They were asked into the house with barely an introduction. It is a black family with two parents and at least six kids. They are faithful people who believe the scriptures ardently, respect what the elders are doing, but are satisfied to continue with their church and not learn about the Book of Mormon. Elder Spencer is a Spanish missionary, and he is with the young man on a rare proselytizing exchange in an English area.
Finally, the young man says, “We appreciate your time today.”
The father says, “We could pray with y’all before y’all leave.”
“We’d love that,” says Elder Spencer. “Who would you like to have say it?”
Elder Spencer doesn’t know. They don’t do this in latino Catholic households.
Dad stands, and then Mom and all the kids stand. The young man also stands. Elder Spencer slowly rises up, looking around. Dad joins hands with his wife on his right and his oldest son on his left. The young man joins hands with the girl on his left. He looks at Elder Spencer.
“Is this okay?” Elder Spencer whispers.
“Just go with it,” the young man says, and Elder Spencer joins hands with him and the boy on his right.
“Lord Jesus,” says Dad, “we grateful to have these two fine young men here today who are out doing your work and spreading the word. We are grateful for you, Lord Jesus, and all you done for us and for the chance to be together. Amen.”
“Mmm hmm, amen,” several mutter.
Next is the oldest son. “Lord Jesus, we know these young men are your servants, and what they doing is hard. They away from they homes and they talking to a evil world that don’t wanna listen to you, Lord Jesus. So we pray for them. We pray that they will find those who want to come to you, Lord Jesus. We pray that their enemies will be subdued. We pray that wherever they find your enemies that they will not be harmed.”
“Yes! We pray, Lord Jesus, that you will SMITE their enemies!”
“Yes, Lord, smite them!”
“Yes! Smite them, Lord Jesus! Smite them so that they will fall dead!”
“That’s right, Lord!”
“Yes! Smite them that they will fall dead at the feet of these servants here, Lord Jesus!”
“Yes, Lord, at they feet!”
“Smite them so that these servants may walk over their bodies and continue on your work! Amen!”
“Mmm hmm! Amen!”
Now it’s Elder Spencer’s turn. He looks at the young man. “What do I do?” he whispers.
“Just say a normal prayer,” the young man whispers back.
“Uh, Heavenly Father, we thank thee for this day and this chance to meet this great family. And we pray that thou wilt bless them in all that they do and bless their home that the Spirit will always be here. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
“Mmm hmm! Amen!”
“Hear him, Lord!”
When they have all had their turns, the elders bid goodbye and head back out to the street.
“Dude, that does not happen in Spanish work,” says Elder Spencer.
“And apparently, you didn’t grow up in the Bible belt.”
“No, they don’t do that in Michigan.” He smiles. “That one dude prayed that all our enemies would be struck dead. Can you imagine? It’d be a slaughter! I didn’t even know what to say to that.”
The young man laughs. “That was the best ever. We Mormons could stand to have a bit more expression with our worship.”