‘Through prayer, we show love for God’

Elder Russell M. Nelson concluded his Saturday morning conference address — titled "Sweet Power of Prayer" — with a "song of prayer," performed by the Tabernacle Choir.

"The Lord has said that 'the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me,' (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12)," said Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve.

The words to the song, "Our Prayer to Thee," were written by Elder Nelson and set to music from the Church's hymnbook.

"Through prayer, we can show our love for God," said Elder Nelson. "And He has made it so easy. We may pray to Him any time."

Prophets, he continued, have long told Latter-day Saints to pray humbly and frequently.

Jesus taught members how to pray, he said. "We pray to our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Ghost. . . . Jesus revealed that we pray to a wise Father who knows what things we have need of, before we ask Him."

The sweet power of prayer can be intensified by fasting, when appropriate to a particular need, Elder Nelson said.

"Prayers can be offered even in silence. One can think a prayer, especially when words would interfere. We often kneel to pray; we may stand or be seated. Physical position is less important than is spiritual submission to God. . . .

"We pray privately, with our families regularly, at mealtime, and in daily activities. Simply summarized, we are a praying people."

Elder Nelson said many have had experience with the sweet power of prayer. One of his was shared with a stake patriarch from southern Utah.

Elder Nelson first met the patriarch more than 40 years ago, when Elder Nelson was a surgeon during the early pioneering days of surgery of the heart. The patriarch had two faulty valves in his heart; one could be repaired by surgery, the other could not. Thus, Dr. Nelson did not advise an operation. But the patriarch continued to ask for help.

"Finally, in desperation, he spoke to me with considerable emotion: 'Dr. Nelson, I have prayed for help and have been directed to you. The Lord will not reveal to me how to repair that second valve, but He can reveal it to you. Your mind is so prepared. If you will operate upon me, the Lord will make it known to you what to do. Please perform the operation that I need, and pray for the help that you need.' "

Elder Nelson said the patriarch's plea had a profound effect on him. After considerable prayer, he performed the surgery.

The day of the surgery he still did not know how to repair the faulty valve. However, after beginning the surgery a message impressed upon his mind. Dr. Nelson knew what was wrong and saw a diagram in his mind, showing him how to fix it. With faith, he followed the diagram and repaired the valve.

"We tested the valve and found the leak to be reduced remarkably," recalled Elder Nelson. "My assistant said, 'It's a miracle.'

"I responded, 'It's an answer to prayer.'

"The patient's recovery was rapid and his relief gratifying. Not only was he helped in a marvelous way, but surgical help for other people with similar problems had become a possibility. I take no credit. Praise goes to this faithful patriarch and to God, who answered our prayers."