On Sunday, March 27, 1836, about 1,000 people gathered in the newly constructed Kirtland Temple for the dedication of the building. They sang hymns, including “The Spirit of God,” which was composed for the occasion. They heard sermons and testimonies. They participated in the sacrament and in a Hosanna Shout. But the heart of the meeting was the dedicatory prayer, which Joseph Smith had received by revelation. (See “Kirtland Temple,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism.) Here is a portion of that prayer:
We ask thee, Holy Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of thy bosom, in whose name alone salvation can be administered to the children of men, we ask thee, O Lord, to accept of this house, the workmanship of the hands of us, thy servants, which thou didst command us to build.
For thou knowest that we have done this work through great tribulation; and out of our poverty we have given of our substance to build a house to thy name, that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself to his people.Doctrine and Covenants 109:4-5
One week later, on April 3, the Savior did manifest Himself in that place. After a worship service in the afternoon, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery lowered the veils to create a more private space around the pulpits and began to pray. In answer to that prayer, they saw the Savior Himself, followed by Moses, Elias, and Elijah, each of whom delivered sacred responsibilities and capabilities: to gather Israel, to bless all future generations, and to unite families eternally. This series of visions is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 110.
Here are some lessons I have learned from these two revelations, with relevant blog posts:
- A fixed prayer such as a sacrament prayer or a dedicatory prayer can represent our own thoughts and feelings, even though the words of the prayer were given by revelation from God (109): Why Are Some Prayers Fixed (the Sacrament Prayers, for Example) in Contrast to Our Normal Prayers?
- We can urgently plead with the Lord for deliverance while expressing confidence that He has the power to save us (109:79): Hosanna.
- The Savior can expand our capacity to understand the world around us (110:1): He Is the Light and the Life of the World – Mosiah 16:9.
- Jesus Christ not only conquered death but can help us to truly live (110:4): He Who Liveth.
- We can earn God’s trust by aligning our will with His (110:13-16): What Is the Sealing Power?
- Heavenly Father sent Elijah to help us strengthen our family relationships (110:13-16): How Did Elijah Turn the Hearts of Fathers and Children Toward Each Other?
- The power Elijah restored will help us prepare to receive the Savior when He returns to the earth: What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?