“Pray unto the Father in My Name,” Ensign, May 1997, 78
As our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, met with His disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, He taught them a pattern for prayer. This prayer, which is known to us as the Lord’s Prayer, deserves our thoughtful consideration (see Matt. 6:9–13; 3 Ne. 13:9–13).
The Lord counseled, or perhaps even commanded, “After this manner therefore pray ye” (Matt. 6:9). Now, focus your minds, and your hearts, on how He began this noble prayer: “Our Father [who] art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). What a stunning moment it was! What a revelation! “Our Father,” He declared, “Our Father.”
Oh, He could have chosen so many ways to begin the prayer: “O mighty Creator of heaven and earth, O mighty God who is omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent.” These grand titles contain grand and noble truths. But He taught in one single word, “Father,” so very much that we need to know, that indeed we long to know. God is our Father. And we are His children.
Prophets of God proclaim that “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).
As a child enjoys a satisfying and secure relationship with his or her own father, he or she can relate naturally to his or her Heavenly Father. The child senses that he is a child of God and that God is his Father. That feels normal and that feels right, because it is right. We so proclaim that “in the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). They knew Him then. They will naturally and intuitively know Him now. What a tragedy for an innocent child to be abused such that he or she would find it difficult to reach out to his or her Heavenly Father.
Some years ago, some close friends of ours loaned us their cabin in Island Park, Idaho. When we arrived at the cabin, we found that the key that we had been given to unlock the front door didn’t work. We tried to undo windows and pry open screens, all to no avail.
Suddenly our son Steven, who was about seven years old at the time, shouted to us that he had just successfully opened the front door. Steven, with a big grin on his face, was standing triumphantly inside the front doorway. I was amazed. I asked him how he did that.
He responded with wonderful, childlike spontaneity: “I bowed my head and prayed. When I looked up, my eyes spotted this big rock by the front steps, and I thought, ‘There is a key under that rock.’ And sure enough there it was.” The prayer of a child had been heard. I thank the Lord for his mother who had taught him to find keys in moments of crisis.
My beloved brothers and sisters and friends, I bear earnest and solemn witness to you that the Lord does communicate with us as individuals. Never, never fall victim to the heinous thought that He does not care for you, that He does not know you. That is a satanic lie, one designed to destroy you.
Just two weeks ago, I was sending e-mail, or electronic messages, through our personal computer in our apartment in Tokyo, Japan, to a nephew in China; a son in Pocatello, Idaho; and another nephew in Longview, Washington. In the midst of formulating these e-mail messages, a miracle occurred. Our son-in-law in Salt Lake City sent us an instant, on-screen e-mail message. He simply asked, “Are you there?” I immediately responded, “I am here.” And we “spoke” with one another via the miracle of e-mail.
Of course, God can and does communicate with us. According to the Doctrine and Covenants, section 88, verses 6 to 13, there is a light which “proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.” There is a light “in all things.” It gives “life to all things.” It is the “law by which all things are governed, even the power of God.” This light “giveth you light [and] is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings.”
Our Father has a superb communication system through which He transmits messages and feelings. “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost … which shall dwell in your heart. … This is the spirit of revelation” (D&C 8:2–3). He knows and communicates with His sheep and they hear His voice (see John 10:14–16).
The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to pray and covenants that answers will be forthcoming. “Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name,” He declares (3 Ne. 18:19). “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed” (3 Ne. 18:21).
Note His insistence that “ye must always pray … in my name.” There is “no other name given … whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).
We read this powerful account in the book of Moses, chapter 1. In verse 3, the Lord declares to Moses: “Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?” [Moses 1:3] Moses must have been overwhelmed with that announcement. Imagine what he must have felt with the next declaration as recorded in verse 4 of the same chapter: He says, “And, behold, thou art my son.” This is the Lord God Almighty, and “Endless is [His] name,” He declared. And then He says to Moses, “Thou art my son.” [Moses 1:4] What a moment. If the Lord were to appear to you, He would say the same thing.
Following the Lord’s appearance to Moses, Satan appeared to him. He commanded Moses, saying, “Son of man, worship me” (Moses 1:12). Moses looked at Satan, and with confidence in the Lord’s recent revelation, he rebuked him, saying to Satan: “Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?” (Moses 1:13).
Moses had learned something about himself. He was a son of God. Oh, how important it is that our children be reminded of this truth. And Moses commanded Satan to leave, but to no avail. And Satan was angry. Moses again commanded him to depart, and Satan cried and ranted upon the earth, again refusing to leave (see Moses 1:18–19).
Moses then realized that he had a major challenge on his hands. This was no ordinary person. He was fearsome, angry, and powerful. Moses wanted no part of this and commanded boldly, “Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory. And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook” (Moses 1:20–21).
Here was a power that was dark and bitter. How could Moses withstand such? In this great moment of crisis, “Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan” (Moses 1:21). He now appealed to a power beyond his own. He tapped into a source of strength and authority through the Lord Jesus Christ, a power which Satan could not defy. “And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not” (Moses 1:22).
Years ago, one of our colleagues shared this tender experience with us. His young daughter, Kim, had just learned to count. In fact, she could count all the way from one to ten. They were so excited they called Grandma. “Hi, Grandma. Do you want to hear me count?” Then she began to count, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Perhaps the Savior smiled and was pleased that Kim could count from one to ten.
When we use these sacred words, “in the name of Jesus Christ,” they are much more than a way to get out of a prayer or out of a testimony or out of a talk. We are on holy ground, brothers and sisters. We are using a name most sublime, most holy, and most wonderful—the very name of the Son of God. We are now able to come unto the Father through His Beloved Son. What power and reassurance and peace come when we really pray in His name. This conclusion to the prayer may, in many ways, be the most important part of the prayer. We can appeal to the Father through His victorious Son with confidence that our prayers will be heard. We can ask and receive, we can seek and find and subsequently find the open door.
I testify to you in that holy name, even the name of Jesus Christ, that God is our Father. We are His children. Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son in the flesh. He is our beloved Savior and Redeemer. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.