Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace addressed BYU students during a devotional on Oct. 29 at the Marriott Center. Despite the frigid weather, the Marriott Center was packed with bundled students.
Pace drove home the idea of faith preceding miracles.
“Faith is the antidote to the wickedness of the world in which we live,” Pace said. He stated that students can exercise their faith by following five important patterns of faith.
Following the Lord’s living prophet
Pace told a story of a man named Charles Walker. Walker was born in 1832 and became a member of the Church as a teenager. He and his wife actively participated in the Church, and when they had just began to settle in Utah, Walker’s name was called during sacrament meeting along with 250 others to go help settle “Cotton Country” in southwestern Utah.
25 days after receiving the news, Walker and his wife obediently left to answer the call. Pace used this story as an example of the devotion students should have towards following God, and the confidence they should have in the living prophets who are his divine mouthpieces.
“The faith to follow the living prophet still precedes the miracle,” Pace said.
Attending Sunday meetings
Pace used another example about faithful church members to emphasize the importance of attending Sunday meetings. The Mercan family in Spain had to formulate a plan spanning 11 hours to attend their meetings each Sunday. The family would leave their home early, take a four hour train ride to Granollers, and then attend three hours of meetings during the afternoon. The activity consumed the family’s Sundays, and they generally arrived back at their apartment around dinnertime.
Pace recounted speaking with the family and asking them why they did this every Sunday for six years of their lives. He determined that, because the family exercised their faith, it left miracles in the hands of the Lord.
The family experienced many miracles such as when a branch of the Church was established closer to their home, their son choosing to serve a full-time mission and their daughter getting married in the Madrid Spain Temple.
Pace implored the student body to ask themselves what price they would be willing to pay for their conversion.
“The faith to attend our Sunday meetings still precedes the miracle,” he said.
Participating in home-centered gospel learning
Pace recounted President Russell M. Nelson’s words that “The adversary is increasing his attacks on faith and upon us and our families at an exponential rate. To survive spiritually, we need counterstrategies and proactive plans.”
Pace said he believes BYU students should start implementing these strategies within their homes and that the act of faith in studying scriptures daily protects families from the influence of the adversary.
“The faith to study the Gospel in our home still precedes the miracle,” Pace said.
Paying tithes and offerings
Pace used samples from the Old Testament to solidify the deliverance of blessings provided to people who pay their tithes and offerings.
Pace said the day would come when the faith of students regarding tithing would be tested.
“Perhaps you will have some financial challenges and you might wonder if you can pay your tithing and also meet your other financial commitments,” Pace said. “The adversary will tempt you to put off the payment of tithing. That will be the moment when you show the Lord, and yourself, who you really are. The faith to pay our tithes and offerings still precedes the miracle.”
Attending the temple
Pace used his own testimony to explain the importance of temple attendance. He recalled setting a goal to attend the temple at least once per week for a year. He said doing so changed his life, and his devotion to the work performed at the temple deepened in a profound way.
“I am not suggesting that the Lord expects you to attend the temple every week. What I am saying is that miracles come only after we exercise faith. I am saying that a love for the temple and sensitivity to the Spirit there comes from being in the temple. The faith to attend the temple still precedes the miracle,” he said.
To conclude, Pace encouraged students to establish these five patterns in their day-to-day lives and promised that doing so would bring miracles to them and their families.
“I pray the Lord’s blessings upon you. May you establish patterns of faith now that will precede the miracles you need in your life,” Pace said. “Faith still precedes the miracle.”
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, will be speaking at the upcoming forum on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.