Enos Prays

An Address by President Spencer W. Kimball

 

To those of us who would pay pennies toward our unfathomable debt, may we remember Enos, who, like many of us, had great need. Like many sons of good families he strayed. How heinous were his sins I do not know, but they must have been grievous. He wrote,

And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins . . .

The account is graphic, his words impressive.

Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; . . .

But no animals did he shoot or capture. He was traveling a path he had never walked before. He was reaching, knocking, asking, pleading; he was being born again. He was seeing the pleasant valleys across the barren wastes, He was searching his soul. He would have lived all his life in a weed patch, but now he sought a watered garden. He continues,

. . . and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. . .

Memory was both cruel and kind. The pictures his father had painted now stirred his soul. He was warmed and inspired. Then memory opened the doors to his ugly past. His soul revolted at the reliving of the baser things but yearned now for the better. A rebirth was in process. It was painful but rewarding.

And my soul hungered; . . .

The spirit of repentance was taking hold. He was remorseful for his transgression, eager to bury the old man of sin, to resurrect the new man of faith, of godliness.

. . . and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; . . .

He had now come to realize that no one can be saved in his sins, that no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God, that there must be a purging, a new heart in a new man. He knew it was not a small thing to change hearts, and minds, and tissues. He writes,

. . . and all the day long did I cry unto him; . . .

Here is no casual prayer; here no trite, worn phrases; here no momentary appeal. All the day long, with seconds turning into minutes, and minutes into hours, and hours into an "all day long." But when the sun had set, relief had still not come, for repentance is not a single act nor forgiveness an unearned gift.  So precious to him was communication with, and approval of, his Redeemer that his determined soul pressed on without ceasing.

Yea, and when the night came, I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

Could the Redeemer resist such determined imploring? How many of you have persisted? How many of you, with or without serious transgressions, have ever prayed all day and into the night? Have you ever wept and prayed for many hours? How many of you have prayed for five hours? for one? for thirty minutes? for ten?

How much do you pray, my . . . friends? How often? How earnestly? If you should have errors in your life, have you wrestled before the Lord? Have you found your deep forest full of solitude? How much has your soul hungered? How deeply have your needs impressed your heart? When did you kneel before your Maker in total quiet? For what did you pray--your own soul? How long did you thus plead for recognition--all day long? And when the shadows fell, did you still raise you voice in mighty prayer, or did you liquidate it with some trite word and phrase?

As you struggle in the spirit and cry mightily and covenant sincerely, the voice of the Lord God will come into your mind, as it did to that of Enos,

. . . Thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blest.

Do you think prayer is not answered because you do not understand? Did Christ not come because men would not receive Him? Is there no sound vibration because ears do not perceive it? Are there no vibrations in the air because no receiver sets are in tune? Does God not speak because our ears are closed? And does He not appear when eyes are leaden? Some people hear a noise. Others think it thunders, while others hear and understand the voice of God and see him personally.

We all need prayers to bring us close to God, to give us new birth. Like Alma said,

. . . I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.

. . . All mankind. . . must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;

And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. (Mosiah 27:24-26).

And in all our prayers we remember our insufficiency, our limitations, our dependence, our lack of wisdom. Like children, we do not always know what is best for us - what is expedient. And so in all our prayers we say, "Thy will be done" - and mean it. We would not ask a Church leader for advice, then disregard it. We must never ask the Lord for blessings, then ignore the answer. And so we pray, "Thy will be done, O Lord. Thou knowest best, kind Father. I will conform. I will accept it gratefully."

(Spencer W. Kimball, Prayer, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1961, pp. 8-10.)