Prayer, service emphasized at Sunday morning session


    By Chantelle Tuitele

    The Sunday morning session of general conference reminded members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to strengthen themselves and uplift others through praying diligently and walking in faith and light.

    “We never know who may be depending on us,” Elder Robert D. Hales said. “And, as the Savior said, we, ”know not but what they will return and repent … and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.””

    Elder Hales said in order to help others, one must first strengthen the light of Christ that all men and women have been given, and understand that light and darkness cannot dwell in the same space.

    “When the spiritual light of the Holy Ghost is present, the darkness of Satan departs,” he said. “If it were not for the light of Jesus Christ and his gospel, we would be doomed to destruction.”

    In his call to faith, President Gordon B. Hinckley said he knows all men and women encounter darkness at some point in their lives. It is then, he said, that they must strive to strengthen their “light of faith” so they can see ahead, as it grows brighter.

    “Faith is the very fiber that gives strength to this work,” he said. “We are a people of faith. We walk by faith. We move forward on our eternal journey, one step at a time.”

    Prayer is an important part of strengthening one”s faith, President James E. Faust said. He said it is “the lifeline between mankind and God,” which allows us to draw closer to Him.

    President Faust listed five things people should remember when praying: acknowledge God as our father and Jesus Christ as our savior, confess our sins sincerely and request forgiveness, recognize that we need help to overcome trials, thank our Heavenly Father and acknowledge it as a privilege to ask our Heavenly Father for blessings.

    “At times, fasting is appropriate as a strong evidence of our sincerity,” President Faust said. “When we fast, we humble our souls, which brings us more in tune with God and his holy purpose.”

    Bishop Richard C. Edgley echoed President Faust when he said prayer could be a source of comfort and faith when life brings unexpected trials.

    “How difficult it is and painfully foreign it may seem to find the good out of our personal tragedy and suffering,” he said.

    “Therefore, perhaps the challenge is to have the kind of faith that brings the knowledge and assurances that all that we experience is part of the gospel plan and that for the righteous, all that appears wrong will eventually be made right,” Bishop Edgley said.

    He spoke of three things a person can do to find the good in the bad: seek out memorable moments hidden in pain and agony, remember and be grateful for the Savior who suffered more than anyone and find peace in comforting and strengthening others.

    Children are among those who need strengthening, said President Gayle M. Clegg, of the Primary General Presidency.

    “Our children today have journeys as terrible and taxing as the westward migration,” she said. “They are faced with every calamity along the trail.”

    President Clegg said children need to constantly be reminded that they are known, valued and have potential. They need to be strengthened so they can one day build their own testimonies.

    In describing the way to instruct children, she said, “Learn to teach and speak in the language of heartfelt prayers and joyful testimony so that angels, earthly and heavenly, can encircle and minister to us.”

    Even adults need to be strengthened in times of personal weakness, and they need to be reminded of their purpose in this world, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said.

    In telling the story of the prodigal son, Elder Holland focused on the older brother who grew jealous when the prodigal son received a warm welcome upon his return home.

    “This dutiful son has yet to come to the compassion and mercy, the charitable breadth of vision to see that this is not a rival returning,” he said. “It is his brother.”

    He also said too many people think they never have enough and constantly measure their success against that of their neighbor.

    “Most ”thou shalt not” commandments are meant to keep us from hurting others,” Elder Holland said. “But I am convinced the commandment not to covet is meant to keep us from hurting ourselves.”

    In the world arena, no one has to compete because the Lord loves all mankind and has made salvation possible for everyone, he said. Instead, men, women and children should encourage each other in an effort to return to the presence of the Lord.

    “He doesn”t measure our talents or our looks. He doesn”t measure our professions or our possessions,” Elder Holland said. “He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other.”

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