Monday, December 5, 2016

President David O. McKay on the power and blessing of family prayer

President David O. McKay (1873-1970) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1906.  He served as a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith beginning in 1945, then then as the president of the Church from 1951 to his death in 1970 at age 96.
"Herein we get a glimpse of one thing in which this people may be the saviors, in a way, of this great nation. The home is the place where the perpetuation of the principles of liberty as well as the instructions in the gospel of Jesus Christ should be given to the children. When the home breaks up, the children begin to wander off into sin. Then the law must reach out to bring them back and try to teach them principles of service and of true government; but, oh, how helpless, how helpless the state when the home has failed!
"The inspiration of God is seen in requiring the Latter-day Saints to keep their homes intact and to teach their children the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.... The gospel of Jesus Christ should radiate in every home, that the prayer night and morning should be offered up in sincerity, that the children daily should realize that we desire in our home the presence of God. If we can invite the Savior there, we may know that the angels will be not only willing but also eager to protect our boys and girls.
"I believe that in most homes boys and girls are taught to pray before retiring for the night. I believe, however, that too generally, the morning prayers are neglected. When we come to think of it, though, it is during the waking hours that our boys and girls need the protection of God, and the guidance of his Holy Spirit, more even than when they are asleep. The dangers surrounding them today are the dangers that come to them out in society, out in the darkness of the night, when they are away from parental influence."
- David O. McKay, "Conserving Priceless Possessions," Improvement Era, October 1952, pp. 15-16
Click here to read the full article

President McKay's lament is tender: "oh, how helpless, how helpless the state when the home has failed!" Instead, he encouraged us to become "saviors" of the nation as we strengthen our homes, teaching principles of liberty as we allow the gospel to "radiate." I love this summary of how we can strengthen our home through family prayer, both night and morning:

The lessons we teach children by our actions and habits are more profound than we often recognize.

President McKay especially encouraged his listeners to take advantage of the blessings of morning prayer, inviting God's help with our families through the coming day. I've noticed in my life, and in those I've counseled with, that we do have the tendency he describes to forget or neglect the morning prayers. How eager we should be to invite God's help, guidance, and protection through the day.

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