Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Praying with the Prophet

When I was a missionary in the Toronto Canada Mission under M. Russell Ballard he told us as missionaries and later in General Conference abut a Solemn Assembly where all of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve came to Toronto. D. Arthur Haycock, the personal secretary of the Prophet, was delayed at the front desk of the Hotel so Elder Ballard not wanting President Kimball to stand in the hallway offered to take his key up to his room. N. Eldon Tanner invited him in to the Prophet's room for an evening prayer with the men. I thought it would be cool to pray with a prophet and hoped that in my lifetime I would get the opportunity.

Ten years later I was privileged to be hired by President Ezra Taft Benson to write his biography and teachings book. Due to circumstances beyond my control Sheri Dew took over the biography so I concentrated my efforts on the teachings book. Dennis Wardle and myself worked for months condensing his 40,000 pages of quotes down to around 700 pages. On the day of the mission presidents' seminar we began the work of reading page by page to President Ezra Taft Benson and his wife Flora Amussen Benson in their apartment in the Eagle Gate Apartment Building. We always began each session with a prayer. We would arrive early around 4:30a.m. as they would finish their Book of Mormon scripture reading. The first day in the afternoon after the Mission Presidents' Seminar that we were there President Benson called on me to say the prayer. I offered a sweet prayer with genuine sincerity that we would have the Holy Ghost with us as we read and edited each quote and that the Lord would bless President and Sister with the health and concentration to work through it. We not only prayed with him once like Elder Ballard but for fifteen days. President and Sister Benson would always comment on the prayers as Dennis and I alternated day after day. It was a moving experience to pray with the Prophet and his wife we developed a love for one another as we poured out our hearts to the Lord that the teachings book would lead men to Christ and change the lives of those who would read it. The amazing thing about our praying was that Dennis Wardle had been a bishop, stake president, and Regional Representative of the Twelve. I had never held any significant calling and was an elder in the elder's quorum holding a calling only as a counselor and an assistant ward secretary as my claim to fame.

One day when we were reading a particularly moving quote about the power of the Holy Ghost President Benson began to cry. He said, "I can't believe I said something as beautiful as this." The last day for reading came. Dennis Wardle I could tell wanted to say the prayer on the last day. He asked President Benson who he wanted to pray. Without hesitation he smiled and said I want Brother Bruno to pray. I pour my heart out to the Lord thanking him that he had preserved the Prophet and had strengthened him so he could personally decide every word that would be printed in his teachings book. Sister Benson said that it was one of the sweetest prayers she had ever heard in support of her husband as a Prophet of God. I have to admit that I felt the Lord had honored me to be able to pray eight times out of the fifteen for my sacrifice and efforts. Up to that time it was my greatest accomplishment in life to extract and edit the words of a living prophet, that book and my Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord (on this blog) represent some of the finest statements ever made by the General Authorities.

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