Once upon a time, a group of men found themselves adrift in a boat. With no motor, no Dorito chips, and no phone service, they faced a daunting challenge. The wind howled around them, rendering their sails useless. Determined, they resorted to rowing with all their might against the relentless force of the wind. They had a long journey ahead, five miles to be precise, and they embarked just as the sun began its descent.
Through the night, they paddled together, tirelessly battling the elements. Time turned into countless hours as they continued their arduous journey. Midnight passed, followed by 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., and 3:00 a.m. Time seemed to stretch as they fought against monstrous winds and waves.
Somewhere between three and six in the morning, a pivotal moment occurred. One of the men caught sight of a figure walking on the water, a sight that defied all logic. Overwhelmed, they erupted in fearful screams, convinced they were witnessing a ghostly apparition.
Then, amidst the chaos, the figure spoke, and his words resonated deeply. In the face of their fear, he said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid” (Matthew 14:27). His calm presence began to soothe their troubled hearts.
One of the men, named Peter, mustered the courage to respond. With a mix of faith and boldness, he said, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” To which Jesus replied, simply saying, “Come.”
As Peter stepped out of the boat, an extraordinary event unfolded. He, too, began to walk on the water towards Jesus. But as the wind grew more tumultuous, fear crept into Peter’s heart, and he started to sink. Desperately, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
At this point in the story, I recall a powerful moment shared with me by a friend. He had the rare opportunity to speak to an audience in a prison, and he chose to share this very story. As he read the words, “Lord, save me,” a large man sitting in the back of the room raised his hands and exclaimed, “Hallelujah!” His heartfelt reaction ignited a chain of chants from the other inmates, each resonating with the feeling of being overwhelmed by monstrous winds and waves in their own lives. Their own desires to be saved by this Jesus.
Yet, within their despair, they found comfort, just as Peter did. Jesus extended his hand and caught hold of him, rescuing him from the depths.
In this story, I’d like to point out several profound lessons.
Finding Strength in Christ
In this remarkable tale, I discovered a powerful truth that resonated deep within me: with Christ by my side, I can conquer any challenge and achieve the extraordinary.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13
It’s a rather scientific fact that walking on water is an impossible feat. (Trust me, I’ve given it a go) But here’s where the story takes an incredible twist. Peter, buoyed by his unwavering faith in Christ, defied the odds and walked on water. How, you might ask? Well, the secret lies in his unshakeable belief that he could do all things with Christ’s strength.
Now, picture this: Peter, striding confidently on the water’s surface, with faith in the Savior ib every step. It’s truly awe-inspiring. But just when you think his faith is unbreakable, self-doubt creeps in. Peter cries out, “Lord, save me!” and in that moment, the winds cease, and his faith is reaffirmed.
What a profound lesson we can extract from this event. No matter the magnitude of our trials, we possess the ability to overcome them through the strength bestowed upon us by Christ. Even when we falter, all it takes is a sincere cry for help, and His guiding hand will be there to rescue us. Each time we seek His forgiveness, just as it is described in the Book of Mormon, “Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me” (Mosiah 26:30), we are forgiven. Jesus Christ is waiting there to grab you. It’s not about living a perfect life, it’s about living a life of turning, repenting, reaching out to Christ during the storms. That’s how we are perfected in him (Moroni 10:32). We are embraced with open arms, and our slate is wiped clean. We can say like Lehi “But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15)
Christ yearns to extend His love and support to each one of us. He already knows our capabilities, even those we doubt ourselves. He patiently waits for us to embrace our potential and walk hand in hand with Him. Whether we feel distant or close to Christ, what truly matters is the direction in which we face—toward Him. As long as we strive to step out of our comfort zones, exercise our faith in Him, and make progress, the distance becomes insignificant.
Conclusion and 30 Minute Prayer Challenge
Reflecting on Jesus’ actions before this remarkable encounter, we discover a beautiful insight. “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to apray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone” (Matthew 14:23) He took precious moments to withdraw from the crowds and spend time alone in prayer. Here lies the heart of the matter: to build a relationship with God, we must communicate with Him. It’s not a matter of rushed prayers but investing dedicated time in His presence.
When I was on my mission, Sister LeCheminant, who is now my wife as Sister Pollard, wrote me a letter called the 30-minute prayer challenge. It was to pray each day for 30 minutes. She bore a sweet testimony of the peace she felt and closeness it brought her to the Lord. It made her feel His love more and decreased her anxieties. I followed her invitation, setting aside 30 minutes each day, devoting three conversations with God—morning, midday, and evening. It changed my life forever. I found myself able to speak with God not just to Him. The additional time praying had me listening a lot more. Feeling a lot more. And seeing things more. The key is to embrace the challenge and commit to those 30 precious minutes, allowing the transformative power of prayer to shape our lives.
So, my friends, I extend to you this same invitation. Take up this 30 minute challenge, and let your prayers become a conduit for change. When we meet again, I’ll be eager to hear how praying for 30 minutes a day has impacted your life. You can pray longer if you wish, but try not to do less. Together, let’s come unto the Savior, and know that we can do all things with Christ, who strengthens us.