President M. Russell Ballard: ‘Watch Ye Therefore, and Pray Always’

Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Notable quotes:

“I assure each one of you that the Lord knows you, that He is aware of your concern and anguish, and that He loves you — intimately, personally, deeply and forever.”
“We stand today at a major crossroads in history, and the nations of the earth are in desperate need of divine inspiration and guidance.”
“Pray for your family. Pray for the leaders of nations. Pray for the courageous people who are on the front lines in the current battles against social, environmental, political and biological plagues that impact all people throughout the world, the rich and the poor, the young and the old.”

Summary points:

  • Follow the Lord’s direction to pray always to “escape” the contentions of the day.
  • Pray for the nations of the earth and their leaders to find divine inspiration and guidance.
  • God hears and answers prayers in His own way and in His own time.

Talk summary: 

Near the close of His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ taught his disciples to “Watch ye therefore, and pray always” to be counted as worthy to “escape all these things” that would cause commotion.

“Certainly, we live in a time during which things are in commotion. Many people fear the future, and many hearts have turned away from their faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ.”

News reports are filled with accounts of violence, moral denigration and a deadly global pandemic. Lives are being disrupted and many feel isolated and alone.

“I think often of those of you who are suffering, worried, afraid or feeling alone. I assure each one of you that the Lord knows you, that He is aware of your concern and anguish, and that He loves you — intimately and personally, deeply and forever.

Video: President Ballard pleads with people everywhere to pray for the United States

“Each night when I pray, I ask the Lord to bless all who are burdened with grief, pain, loneliness and sadness. I know that other Church leaders echo that same prayer. Our hearts, individually and collectively, go out to you and our prayers go to God on your behalf.”

Prayers are needed today for the nations of the earth.

“No matter how you pray or to whom you pray, please exercise your faith — whatever your faith may  be — and pray for your country and for your national leaders. … This is not about politics or policy. This is about peace and the healing that can come to individual souls as well as to the souls of countries.”

The Savior taught His followers to not limit who they pray for.

“Sincerely praying for those who may be considered our enemies demonstrates our belief that God can change our hearts and the hearts of others. Such prayers should strengthen our resolve to make whatever changes are necessary in our own lives, families and communities.”

At this time of commotion, redouble one’s commitment to prayer. 

In the news:

About the speaker:

  • President M. Russell Ballard has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1985 and was set apart as Acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Jan. 14, 2018.
  • President Ballard’s great-great-grandfather is Hyrum Smith, a brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
  • President Ballard and his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, are the parents of five daughters and two sons. Sister Ballard died on Oct. 1, 2018.
  • President Ballard served as mission president in Toronto, Ontario, from 1974-1977.

Recently on Social:

  • In an Aug. 9 Instagram post, President M. Russell Ballard taught that revelation comes during still and quiet moments.
  • Two days before Pioneer Day, President Ballard spoke about how the day is one which celebrates the live and ministry of Jesus Christ, in a video posted on Facebook on July 22.
Pioneer Day is a Celebration of Jesus Christ

Friday is Pioneer Day—a day when we celebrate and honor pioneers. As I’ve pondered about this important day, I’ve thought about how the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everybody. And, one of the wonderful things that we understand and celebrate in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that we're all sons and daughters of God, our Eternal Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior for all men and all women, all boys, all girls, all young adults.When we contemplate what we're celebrating, it’s really the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fact that He inspired early pioneer leaders when they came to find this great valley and settle it for us. The more you learn about those who led the way and made all of this possible, the more you realize the hand of the Lord had to be in it.

Posted by M. Russell Ballard on Wednesday, July 22, 2020
  • In a video posted on Facebook on July 19, President Ballard spoke about a defining moment while serving as a young missionary in England that helped him understand the Lord’s voice in his life.
How I Hear Him

Since the early days of my life, I have sought to hear the voice of the Lord and understand His guiding hand in my life. In this video, I share a defining moment in my journey to understand His voice in my life. That experience came while I served as a young missionary in England, and it has shaped the rest of my life. I think of this moment as one of the first times that I have felt very, very close to heaven.I am eternally thankful for the shaping experience I had as a young missionary in England, because it taught me what it feels like to experience the Lord’s guiding hand in my life. Today, 71 years later, I can boldly testify that it is a privilege for us to be able to “hear Him” in our modern world. May we each strive for quiet moments, free from distraction, to feel the presence of the Lord in our lives. #HearHim

Posted by M. Russell Ballard on Thursday, July 16, 2020
  • President Ballard wrote about the importance of prayer during the COVID-19 pandemic, in an Instagram post on April 22.
View this post on Instagram

I am grateful for the many opportunities we have had to fast and pray during the last few weeks for relief from the COVID-19 pandemic. As we face the future, I hope we will continue to pray. Each of us should continue to invite our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends on social media to pray. The secularists and the skeptics scoff at the need for prayer in our modern world of science and knowledge. I disagree. Throughout history, it is clear and undeniable that many influential leaders have believed they had a better chance at receiving needed miracles if they entered into a relationship with God, which required their adherence to that God and regular petitions of prayer. For many years, people have come together in many moments of prayer. Some have been in expression of gratitude. Sadly, such prayers are rarely called for or permitted in public anymore. More often, moments of prayer have come in the wake of tragedies—natural disasters and, increasingly, man-caused calamities. All around the world and across all faith traditions, a movement of prayer can and will change hearts, improve dialogue, increase understanding, and lead us all to better love and serve one another. It is time again to unite to pray for our countries, for our leaders, for our people, and for our families. Good women and good men, united in prayer and faith-filled effort, can change the history of the world.

A post shared by M. Russell Ballard (@mrussellballard) on