PROVO, Utah — Pleading with college-age young adults to do the simple things that will move them forward spiritually, Elder Henry B. Eyring addressed the topic "Always" Jan. 3.
"We want to know the way to endure whatever surprises life may give us, always ready with the power to pass the tests which come," he said.
Speaking at a Church Educational System fireside, Elder Eyring addressed a congregation of more than 18,000 in the BYU Marriott Center — as well as thousands of young adults participating in the fireside via satellite at more than 600 locations in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
Elder Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve and commissioner of Church education, was accompanied to the fireside by his wife, Kathleen. Also in attendance were Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy and BYU president, and his wife, Marilyn.
During his address, Elder Eyring explained that the Savior uses the word "always" in two particular settings.
The first setting, he explained, is in every sacrament meeting, when Church members covenant during the sacrament prayer "to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember Him."
Elder Eyring continued that another setting in which the word "always" is used is in the commandment to "pray always." (3 Nephi 18:18.)
"You promise always to remember Him. And He warns you to pray always," said Elder Eyring. "You may have wondered, as have I, why He used the word, 'always,' given the nature of mortality as it weighs upon us
Elder Eyring told the young adults that he is not wise enough to know all of the Savior's purposes in giving a covenant to always remember Him and in His warning to pray always.
"But I know one," he said. "It is because He knows perfectly the powerful forces which influence us and also what it means to be human."
Elder Eyring then spoke of the two great opposing forces in the world.
The first force, righteousness, can be seen in the increasing number of temples being built around the world, as well as an increasing number of missionaries and missions in the Church. He also noted that the positive treatment by leaders of nations and opinion makers toward the Church is a fulfillment of prophecy.
"Even the world can see the emergence of a power beyond what might have been reasonably predicted. Yet few seem to recognize that the power stems not from organization, or programs, or wealth," he said. "Rather, it comes from individual hearts changed by the faith to keep the commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Elder Eyring then noted, that as has always been true, there is an opposing power in the world: the power of sin.
"I will not try to bring examples to your minds," he told the young adults. "The media and what you see in the lives of those around you present you with tragedy enough."
Elder Eyring explained that the Master not only foresees perfectly the growing power of righteousness and sin, but also what it is like to be mortal. "He knows what it is like to have the cares of life press in upon us," he said. "He knows that both the trials we face and our human powers to deal with them ebb and flow."
Elder Eyring continued that the Savior knows that human powers to cope are not constant. "He knows the mistake we can so easily make. It is to underestimate the forces working on us and to rely too much on our human powers," he said. "And so He offers us the covenant to always remember Him and the warning to pray always so that we will place our reliance on Him, our only safety. It is not hard to know what to do. The very difficultly of remembering always and praying always is a needed spur to try harder. The danger lies in delay or drift."
Elder Eyring told the young adults that both the need for spiritual strength and the opportunity to acquire it will increase at rates they underestimate.
"My message is a plea, a warning, and a promise," he said.
Start by remembering Him, said Elder Eyring, noting that the Savior gave members the scriptures so that they can know Him. "I plead with you to return to the scriptures in some way that opens your mind and heart to be taught."
Elder Eyring continued, "I also plead with you to be determined to pray with all the energy of your heart, that you might have every gift which a loving Heavenly Father knows you must have to serve His Son and to endure against the power of darkness. Just as you can have love in your heart always, your heart can be drawn out in prayer, always."
Elder Eyring told the young adults that the Lord hears the prayers of their hearts. "The feelings of your heart, of love for our Heavenly Father and for His beloved Son, can be so constant that your prayers will ascend always."
Adding to his plea, Elder Eyring then gave a warning.
"You have the right, the obligation to choose for yourselves," he said. "You can search the scriptures or not. You can choose to work hard enough, to ponder and to obey His commandments, that the Holy Ghost can be your companion. Then you will come to know the Savior better and better and your heart will swell with love for Him, or you can choose to delay. You can choose to drift, deciding past efforts will be enough
"My warning is a simple matter of cause and effect. Jesus Christ is the light and the life of the world. If we do not choose to move toward Him, we will find that we have moved away."
Then Elder Eyring gave the young adults promises.
First, he promised that as Church members let their hearts be drawn to the Savior, to always remember Him, they will have put on spiritual armor.
"You will be protected against pride, because you will know any success comes not from your human powers. And you will be protected against the thoughts which come rushing in upon us that we are too weak, too inexperienced, too unworthy to do what we are called of God to do to serve and help save His children."
Second, Elder Eyring promised the young adults that whether or not they choose to keep their covenant to always remember Him, He will always remember them.
"I promise you that this day you will feel the influence of the Holy Ghost touch your heart as you search the scriptures with new purpose and as you pray earnestly. From that, you will this day have the assurance that God lives, that He answers prayers, that Jesus is the living Christ, and that He loves you. And you will feel your love for Him increase."