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David O. McKay Diaries – “Prayer”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “Prayer.” You can view other subjects here.

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May 21, 1954

Telephone Calls

3.  Brother A. George Raymond of the Logan Temple called.  Said the farmers in Logan would like to hold a special meeting at which time they will pray for rain.  The water shortage is very acute, and many are desirous of holding this service.  I advised Brother Raymond that it would be better not to hold a special meeting, but to use their regular Fast Day meetings for this purpose and further that there should be no public announcements of the matter.

Thurs., 23 Dec., 1954:

“2:30 p.m.  Annual meeting of Church Authorities and Employees of the Church Offices was held in commemoration of the birth of the Savior and of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  The main lobby of the building was crowded to capacity — loud speakers had been installed so that those sitting beyond the double doors could hear.

I was the only member of the General Authorities who spoke.  I commented upon the remarks of the previous speakers, and then referred to the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 149 years ago today.  I said that he was the most favored lad of all time.  I then told of the power of prayer and referred to an incident of my childhood when I prayed at night being sorely afraid, and a voice came to me saying, ‘Don’t be afraid; nothing will hurt you.’  I referred to Samuel of old who ‘heart the voice of God;’ to Nephi who was ‘highly favored of the Lord all his days;’  to Joseph Smith, who saw the Father and the Son.

In conclusion I said that what one thinks about when alone with his thoughts, is a good index to one’s character.  I referred to the Prophet’s statement ‘If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of no value to me,’ and then told of his thoughts when he was imprisoned, and of his desire that the hymn ‘A Poor, wayfaring man of grief,’ be sung to him.  I quoted from memory all the stanzas of that poem.

Key employees of the office were also speakers on this occasion; viz., Clare Middlemiss, my secretary, Elders Franklin J. Murdock, Gordon Hinckley, and Joseph Anderson.

It was a very inspirational meeting, and all who attended wre impressed with the spirit of the occasion.”

Tues., 3 July, 1956:

“President McKay made the statement this morning that he believes that civilization is just now beginning to enter into the spiritual realm; that with the discovery of the atomic energy, a whole new world has been opened up to man.  Man is living more in the animal realm; true, he has houses with all the modern comforts, clean linen, beautiful clothing, and other luxuries, but, afterall, he is pretty much animal.

Said that from the time he was a small child, he realized that there is a spiritual realm to which we may be responsive.  As a young boy when he was exceedingly frightened at night, he got out of bed, and on his knees prayed to his Heavenly Father for protection.  In answer to his prayer, he heard a voice distinctly say ‘Be not afraid; nothing will harm you.’  ‘This incident is as clear in my mind today as it was the night that it happened.’  (note by cm)

Fri., 19 July 1963:

Richfield – Conditions of Drouth

We read a letter of the Richfield Welfare Region officers who recited conditions of distress in the Stakes of this region due to the drouth conditions which have rendered thirty percent of the farms idle for lack of water.  Many farms already have used all the available water this Season.  Unless there is rain, range conditions will be very poor.

The letter stated that the people have been encouraged to be faithful; to remember their tithes and offerings; to fast and to ask the Lord to come to their aid.  Ditches have been cemented to conserve the water.  Legal counsel say drilling for water is illegal.

After consideration, I directed that they be encouraged to continue the process of applying for permits to drill wells, and to call upon the Lord.

Mon., 31 Aug. 1964:

“In LDS Hospital

11:10 a.m.

President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came in to my hospital room to see me.  I was very glad to see them, and greeted them affectionately.

President Smith remained, awaiting the coming of Presidents Brown and Tanner, and Elder Isaacson left to attend the special fast and prayer meeting to be held in the office of the First Presidency.

11:30 a.m.

Presidents Brown and Tanner arrived.  After a few words of greeting, according to arrangements that had been made for the special fast and prayer meeting of all the General Authorities, Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Joseph Fielding Smith gathered around my bedside, and I asked President Tanner to anoint me, and President Smith to seal the anointing.

At this same hour, the Twelve, the Assistants to the Twelve, members of the First Council of Seventy, and the presiding Bishopric met in the office of the First Presidency, all of whom, I learned later, had come fasting, and held a special prayer meeting.  Elder Harold B. Lee was voice in representing the Brethren in offering a prayer in my behalf.  It was a gathering of the choicest men on earth — all of them loyal, willing, and devoted.

I was very grateful to know that my beloved wife and family were also fasting and praying for me at this same hour.

4:00 p.m.

My secretary, Clare, called at the hospital, and reported about the meeting.  She told me of the love and devotion of the Brethren — of their cooperation and willingness to come from long distances to attend the special prayer meeting in my behalf.

I then told her that my prayers had been answered — nothing spectacular, but were just answered; that Brother Joseph Fielding Smith had never been so inspired; that his blessing was an inspiration.  (See also diary of September 3, 1964)”