President's Pen 8-14-17 (3 Nephi 19:9)

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,

I love ya!  As representatives of Jesus Christ, I hope you awake each day with the following in mind… “I have been called to preach the word of God among all this people, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy.” (Alma 8:24) When we do teach by the spirit of revelation and prophecy miracles can take place! Be bold in your callings as disciples of the Savior. Fear no man!

At our zone conferences this past week we were blessed to receive instruction from Elder Holland on the importance of always having the Holy Ghost to be with us in our missionary labors.  He described the nature of a truly divine companionship that brings power to the message we teach.  He taught the importance of having the Spirit with us throughout our day and in all of our activities.  He boldly taught that this is the true work of God and that missionaries must have the Holy Ghost with them in both word and deed.  He also spoke of the wide-ranging gifts and roles of the Holy Ghost that are there to assist missionaries in their efforts.  He mentioned twelve that are especially important to us as missionaries…

  • The Holy Ghost is a… A revelator, a guide to action 
  • Provides in the very moment of need
  • Conveys the words of Christ which tell us all things we should do
  • Purifies the teacher and the learner
  • Leads us when we do not know beforehand the things that we should do
  • Intercedes to strengthen prayers
  • Prepares people to hear the gospel
  • Provides language proficiency
  • Teaches truth carrying it to the heart
  • Brings all things to our remembrance
  • Teaches what to say and how to say it
  • Is the Comforter conveying peace and joy

Simply based on the list above, it is perfectly clear in my mind why all of us would most desire (3 Ne 19:9) the Holy Ghost as our constant companion.    It is also apparent why my personal worthiness, obedience, and unity with my companion are not only necessary, but a given if I want to do the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way.  Have you been more mindful of the things you’re doing throughout the day to keep the Spirit with you?

As I have interviewed many of you and listened to what you want to do to have a greater abundance of the Spirit in your life, a common theme has emerged… We desire to have more meaningful and mighty prayer throughout the day to keep the Spirit with us.  I love that this is the desire of your hearts as it parallels what we studied regarding the Nephites and their earnest desires.

As I’ve chatted with you about this desire, many of you have shared that prayer in the morning and at night tend to be less than mighty for a simple reason… We’re tired when we wake up, an we’re tired before we go to bed.  When this is the case, we’re not as alert, focused, or fervent in our prayers.  Certainly a common challenge, but I wanted to share something I learned as a missionary that may help. 

As a young new missionary, Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the Seventy, came to the MTC to meet with the new elders and sisters that had arrived that week.  It was a relatively small group of us and I’ll never forget what he taught me about prayer.  He described that he too was often tired in the morning and in the evening and that he prayed when he was ready to present himself to the Father in a dignified way.  He taught us that when we roll out of the bed in the morning, that we should begin with a prayer in our heart, not necessarily on our knees yet.  He recommended that we go and exercise, get ready for the day, pray over our breakfast, and then once dressed in our missionary attire, offer a mighty morning prayer when we were alert, awake, and ready to ask for the Lord’s Spirit to be with us.  He then taught that when we arrived home that evening, rather than readying for bed, brushing our teeth, and heading for our pillow, that we should pray as soon as we came through the door.  In this evening prayer, still dressed in our missionary attire, he recommended that we give an accounting to the Lord of our day and offer a mighty prayer of thanks for the blessings of the day.  Of particular importance, he taught that the way we present ourselves to God will influence what we feel and say.  After all the years that have passed, this is still the approach that works best for me.  Would this approach work for you?  Would you be able to offer a mightier prayer and plead for the Lord to have His Spirit to be with you?

As you offer your mighty prayers to have the Spirit with you, I love what Alma asked for… “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 8:10).  We should also offer up the same kind of prayer for our individual areas… Elder Holland’s list of twelve gifts the Spirit can bless us with may also be exactly what you need to pray for.  Can you pray specifically (by name) for the Spirit to prepare hearts, testify of truth, lead to action, and enlighten minds?  Could you also pray for the Spirit to lead you where to go, what to say in the moment you need it, and what to do?  Specific prayers bring specific results!  

Elders & Sisters, we are to preach the gospel by the Spirit.  I know this is the desire of your heart and that you will do all you can to have the Lord bless you with this most important divine companion.  I have found that my desire to have the Spirit to be with me continues to grow and I sincerely pray each day that the Lord will bless me with His Spirit in greater abundance.   I know I cannot do this work on my own,  my way, or without divine guidance. I invite you to pray more mightily each day for the Holy Ghost to be with you.  I also invite you to increase your mighty prayers when your day seems to get off track.  Go back to the source that can enlighten and guide you to know where to go, what to do, and what to say.  I testify that this work is true and that as missionaries we truly to need to have the Holy Ghost with us in both word and deed.  Love ya!

President Hall