A disciple of Jesus Christ, Elaine S. Dalton, describes how a grueling marathon taught her about prayer and the strength we can receive from God.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon. I had trained hard and felt that I was prepared, but at mile 20 there are hills. The locals call the steepest and longest hill Heartbreak Hill.
When I reached that point, I was physically spent. The hill was long, and because I was a novice, I allowed myself to do something no seasoned runner ever does--I started to think negatively.
This slowed my pace, so I tried to think positively and visualize the finish line. But as I did this, I suddenly realized that I was in a big city, there were thousands of people lining the route, and I had not made any arrangements to locate my husband at the end of the marathon. I felt lost and alone.
As the spectators saw that I was crying, they would yell, "Keep going, Utah." "Don't cry, Utah." "You're almost finished, Utah." But I knew I wasn't, and I was lost. I also knew that even if I stopped running and dropped out of the race, I would still be lost.
I began to pray right there on that marathon route. I asked for help and strength to be steadfast and finish the race. As I continued to run, these words came into my mind: "Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand."
That sweet answer to my prayer gave me the strength to continue on until I crossed the finish line. And despite my fears, my husband was right there and all was well. That day I experienced more than a marathon. I learned that no matter how well prepared you think you are, there are hills on the course.
I learned that people cheering for you along the way are absolutely essential. And I learned again that day that we are never alone. Our Heavenly Father is only a prayer away. You can rely on the enabling power of the Savior's Atonement. And the Holy Ghost is within whispering distance. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.