Sunday, January 30, 2011

Temple blessing

Sometimes when I visit the temple, I seek a specific blessing – confirmation of a decision I'm considering, help with an issue I'm confronting, or peace for my troubled heart. This past weekend was one of those times. And the blessing came, at least in part.

I went this time with specific questions, looking for guidance and comfort regarding something going on in my life. As I sat in the endowment room prior to the beginning of the session, I reflected on my questions, saying a silent prayer that I might be tuned in to listen for help that might come. In fact, I was so preoccupied with my concerns at one point that others must have thought I had fallen asleep, but I tuned in soon enough.

Part of the endowment session is a prayer, offered normally for those whose names are on the prayer roll of the temple. Patrons may include names on the prayer roll, and members can even phone in names to be included. While the prayers follow a specific pattern, they are not prescribed; their content is up to the person offering them and his inspiration.

The prayer in my session was so specific that it seemed perfectly tailored to the questions I had brought with me to the temple that day. It was unique from other prayers I had heard in that circumstance; I had never heard certain elements of this prayer in such a setting before. As I listened to it, I felt the Lord's love pour on me like the balm of Gilead. There was no voice to answer my specific question, but rather simply the knowledge that the Lord had heard my cry: I knew He was there. (That's what Isaiah 58 promises: that we'll cry and know He is there.)

After that experience, I've had repeated promptings through the weekend (including in the talks and lessons I heard in church the next day, in conversations with my spouse, and during the course of my personal prayers) that have shaped how I think I will respond to my challenges. But the prayer in the temple was a dramatic and significant blessing for me.

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