Sunday, February 15, 2009

Family Prayer

As I ate breakfast this morning I reached out and flipped open the recently delivered March Ensign to Pres. Monson’s article on family prayer. It was the answer to my prayer regarding what to teach the priests quorum today. And as I read the article my mind was flooded with other thoughts that prompted me to make this note and perhaps post it to our blog.

As I read Pres. Monson’s comments on family prayer I thought of how prayer is and has been a blessing to our family. If there is a gospel family principle that we have lived more than others it is this one. For we have prayed as a family more consistently than almost anything else. We’ve prayed together, morning and night, over meals, on the road, for each other and because of each other. I have often wondered the effect of our prayers on the children as we prayed for them, with them. Were we praying at them, over them, because of them? My simple faith says the prayers were heard by God and His angels. As I read Pres. Monson’s words now I wonder again if the prayers blessed us also by communicating love and intentions. How many times have we prayed for students and direction and missionary sons and pregnant daughters, new, young families and our home. I wonder if our eyes were “opened” if we could see the angels that surround this home and our other homes.


As I read these words I thought also of the family prayers in my home on Richards Street. For many years these family prayers were the only testimony I heard my father speak. He didn’t bear his testimony in church like others… sure his service and Christian behavior was a testimony that sub-consciously taught me. I make this note because he didn’t consciously teach the gospel to me (as I recall) like Mom who was more direct in teaching the gospel to me. (She was the teacher that given our class when no one else could handle us. None of my friends would dare mess around if Sister Burton was teaching.) No, Dad was the ward clerk who sat on the back row and raised the questions about Doc Taylor's sunday school lesson. I remember him reading his priesthood manual on Sunday mornings after he had returned from priesthood (before I went to priesthood meeting) but never heard him teach or preach. It was Mom that reminded Dad to call us to pray, to give the priesthood blessing. As I recall the only sermons I remember Dad preaching over the pulpit were the talks at Grant's, then Charles's then my missionary farewell ( In my little boy memory I remember he spoke at Jim Gaskells farewell… Something about “Remember Jim (who was going to Finland on his mission) many are cold but few are frozen”. This got a laugh that I didn’t understand until my mission and my study of DC121). I have noted many times Dad's "everybody has only one sermon. They just give it in different ways." His was always about the mountains and nature. Charlie, my brother, was made a Bishop last week. He will speak of the mountains and nature... and sports and running as he teaches the gospel to his priests and the other youth of his ward in Mesquite, Nevada. He will be a good Bishop. He was part of the same family prayers.

But when Dad knelt with us in the living room and voiced so many family prayers I realized he believed for there he was speaking to God for us. For how can a man kneel with his family in a quiet living room in a simple, humble, home if he doesn’t believe. Later in life when I was older and Dad was even older we learned to talk of his faith. It seemed to be stronger if more simple as he spent more time in the Temple. He was sure Mom was with us in the Temple at each of those sealings when we gathered to create another family in the Salt Lake Temple. And we still pray as a family…. All over the country now and here at home. Tonight young Colin Fry said the prayer for us here on Joelle Lane… even as Mom (Becky) wings her way to Salt Lake to assist her sister and gather with the family to remember the life of Mack Patten. She will kneel with David and Sierra in a home there and end this Sabbath with a family prayer.