“20. Prayer: Elvira S. Barney,” At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women (2017), 78–81
“20. Elvira S. Barney,” At the Pulpit, 78–81
Elvira S. Barney
Utah Woman Suffrage Association
Assembly Hall, Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory
October 7, 1889
O God, the Eternal, the Father of the heavens and the earth, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, we, a small portion of the human family, have assembled ourselves together under this roof for an especial purpose, and we do pray thee, that thou wilt inspire both the speakers and the hearers with a portion of thy heavenly divine influence, that good shall be the result of our assembling together, that we may learn and prepare ourselves for storm or fair weather, for war or peace, for prosperity or adversity. Thou hast blest us in early youth, thou hast been with us all the journey of life thus far, and we pray thee that thou wilt forget us not in our declining years.
Thou didst cause that the earth should roll into existence, and from chaos it was formed. Thou didst cause that the earth should produce vegetation, and that the human and animal creation should subsist upon it, and dwell upon its face; and now we do implore thee that thou wilt bless the earth, that it may still bring forth vegetation, and that thou wilt cause the dews of heaven to descend, and the rains in due season.16 Wilt thou temper the climate for the good of mankind and all animal creation, that we may feel to praise thy holy name that mankind does live. Wilt thou, the Great Eternal, command the lightning, the earthquakes, and the elements, that they may be manifested for the good of all vegetable and animal creation.17
We pray for the weak, we pray for the afflicted, and we pray for the strong, that they may be willing to help carry the burdens of the weak.18 We pray that thou wilt, in thine own way and time, mellow the hearts of the wicked and immoral, that thy grace may spread and form a canopy over the whole earth, that sin and wickedness may not be known, and righteousness triumph. Wilt thou be with the rulers of the nation, that thy voice shall reach their ears in their council chambers, that they may fear to make unjust laws,19 and that they may study to improve and make better those already formed, that the cries of the people may not reach thee because of oppression.20 Wilt thou soften the hearts of the rigid, that the means that man has at his disposal may be used for the whole of humanity; may they not forget their benefactor but ever bend the knee in humble reverence to thee.21
Wilt thou be with woman as thou hast with man, to strengthen her where she is weak that she may aid in the defense of truth and right, and where her voice is heard throughout the broad face of the earth, may it have echo in the hearts of the honest, and may she serve to smooth the wrinkles of unjust laws, as she does and has, the pillows beneath the aching heads of thy soldiers and servants.22 We pray thee that thou wilt bless thy handmaidens here in this little nook in the valleys of the mountains, that we may perform noble and grand acts that will compare with the grandeur of the mountains around.
Hear us, O Father, at this time, and accept of our humble offering, for we dedicate ourselves, our meeting, and our cause unto thee, asking a forgiveness of our sins, in the name of Jesus, amen.