Every parent knows that rearing children brings unexpected challenges and blessings. When my husband and I consider the eternal perspective of the role of parenting, we feel a great weight of responsibility.
Our children now range in age from eighteen to thirty, each differing in temperament and interest. And though they also differ in their current levels of spiritual development, they each value the standards we have tried to uphold.
Their lives, however, have not been without problems. To the contrary, we as parents have spilled our share of tears and have spent our share of time in concerned prayer. Like many parents, we have naively assumed that our children would coast right to those blessed objectives of missions and temple marriages. But the stark realization that our children were normal, down-to-earth human beings capable of error has come to us just as certainly as it does to all parents.
As they became teenagers, in fact, we suddenly realized that our children had the potential to make serious mistakes. Probably the most frightening realization was that we had basically done all we knew how to do, and yet danger signs still loomed before us. What more could we do? We had studied the lessons on rearing children, had served faithfully in Church callings, and had held our home evenings unerringly. We have prayed regularly. Yet the potential of parental failure was still staring at us in various ways.
Then we discovered what has become a great blessing in our lives as we attempt to help our children choose the right. It has been powerful in its effects. This additional blessing was and has continued to be the privilege of going to the house of the Lord to receive his help. As our children have grown, and as life has become more complicated, we have discovered that we can take very specific problems to the Lord in his temple.
As we have worshipped there, we have often followed a three-step process that has blessed our family. First, we prepare for our temple worship; second, we visit the temple; and third, we consecrate our temple visit.
Preparation begins the night before as we begin a fast for the child in need. As opportunity permits during the day, we pray for a feeling of personal preparation and for the appropriate thoughts and attitudes prior to entering the temple.
Once inside the temple, we put our child’s name on the prayer roll. Where appropriate, our meditations are about our role as parents and about the needs of that particular child. When the opportunity comes to participate in prayer, we feel an added measure of spiritual strength as we join in prayer with other faithful members of the Church.
At the completion of the session, one final step remains. Filled with the spirit of the temple, in the peace and quiet of the evening, we find a quiet place where the two of us can be alone, and we consecrate our temple visit with a prayer. The Holy Spirit unites us in our purpose as we pray together, and we always feel fulfilled at the prayer’s conclusion. It is the culmination of the day’s preparation—through fasting, prayer, and temple worship—and we are totally unified in our plea for a son or daughter whose care our Father has entrusted to us. The sweet spirit that accompanies these moments strengthens our communion with the powers of heaven like nothing else we do.
Sometimes answers have come rapidly and clearly. The first time it happened, we perhaps considered it a coincidence. But soon it was obvious that we indeed were engaging in a process that was bringing down the blessings of heaven. No spectacular or miraculous things occurred, nor were such manifestations needed or requested.
Answers sometimes came in the form of people who influenced our children’s lives. One time, a daughter at college was in grave spiritual and possibly physical danger. On the day following our temple visit, the bishop of her ward visited with her and then called us about the visit. He continued this each day for the next three days. A parent could have done no more than this great bishop did to comfort and guide our daughter.
A son, suffering from a lack of testimony, long overdue to serve a full-time mission, was the subject of several of our special visits to the temple. Following each visit came a spark of change into his life, and soon the fire of testimony burned brightly enough that he served his mission. Similarly, other children in our family have been blessed.
Our benefits from worship in the temple have extended beyond blessing our children. On one occasion, my husband faced a very perplexing employment problem, and he decided to take it to the Lord in the temple. On that day, the Lord blessed him with the impression that a particular scripture was the answer to his question.
Upon arriving home, he anxiously opened the scriptures and, to his delight, found help for his problem. This experience opened up a whole new application of the scriptures. The Lord can speak to his children by reminding us of scriptures that contain answers to our challenges. His Spirit can help us understand how passages of scripture apply to us. Regular scripture study fills our minds with divine thoughts with which the Lord can prompt us as occasion warrants. We appreciate this principle we learned in the temple.
In a world where evil abounds and where Satan has unleashed his powers to destroy homes, it is comforting to know that the house of the Lord is there for us. Regardless of what challenges we face as we care for our families, we always find joy when we seek the sanctuary and solace of the temple.