I was baptised into the church when I was 18 years old. One morning at 6AM during my Senior Year of High School in my investigation process, our early morning seminary teacher said something that planted in my heart from that moment on. Brother Stark was the teacher; a simple country man in small-town Nevada and my friend’s dad. Seminary was a new experience for me so I was sitting on the edge of my seat in these lessons trying to soak in what it meant to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This one morning, I believe he had just read Moroni 7:48 which says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.” (Emphasis added) When he finished, he paused looking down at his scriptures for what felt like a long time. When he looked up, his eyes were filled with tears and he finally spoke,
“Isn’t this what it is all about? Isn’t this why we all do what we do?
So that we can see His face?”
My heart answered silently but profoundly with a resounding YES! as my own eyes filled with tears. At that moment it felt like I could hear Christ’s voice whispering to me, as if he was saying, “I know you Melisa. You matter, and this path really is the way for you to draw closest to me.”
I never have forgotten the impression that moment made on me. In my own way, I have sought Christ’s face my entire life. I have sought to remember that “the WHY” behind all the church callings, the to do’s, the child rearing, the keeping my family together, the ministering, the missionary work, the ward activities, the community service, and the temple work… it really all has the same aim… To see His face. There is nothing more important than this.
I have often felt frustrated and worried, however, about raising my children in the Gospel, and wanting them to have the same kind of meaningful conversion experience that I had. I have wondered how I can show them in their own little way, that there is sooo much more to this thing we call “church,” or “prayer,” or “keeping the sabbath day holy,” or “family home evening.” How can I prepare them for the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior? How can they connect in their hearts like I did that day in seminary, to the beautiful beckoning of our Savior, to Hear Him and seek his face?
About a month ago in a family home evening lesson we reviewed President Nelson’s encouragement to “Hear Him.” It was a beautiful reinforcement of how crucial it is at this time to connect to our Savior more than ever before. The lesson was winding down and I got the idea to try something new. We thought we would only do this for a week, but turns out it has stuck much longer. Our family decided to start saying two words at the end of every family prayer; “Is there anything you want us to KNOW or DO?” My kids are 3, 6, 8, & 10. It has taken what was once our “rogue family prayers,” and brought such a sweet spirit. Now, after prayer, whether it’s at the breakfast table or for our at home Sunday Church, or whatever it is, we have a discussion about what happened during the pause; “What did you hear? What did you feel? What did you notice?”
I know that there is a God who hears and answers us. Here have been some of our families’ experiences and feelings.
Usually when I finally sit down to the dinner table, I am kind of tense and anxious. When we finish our prayer with this, what I most often experience is a calm presence through me, and the tension melts away.
My husband CJ shared, “I think the coolest thing is how real it has made our prayers. It has improved our family prayers so much. It’s like we’re actually having conversations with God now, as a family.”
Our 10 year old, Ellie recalled one experience; “I remember when we all really wanted a pool and so we asked as a family if we were supposed to get a pool. The answer was a yes and a no. I knew that we might do it, or we might not, but it was okay either way.”
Our 8 year old, Christopher said about the pause, “Ummm I dont know exactly what He is trying to say, but I get a tingly feeling and it feels good.”
Our enthusiastic 6 year old, Daily said, “Sometimes the answers are funny. Like that one time that He said I should go out for a swim that day!” She is also the one who remembers EVERY time, so no matter who is saying the prayer, if we forgot, she will say, “You forgot the two words!” Then, we will pause for another moment to add it on in our prayer, even though the prayer was technically already over.
Will you try it with our family? Join us, as we increase our capacity to hear the Lord’s voice and seek His face, as a family. Join us as we Hear Him.
All you have to do is ask at the end of prayer, “Is there anything you want us to know or do?” Wait for just a moment. And then say, “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen”