Lessons on Freedom and Patriotism
Lesson No. Twenty-Six
Prayer Opens the Way for Freedom and the Gospel
The divine pattern in taking the gospel to the world is described in 1 Nephi 22: The "marvelous work" (Vs 8) is the restoration of the gospel. Through the power of the Holy Ghost the Lord "bares his arm in the eyes of all nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel" to the world (Vs 11). Verse 12 describes the sequence the Lord uses: First, "he will bring them out of captivity" meaning the Lord will establish sufficient freedom so the gospel can be preached and converts can be "gathered together to the lands of their inheritance." This refers to members of the Church who gather in branches, wards, and stakes in their own land. Then "they shall be brought out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel." These new members will have a testimony of the Savior and all the blessings of the gospel.
This pattern was followed when communism began to collapse with the Berlin Wall in 1989. The disintegration of the Soviet Union followed in 1991. Freedom came first then the gospel was taken to many newly independent nations. Our son John was among the first missionaries sent to Ukraine. Then in less than twenty years a temple was dedicated in Ukraine.
Prayer opens the gates - Joseph Smith's prayer opened the way for the restoration. President Spencer W. Kimball asked members to pray that nations would open so the gospel could be preached: “We have launched a prayer campaign throughout the Church and hope that all people, parents, youth, and children, will join in a serious continuous petition to the Lord to open the gates of the nations and soften the hearts of the kings and the rulers to the end that missionaries may enter all the lands and teach the gospel in the approved way” (Ensign, Oct. 1975, Insights from June Conference, emphasis added).
Experts are baffled as to why the Soviet Union collapsed so quickly and completely. We know that it wasn’t just because of military or economic power, or diplomacy. In his opening address in October 2008 Conference President Monson explained the reason and gave a promise: “As did President Spencer W. Kimball over 32 years ago, I urge you to pray for the opening of those areas, that we might share with them the joy of the gospel. As we prayed then in response to President Kimball’s pleadings, we saw miracles unfold as country after country, formerly closed to the Church, was opened. Such will transpire again as we pray in faith.”
The prayer of faith by members of the Church are not only answered but they are an indicator of when we are sufficiently prepared to do our part in taking the gospel to the world. The Lord opens the door, but the Church must be prepared to send missionaries and leadership, and do many other things that are necessary to retain members and build the Church spiritually and temporally in nations where the gospel goes for the first time.
Testimony - We are witnesses that the united prayers of faithful Church members were answered when freedom and the gospel came to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. President Monson's promise will be fulfilled that "such will transpire again as we pray in faith.” What a wonderful opportunity to teach our children when we pray in our families for these gates to be opened.
The Lord will again "bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel” (1 Nephi 22:11). We can be certain that the Lord will provide enough freedom so that the gospel can go China, the Islamic countries, and other nations where it now seems impossible. Prayer is an important and effective way we can be part of the fulfillment of this prophesy and of the great hastening that is taking place.