Saturday, June 16, 2018

President Ezra Taft Benson on the obligation of fathers to pray in order to bless families

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1943, and served as the 13th President of the Church from 1985 until his death in 1994 at age 94.
"The father must hunger and thirst and yearn to bless his family; he must go to the Lord, ponder the words of God, and live by the Spirit to know the mind and will of the Lord and what he must do to lead his family.
"It is soul-satisfying to know that God is mindful of us and ready to respond when we place our trust in Him and do that which is right. There is no place for fear among men and women who place their trust in the Almighty, who do not hesitate to humble themselves in seeking divine guidance through prayer. Though persecutions arise, though reverses come, in prayer we can find reassurance, for God will speak peace to the soul. That peace, that spirit of serenity, is a great blessing....
"All through my life the counsel to depend on prayer has been prized above any other advice I have ever received. It has become an integral part of me, an anchor, a constant source of strength."
- Ezra Taft Benson, "Strengthening the Father," in Priesthood [Deseret 1981] pp 142-143

This is an inspiring, though somewhat challenging, instruction to fathers everywhere. A father has a profound opportunity to bless his family; but having that occur does not happen automatically. It requires effort, continuing and sincere effort, in order for the sensitivity and inspiration to come that will guide a man on how best to serve:

While the responsibilities of being a father, or a mother, and being ready to provide this kind of blessing and leadership may seem overwhelming, President Benson cautions that we should not fear because the Lord's promises are sure. Once we experience that inspiration, we can know the "soul-satisfying" confirmation "that God is mindful of us and ready to respond when we place our trust in Him and do that which is right." There is truly a profound reassurance in prayer as God will "speak peace to the soul."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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