Order of Building a House
When Jesus walked the dusty pathways of towns and villages that we now reverently call the Holy Land and taught His disciples by beautiful Galilee, He often spoke in parables, in language the people understood best. Frequently, He referred to home building in relationship to the lives of those who listened.
He declared: “Every … house divided against itself shall not stand.” (Matt. 12:25.) Later He cautioned: “Behold, mine house is a house of order, … and not a house of confusion.” (D&C 132:8.)
In a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, December 27, 1832, the Master counseled: “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” (D&C 88:119.)
Where could any of us locate a more suitable blueprint whereby we could wisely and properly build a house to personally occupy throughout eternity?
Such a house would meet the building code outlined in Matthew—even a house built “upon a rock” (Matt. 7:24), a house capable of withstanding the rains of adversity, the floods of opposition, and the winds of doubt everywhere present in our challenging world.
Some might question: “But that revelation was to provide guidance for the construction of a temple. Is it relevant today?”
Perhaps if we consider these architectural guidelines on an individual basis, we can more readily appreciate this divine counsel from the Master Builder, the Creator of the world, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our inspired blueprint first cautions that our house should be a house of prayer. The Master taught:
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray …, that they may be seen of men. …
“But thou, when thou prayest, … pray to thy Father which is in secret. …
“Use not vain repetitions. …
“After this manner … pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
“Give us this day our daily bread.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
This element of our blueprint can be taught to children when they are yet young. When our oldest son was about three, he would kneel with his mother and me in our evening prayer. I was serving as the bishop of the ward at the time, and a lovely lady in the ward, Margaret Lister, lay perilously ill with cancer. Each night we would pray for Sister Lister. One evening our tiny son offered the prayer and confused the words of the prayer with a story from a nursery book. He began: “Heavenly Father, please bless Sister Lister, Henny Penny, Chicken Licken, Turkey Lurkey, and all the little folks.” We held back the smiles that evening. Later we were humbled as Margaret Lister sustained a complete recovery. We do not demean the prayer of a child. After all, our children have more recently been with our Heavenly Father than have we.
Let our house be a house of prayer.
Our house should also be a house of fasting. This portion of the blueprint is personified in the account found in Isaiah titled the “True Fast”: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? …
“To deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”
The reward is then announced: “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. …
“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
“And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, … and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” (Isa. 58:6–11.)
Let our house be a house of fasting.
Our house is to be a house of faith. James recorded:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
A practical application of such abiding faith is found in the spirit of Nephi and his stirring declaration: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.” (1 Ne. 3:7.) He did not waver; he believed. Is there a counterpart application even today?
Some years ago I accompanied President Hugh B. Brown on a tour of the Samoan Mission. The members and missionaries in American Samoa had advised us that a severe drought had imperiled their water supply to the point that our chapels and our school would of necessity be closed if rain did not soon fall. They asked us to unite our faith with theirs.