President's Pen 4-24-17 (Mighty Prayer)

As missionaries in the Texas Houston South Mission, we know our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We do this through our constant efforts to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate God’s children; we love it, we live it, and we do it! “We begin with the End in Mind”, and see God’s children as he does. We are Disciples of Jesus Christ that teach repentance and baptize converts and the best missionaries in the world!

Dear Elders & Sisters,

We love ya!  As we begin a new transfer this week I pray that you will be found as disciples that declare His word with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.  Heart = love of our Father in Heaven, the Savior, and those you have come to teach.  Might = the spiritual power and virtue you’ve been endowed with.  Strength = the physical power and health to run and not be weary. Mind = your thoughts and desires all centered on your purpose.  We need you all in, we need you to give your best each day, we are disciples of Christ and we owe Him our all!

How often are you found in mighty prayer throughout your day, asking for the windows of heaven to be opened to you, so you can invite and help more souls come unto Christ?  Ponder this question and ask yourself if you and your companion are calling on the Lord as often as you need for His help and counsel.

As Alma is beginning his mission and heading to Gideon, we read about an important teaching that is given to the members of the Lord’s Church… “Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God.”  (Alma 6:6)

From this verse of scripture, we begin to learn a pattern of what true disciples do as they prepare to serve the Lord.  They gather together often to be strengthened and prepared (sacrament meeting/temple), they join together in fasting, and they open their hearts in prayer to find, teach, and invite those that have yet come to a knowledge of the truth. 

As Alma finishes his activities in Gideon, he goes to the land of Ammonihah and upon arriving, and seeing the hardness of the hearts of the people, he continues to follow the pattern he used to start his mission, “Nevertheless Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance.”  (Alma 8:8). 

Note that in both of the previous scriptures we find Alma in mighty prayer and even wrestling with God.  As a point of interest, wrestling in old English dictionaries can also mean to be deep in thought.  When I think about being deep in thought, and doing so in mighty prayer, it gives me a feel for how important it was to Alma to bring souls unto Christ.  It consumed his soul and he desired nothing but the welfare, repentance, and baptism for all he met.  His prayers weren’t simply the kind that barely reach the ceiling, but I envision him pouring out his whole soul to his Father in Heaven and pleading for help, strength, and understanding as he strives to align his will to God’s. 

Alma continues in prayer, and as he goes back into the land of Ammonihah, with his faithful companion Amulek at his side, we start to see the results of his prayers… “the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming— That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy…”  (Alma 16:16-17)

The Lord answered Alma’s mighty prayers! The Lord will pour out His Spirit, hardened hearts can be softened, , and miracles can and do happen!

We then come to the incredible reunion of Alma and the sons of Mosiah and what does Alma find with these missionaries, “they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting…”  (Alma 17:3)  Another group of missionaries following the same pattern as Alma as they were also found as servants who were found in mighty prayer.

A few verses later we read what fasting and prayer did for them, “…and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct.  And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit… (Alma 17:9-10)

How did mighty prayer and fasting work out for this group of missionaries?  We read a few chapters later what began to take place… “Now Ammon seeing the Spirit of the Lord poured out according to his prayers upon the Lamanites, his brethren, who had been the cause of so much mourning among the Nephites, or among all the people of God because of their iniquities and their traditions, he fell upon his knees, and began to pour out his soul in prayer and thanksgiving to God for what he had done for his brethren; and he was also overpowered with joy...”  (Alma 19:14)

Not only did the Lord answer the mighty prayers of Ammon and his brethren, but note that Ammon kept praying in thanksgiving and that his whole soul was filled with joy as he saw those he loved come unto Christ.

As the sons of Mosiah are reflecting on their experience with the Lamanites they recognized an important truth… “And now behold, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni, and their brethren did rejoice exceedingly, for the success which they had had among the Lamanites, seeing that the Lord had granted unto them according to their prayers, and that he had also verified his word unto them in every particular.” (Alma 25:17)

So great were the prayers of these mighty missionaries that the Lord had granted unto them success in every particular! In other words, he answered their prayers very specifically according to the righteous desires of their hearts. 

Elders & Sisters, what pattern do you learn from highly successful missionaries related to the importance of mighty prayer?  Let’s consider what you can put into to application…  When you get up each morning are you found in mighty prayer for the welfare of the souls in your area that haven’t come to the knowledge of the truth? Are you found in mighty prayer, pleading that hearts will be softened, that you might find them and baptize them unto repentance?  Are you found in mighty prayer as you plan and seek guidance to know where to go, what to do, and what do say?  Are you found in mighty prayer when plans fall through and you need Lord’s help to know where to go next?  Are you found in mighty prayer before you teach your investigators, pleading that you’ll have the Spirit come upon you and upon them as you teach? Are you found in mighty prayer each night, accounting to the Lord, asking for forgiveness, and giving gratitude for your many blessings?  Simply stated, are you one that is often found in mighty prayer?

I felt impressed to write on this topic this week as I feel we need to increase the prayers and the strength of our prayers in our mission. I love the teaching from the Bible dictionary… “Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”

I invite each of you to align your will to God’s as you are found in mighty prayer each day.  Never underestimate the power of prayer and how it can change your heart and the heart of others.  It is through the prayer of faith that miracles are wrought and a requirement for us to be granted blessings He already has prepared for us.  As we pray, let us remember that we bring ourselves into alignment with His will, His timing, and His plans.  Increase your mighty prayers, pray for the welfare of others, pray that they might repent and come unto Christ and receive a remission of sins as they are baptized.   The Savior prays for us still, He weeps for us, He cheers us on, He loves us.  Let’s join with Him and pray for the heavens to be opened that more might come unto Him.  In the Savior’s name I know that mighty prayers will make a difference for you and for those you have been called to bless!  I love ya!

President Hall