Father in Heaven, I bow my heart before Thee humbly, seeking Thy companionship. Please hear my prayer.
Oh God, I recognize my human frailty, my sinful nature and my unworthiness before Thee. However, I know by experience, of Thy grace and long suffering. It is through my faith on Thy Son and through His atonement that I have confidence in Thee and Thy capable plan. Please have mercy upon me and forgive me of my sins against Thee. I do not desire to offend Thee or Thy angels and plead Thy patience in my behalf. I recognize and give gratitude for thy Plan of Happiness.
Send Thy Holy Spirit to be my constant companion. May I turn to Thee constantly, as a person turns to a friend for solace, council, friendship, peace, and in all my doings, questions and needs.
Shield and guard me from the adversary and all who chose to follow him. Rebuke him in his efforts and deflect all his fiery darts. Break off the chains and cords with which he strives to bind me. Heal my body and soul from his damage. Rebuke the devourer and bless me in my fields of labor. Influence those that I must interact with in the world for my good, and may I be an influence for Thee with all those that I associate.
Father, I desire the constant companionship of ministering Angels, to be taught daily the things that I should do and to receive greater light and knowledge until I become one with Thee and Thy Son. I desire to be led by the ministering of Angels into the presence of my Savior, to embrace Him and receive His comfort and testimony. I desire to be brought into Thy presence, by Thy Son, to see Thy face and receive Thy witness and testimony.
Oh Father, this is my faith and my desire. May I be an instrument in leading my family and others to the same realization.
Please allow this my plea, in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
I sat in my office cubical considering what my manager had just asked me. “Find out all that you can about Harris CAD. They are our competitor and we want to make sure we stay ahead of them.”
For months I had my older brother Harrison on my mind. He had been living in Lauderdale Florida with my brother Vaughn. His wife and son Sean had remained in Idaho for some time but had recently gone to join him and I worried about them. I prayed for Harrison and his family daily, and in the safety of the dark, even shed tears as I pled for my brother. I knew he was struggle with the church and his faith in God after being unfairly man handled in a church court. I wanted to be closer so that I could spend time fellowshipping/brothershipping.
To my surprise, as I began researching Harris CAD, I discovered that they were based in North Lauderdale Florida. I continued to research and found the name and contact information for the CEO. A though began to stir in my heart and in my mind. I knew it was an encouragement from God so I prayed and asked if I might pursue a position there to allow me to be with my brothers. The answer was definite yes. I was prompted to call immediately, even before sending my resume. During the call an invitation was extended to arrange a flight and hand carry my resume out for an interview. I jumped on a plane the next week and the rest is history. (By the way, my amazing wife Jodi was accepting and supportive of this crazy adventure. I am sure her heart was softened by an all knowing Heavenly Father.)
Initially, on getting my family to Florida, Harrison and Nancy was a bit aloof. I wanted so badly to be able to jump in and fix things, make everything better. I loved Harrison, Nancy and Sean. They were my family. It wasn’t that simple though. Why did things have to be difficult and confusing?
Not knowing what to do and being filled with faith in the omniscience and omnipotence of my Heavenly Father, and He had brought me this far I thought to myself, I approached Him in prayer. I was told that we as a family need to be patient but persistent in our efforts and I needed to invite Harrison to come fishing in the everglades with me. I had never fished the everglades let alone for warm water fish but how hard could it be. I had all of my trout spinners and tackle, all I had to do was ask.
Harrison agreed and Nancy somehow approved so off we went on a Saturday morning. Without sharing all the details, we had one of the most amazing fishing experiences you could imagine. We caught fish at every place we stopped and on almost every cast. By the time we got home that evening enough excitement had been generated and the ice was broken. We fished and explored with the families almost every weekend it seemed for a year. The fishing was never as good as the first day. In fact there were many times when we didn’t even catch a fish but that didn’t matter because we had gained their trust. However, any attempts to approach the gospel with Harrison were rebuffed, so we just played and loved each another.
After a year I was feeling that something needed to change. I was concerned for Harrison’s families’ spiritual welfare. However, I did not know what to do because I was rejected at every gospel overture. Again I approached the Lord. What should I do? The response was “You saw wild hogs throughout the summer and Harrison had talked about hunting them. Invite him to go and while you’re out, tell him why that first fishing trip was so successful.”
We finished loading Harrison’s gear into my car, and then we were off. There was a small island just off alligator alley that we had found while fishing that summer and I just knew that was where we needed to go. It was late Friday after a hard day at work so after the first 15 minutes of excitement the conversation began to drag. I was painfully aware of my intent to bring up the gospel and the direction Father had given me. But I wanted to wait for the right time. I was fearful that I would get a cold reception and it would affect the entire trip. We had just turned onto Alligator Alley and by now I was screaming inside my head. I had to say something. “Harrison, do you remember our first fishing trip?” “Yep.” “We never had another one like that, did we?” “Nope.” “Do you want to know why that one was different?” “Why?” Because I wanted to connect with you so bad that I asked Heavenly Father to help us catch all those fish?” Deafening silence. “Stop the car!” My heart stopped. Here we go I thought, I went to fast and now he is going to want to co back home. “Turn down that road.” I turned down a narrow, overgrown fire road. “Stop here. I want to say a prayer.” My body just about exploded with the realization of what was happening. Was this the first time Harrison had the desire to communicate with his Heavenly Father for a long time? “Heavenly Father, Roy told me he had asked you to let us catch a lot of fish that first fishing trip. Please help us see some deer and some hogs on this trip. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” “Amen!” “OK, turn around! Let go!” My mind was reeling. But it was about to get knocked flat down.
We had not driven 50 yards before a big buck and a doe jumped out in the road in front of us and we pushed them for a hundred yards. Harrison yelled, “Look, it’s working already!” We hit the highway and didn’t stop talking about the gospel for 30 minutes where we came to the decided fire road to the small island. It was just getting dusk so I turned on my head lights. As we reached the island, there in the head lights was a huge 200-300 pound mama sow and about eight 30 pound baby pigs trotting across the meadow. I slammed on the breaks, grabbed by rifle, jumped out of the car and ran around the front readying to shoot! But before I could get a good sight picture Harrison hollered “Stop! We had our prayers answered. Now we don’t want to break the law. The pigs will be here in the morning.”
We didn’t dare pitch a tent that night with all the hogs on that island, so we sat in the car talking about gospel things, family and just being happy, filled with the spirit. We finally quit talking and got some sleep. When morning came, all the hogs were gone. We never saw another deer or hog all day, but that didn’t matter. We had had the most amazing experience together one could ever ask for.
Will this happen every time? I don’t know. What I do know is that there is power in prayer. There is a God. He has a plan for each of his children. I had forced my way into Harrison’s and Nancy’s plan. Did I have to? No, I wanted to with all my heart, and a loving and understanding God let me be part of an incredible experience.
Harrison submitted his request for re-entry into the church. Dad and Mom came down for the baptism and confirmation. All the previous blessings of membership were restored. A year later, Jodi and I were lead by the hand of God elsewhere for other opportunities to help Father in His plan.