Many parents have asked for scriptural proof that personal sanctification has a redeeming effect on the person for who they are praying. Here is a correspondence that lists that proof.
I am a new subscriber to the Meridian Magazine. I have enjoyed reading your articles on Wayward Children. We are dealing with two wayward children and we need as much support and encouragement as we can get. I understand that your main theme is the following:
“Every effort we put forth to sanctify ourselves has a redeeming effect on those for whom we are praying.”
I agree with this. I was wondering if you have any specific scripture references that lend support to this statement. I am teaching a RS lesson and would like to touch on this theme, so having this reference would help me.
Mother Seeking Proof
Dear Mother Seeking Proof:
You asked for scriptural evidence of the redeeming effect that sanctifying one’s self can have on another. The best example that I know of is the Savior. Here are some excerpts from my upcoming book:
In his great intercessory prayer, the Savior taught that personal sanctification is the principle by which one person might save another. Just moments before Gethsemane, Jesus made the following statement: “For their sakes I sanctify myself that they also might be sanctified” (John 17:19). In other words, the first action, personal sanctification, makes possible the second action, the saving of another. We often think of sanctification in the context of being cleansed from sin-and it is certainly that-but here we see Jesus, who had no sin, sanctifying himself. Obviously, there are greater reasons to persist in the process of sanctification beyond repentance. So how did Jesus sanctify himself? We see the answer in the context of the 17th chapter of John 17: He sanctified himself through strict obedience, partaking of the sacrament, entering into a fast, making a sacrifice and offering mighty prayer (which I believe is prayer preceded by sacrifice).
In Jesus’ example we find keys to the sanctification process. In the last hours of his life what does he do? After having lived a life of perfect obedience, he partakes of the sacrament; then he enters into a fast, in which he does not eat or drink through the end of his life; then he offers an infinite vicarious sacrifice coupled with mighty prayer. Clearly, in addition to other sanctifying principles, obedience, partaking of the sacrament, fasting, offering sacrifice and mighty prayer are some essential keys to personal sanctification.
The Savior’s example of personal sanctification teaches us that we can shine a bright beam on those we love by focusing on fundamental gospel principles, such as increasing our obedience, worthily partaking of the sacrament; fasting with purpose, and offering mighty prayer coupled with sacrifice. With regard to offering sacrifice, interestingly, the sacrifice that seems to be most Christlike-or Saviorlike-is vicarious sacrifice, or proxy sacrifice. Is it any wonder, then, that some of the most powerful prayers that we offer are in the temple in the most sacred location of the temple, after we have performed a vicarious sacrifice for someone who could not otherwise achieve salvation? If we will pay attention, we will learn that parents, who are united in love and who sanctify themselves, are endowed with power to pray for angels in behalf of their children. Clearly, the prayers offered by sanctified parents for their children are only exceeded in power by the prayers of Jesus Christ.
I hope this helps you.
Wow…….thanks for your quick response! Yes this will help me. Last night when I was in the temple I came across the following verse:
If I understand correctly, Paul was speaking to part member families and encouraging them to remain with their unbelieving counterpart because the conversion of one of the partners has brought a sanctifying influence into the family. Do you think this verse supports the theme of “Every effort we put forth to sanctify ourselves has a redeeming effect on those for whom we are praying”?
Mother WITH Proof
Dear Mother WITH Proof:
You are absolutely right. God places us in redeeming relationships to fulfill his purposes. Although I am writing about parents helping their wayward children, sometimes strong children are strategically placed by God to help their wayward parents. The same could be said for wayward spouses or wayward friends. When we find ourselves in one of these relationships, we ought to see it as an opportunity to assist in God’s work of redemption then apply the sanctifying principles to help effect a change. When we read the accounts of massive reclaiming efforts (Enoch, Melchizedek, the Sons of Mosiah, etc.), we begin to understand how Zion might be established. And won’t that be a wonderful day!