Prayer is incredible! I’m slowly starting to grasp how powerful it really is. Prayer truly invites the spirit into our lives and nothing can beat the feeling of having the companionship of the spirit.
There’s a darling woman in the ward I am currently serving in that just might be Marilyn Monroe’s twin. We had visited “Marilyn” twice before and she had gladly welcomed us in, but she seemed very hesitant to come to church. On our third visit, her walls came down and she told us how she didn’t feel worthy of her Savior. She constantly felt abandoned by God because of the decisions she had made and she didn’t have the desire to come back to church because she felt she no longer deserved to feel the spirit. My companion and I bore our testimonies and left her with the most heart-felt prayer we could muster. We told her about the spirit we felt in the room right then, but she told us she sadly couldn’t feel it. We left her home that day feeling a bit defeated. So when Sunday rolled around and Marilyn walked through those church doors, you can bet our jaws just about hit the ground.
Later that day she told us her side of the story…
“I was unwilling to believe I was worthy of God’s love ,and loving myself. The sister missionaries came to my house and offered to pray with me. The next morning I felt different. I no longer felt absolute hatred for myself. After 32 years of feeling unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness, I was able to be at peace and not judge myself. I was able to truly forgive myself. Sometimes the Lord shows up at our doorsteps in the form of missionaries, neighbors, or even strangers. That day, the missionaries were my miracles.”
Though it may have taken more time than we had anticipated, that prayer and the spirit that prayer invited into Marilyn’s home worked a miracle. The Spirit came and witnessed to Marilyn that she truly is a daughter of God, and therefore is worthy of the Savior’s Atonement. The Holy Ghost does more than comfort and guide us, He provides a “remission of (our) sins by fire” as Nephi tells us in 2 Nephi 31:17.
Joseph F. Smith describes the power of an experience with the Holy Ghost beautifully: “When a man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation of an angel, or even of the Son of God himself, would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed, but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase.”
I know that feeling the Spirit is not something casual or small. It is powerful, incredible, and a gift from God. I am sincerely grateful for that third member of the Godhead, that not only leads and guides me, but has the power to sanctify and purify each of us. I pray that each of us will make more of an effort to invite the spirit into our lives. And I say these things in the sacred name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.