2010
Would You Pray with Me?
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“Would You Pray with Me?” Liahona, Sept. 2010, 38

Would You Pray with Me?

Jonathan H. Bowden, Utah, USA

“I will be back in a few minutes,” my Thai host father said on his way out the front door. At least, I think that’s what he said. My comprehension of the Thai language was sketchy at best.

I had lived in Thailand for about four months as a community service volunteer, and although I could speak basic Thai, I still had a lot to learn. I had just changed areas, but my new host family already understood that I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I did my best to explain my values and even gave the family a Thai Book of Mormon and a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.

As I waited for my host father to come home, I sat on the living room floor and began studying a Thai phrase book. Suddenly, a strong impression came to me to invite him to pray with me. It had occurred to me before to ask him, but the impression had never come so powerfully. During my time in Thailand, I had shared the gospel on many occasions, but I had never asked anyone to pray with me.

My host father and I had a good relationship. I even called him “Dad,” which he seemed to appreciate. I felt excited and then nervous. What if he told me no? What if he felt uncomfortable around me for the rest of my time with his family? Should I chance ruining our relationship? To make matters worse, I didn’t know how to pray in Thai. I didn’t even know enough Thai to ask my host father to pray, so I asked my Heavenly Father for help.

Shortly afterward, I heard a loud clang as the front gate closed. As my host father entered, he greeted me and announced that he was going to bed. I realized that I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. As I opened my mouth to speak, I immediately knew what to say and how to say it in Thai.

“Dad, in America I used to pray with my family, and I really miss doing so. Would you pray with me?” I was surprised by his response.

“Jon,” he replied, “of course I would. Teach me how.”

I then explained in Thai what prayer is but decided to say my prayer in English. I knew God was listening, and I knew my host father felt the Spirit. My eyes welled with tears as he followed the conclusion of my prayer with “amen.”

I can’t express in words the joy and love I felt for my host father and my Heavenly Father. That experience gave me confidence and led to more experiences in sharing the gospel with others. Unfortunately, my host family never accepted my invitation to attend the local branch, but I know that the knowledge I shared with them will benefit them sooner or later.

Though we may not always see the fruits of our labors in this life, I learned that planting gospel seeds can bless at least one life—your own. And in the Lord’s time, those seeds may bless the lives of others.