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August 22, 2012
Just for a Day
Spoken with Care
by Kathryn Grant

As a Primary leader, I became concerned about a seemingly simple aspect of the children’s talks and prayers: the way they ended them. It was as though they switched into some kind of automatic mode, pronouncing the final “in the name of Jesus Christ, amen” rapidly and without thought.

It wasn’t just the children. As I listened in sacrament meeting, I noticed many adults doing the same thing: closing their talks and prayers with the obligatory phrase, seemingly not thinking about what they were saying and why.

The problem was highlighted for me by a young boy I knew from a different ward, a convert, who was baptized at age 9. As he was taking the discussions, I loved to hear him pray. His prayers weren’t rote, but instead were personal conversations with his Heavenly Father. He always closed his prayers reverently in the Savior’s name.

Sadly, though, his prayers changed as he became integrated into his ward and heard those around him pray. Soon he also was ending his prayers rapidly and without attention to the sacred name he was saying. I couldn’t help but feel that something special had been lost.

One Sunday I decided to talk to the Primary children. I explained the sacredness of the Savior’s name, and told them how our prayers can only be answered because of Jesus and what He did for us. General conference was coming up, and I also asked the children to listen to how the General Authorities closed their prayers and talks, knowing these leaders would never say the Lord’s name carelessly or without thought.

I will never forget the experience that followed that day. The young girl who gave the closing prayer ended it carefully and reverently. That sincere act immediately invited the Spirit into the room in a discernible way. In fact, one of the teachers and I looked at each other afterward: “Did you feel that?” There was no question that saying the Savior’s name respectfully had made a difference.

Any time we perform an action repeatedly, it’s easy to stop thinking about it. However, in Doctrine and Covenants 63, the Lord cautions us: “Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips…. Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care” (verses 61 and 64).

The challenge of this week’s column is for all of us to take greater care when using the Savior’s name, particularly at the end of talks and prayers. It takes thought, but after all, we have covenanted to “always remember Him.” One of the best ways we can do that is to be mindful of why we pray in Christ’s name, and to do so thoughtfully and with respect and love.

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