Draw Near unto Me and I Will Draw Near unto You

by Julia Collings

In one of the most famous verses of the New Testament, the Saviour declares, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”1 For many years I thought that the only place on earth where I could partake of the Lord’s rest was in His holy house. I relished the opportunity to attend the temple to do baptisms regularly and found great peace and connection to my Father in Heaven. I always left the temple feeling empowered to tackle whatever challenges life had in store for me that week. Then—almost on the turn of a dime, as it seemed to my teenage self—the temples closed. And then school closed. Doors were shutting everywhere I turned. It seemed surreal, but my world was crashing down, and just at the moment when I longed more than anything to be in the temple, I was forced to remain in my home. 

My family took comfort in these words from Wilford Woodruff’s dedicatory prayer over the Salt Lake City Utah Temple: 

Heavenly Father, when thy people shall not have the opportunity of entering this holy 

house to offer their supplications unto thee, and they are oppressed and in trouble, 

surrounded by difficulties or assailed by temptation, and shall turn their faces towards 

this thy holy house and ask thee for deliverance, for help, for thy power to be extended in 

their behalf, we beseech thee to look down from thy holy habitation in mercy and tender 

compassion upon them, and listen to their cries. Or when the children of thy people, in 

years to come, shall be separated, through any cause, from this place, and their hearts 

shall turn in remembrance of thy promises to this holy Temple, and they shall cry unto 

thee from the depths of their affliction and sorrow to extend relief and deliverance to 

them, we humbly entreat thee to turn thine ear in mercy to them; hearken to their cries, 

and grant unto them the blessings for which they ask.2 

We certainly did cry “from the depths of our affliction and sorrow,” and as we strove to spend more time in the scriptures and obey the living prophet’s admonitions as strictly as we could, the Lord did indeed bless us with relief and ultimately deliverance.

Julia, a BYU freshman majoring in Classical Studies with a Classics emphasis, is an Editorial Assistant from Orem, Utah. When her parents were young married undergraduates pregnant with her, they worked as research assistants on the Joseph Smith Papers. Julia is thrilled to follow in her parents’ footsteps and has loved getting to know Wilford Woodruff over the past several months. She is also eagerly awaiting a mission call and hopes to pay a small tribute to the missionary legacy that Wilford Woodruff left the world.

  1. Matthew 11:28.
  2. Discourse, April 6, 1893, The Wilford Woodruff Papers, wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/discourse/1893-04-06.