Our hearts were touched this past General Conference as we watched our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, appearing much less vigorous than in years past. His talks were wonderful, as always, but he is clearly becoming more physically frail.
We have seen this before. People outside our church might think it odd that we include a hymn in our hymnal about “the advancing years that furrow thy brow” but it has ever been thus with prophets. They get older, just as everyone does. Surrounding them are their counsellors, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other leaders who give them whatever support they may need. These ready and willing assistants “hold up their hands” just as Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands when he tired (Exodus 17:12).
We love and revere our prophets. They are senior apostles when they take on the mantle of prophet. We appreciate their dedication in fulfilling this demanding calling at an age when most men would want to just take it easy. And we pray for them. We pray that they will have “comfort and cheer.” We pray “that strength be given [them] to do [their] part.” We pray that they will be “ever blest” and that “God will give all that is meet and best while [they shall] live.” We ever pray for them.
The answer to the title’s question is Wilford Woodruff. Evan Stephens (1854-1930) wrote the words for “We Ever Pray for Thee” in celebration of President Wilford Woodruff’s ninetieth birthday in 1897. However, this hymn has been sung with just as much love and appreciation for each prophet since President Woodruff as it was sung for him. Turns out it was written for all of them.
Listen to our Congregation Choir arrangement of this hymn with organ SATB, enhanced piano accompaniment and vocal countermelody.
Listen to our Congregation Choir arrangement of this hymn with organ SATB, enhanced piano accompaniment and flute/violin countermelody.