benson. “It has become an integral part of me, an anchor, a constant source of strength, and the basis for my knowledge of things divine.

“‘Remember that whatever you do or wherever you are, you are never alone’ was my father’s familiar counsel to me as a boy. ‘Our Heavenly Father is always near. You can reach out and receive His aid through prayer.’ I have found this counsel to be true. Thank God we can reach out and tap that unseen power, without which no man can do his best.”

President Benson followed this counsel in every aspect of his life. When he was appointed to serve as the United States secretary of agriculture, he “prayerfully and carefully” selected a group of men to work with him, “asking God to give [him] a spirit of discernment.” At their first meeting, he asked “if anyone objected to opening their meetings with prayer. No one dissented. And so began a practice that [he] perpetuated for eight years. He invited each staff member to take turns offering the invocation.”3 His associates came to appreciate this practice, even though they may have been uncomfortable with it at first. One staff member later admitted that some of the men had not prayed aloud since they were children. “We stumbled and fumbled for words,” he said. “But the Boss [President Benson] never let on that he noticed. And after a few trials everybody was at ease. Has it helped? Well, I’d say that when you start a meeting that way, people aren’t stuck up with the pride of their opinions. You pretty quickly come to an agreement as to what ought to be done in any situation.”

We need as families to kneel in family prayer, night and morning. Just a few words added to the blessing on the food, which is becoming the custom in some parts, is not enough. We need to get onto our knees in prayer and gratitude.

It is my testimony, my brothers and sisters and friends, that God does hear and answer prayers. I have never doubted that fact. From childhood, at my mother’s knee where I first learned to pray; as a young man in my teens; as a missionary in foreign lands; as a father; as a Church leader; as a government official, I know without any question that it is possible for men and women to reach out in humility and prayer and tap that Unseen Power; to have prayers answered. Man does not stand alone, or at least, he need not stand alone. Prayer will open doors; prayer will remove barriers; prayer will ease pressures; prayer will give inner peace and comfort during times of strain and stress and difficulty. Thank God for prayer.

Excerpts taken from Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 2, Pray Always.

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