Dedicatory Prayer by Apostle Ezra Taft Benson
November 1, 1966 - Torre Pelice, Italy

O God, Our Heavenly All-wise and Eternal Father, in the name of Thy beloved Son, Our Savior and Redeemer, we approach Thy Holy Throne in humble prayer. As Thou seest, Heavenly Father, we are assembled as a group of Thy servants and handmaidens on the side of this mountain among the valleys and mountains of this great Piedmont area in this great nation of Italy. We have come here, Heavenly Father, with a sacred purpose in mind of dedicating this land for the preaching of the everlasting Gospel. As Thou knowest, Heavenly Father, we are in the same vicinity, as nearly as we can determine, where Thy humble servant Elder Lorenzo Snow came some one hundred and sixteen years ago as Thy representative to dedicate this land for the preaching of the restored gospel.

We are grateful unto Thee for the privilege we have of coming here in peace and to assemble together in this Thy first temple, the great open spaces, the workmanship of Thy hands of Thy creation.

We thank Thee for the restoration of the gospel. We are grateful unto Thee, Holy Father, that Thou didst see fit to come to the earth with Thy beloved Son and appear to the boy prophet. We are grateful that Thou didst see fit to send other heavenly messengers to confer important keys upon Thy servants. We are grateful for the restoration of the Priesthood and for the organization of Thy church in this dispensation, the greatest and last of all gospel dispensations. All this, Holy Father, in preparation for the second coming of Thy beloved Son.

We are grateful unto Thee that Thy servants have been permitted to go to the four quarters of the earth to proclaim the everlasting gospel to Thy children. We know, Heavenly Father, in part at least, the grave responsibility which is ours, who have been called to carry this message into the various parts of the world. And now, Holy Father, we have come into this choice land, the land of Italy, bearing the Holy Priesthood and bearing the message of salvation and exaltation, according to the commandment which Thou hast given. And, Father in Heaven, inasmuch as we are here assembled together with our brethren who are scattered throughout this land, in response to a call of the Prophet of the Lord, we express to Thee our gratitude and our thanksgiving to be a part of the great call and this great mission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We know, Heavenly Father, that Thou dost love Thy children and we have in our hearts a love for the Italian people as we assemble here today, and, Holy Father, we pray Thee that Thy blessings may be showered upon them.

We realize, Holy Father, that they have have been in darkness, a spiritual darkness, for many generations. We pray Thee that Thou wilt shake the darkness from their eyes and from their hearts that they might have an opportunity to see clearly the truths of the everlasting gospel. Father in Heaven, wilt Thou touch their hearts as Thy servants approach them and deliver to them in their humility the gospel of salvation. Wilt Thou bless them with believing hearts. Wilt Thou temper their spirits that they may be willing to hear the message.

And Holy Father, wilt Thou bring to their hearts a conviction of the truths of the gospel message which these Thy servants and their companions will carry to them. Father in Heaven, we feel in our hearts under the inspiration of Thy spirit that this Thy work has a great future in this land of Italy. We feel to predict under the authority of the Holy Priesthood and under the inspiration of heaven that thousands of Thy children in this land will be brought into the truth and into membership in Thy great church and kingdom that has been restored to the earth.

Holy Father, we realize that recently this land has been scarred by severe floods, that tragedy has been brought into many homes. We realize that people have suffered and that the land has been damaged and the economy disrupted through these severe floods. We pray Thee, Father, that Thou wilt turn this disaster to Thy own good and benefit and the benefit for Thy work here in this choice land. We pray Thee that the people may he humble, that they may recognize their dependence upon Thee, that they may seek Thee for guidance and inspiration, that they may be willing to accept of the truth as they hear it.

We pray for the leaders of this great nation, our Father. May they be imbued with Thy Holy Spirit. May they direct this land in such a manner that peace may be maintained here. We realize, Holy Father, that Thy gospel can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom and liberty and so we pray that this land may be shielded and protected from those insidious forces which would destroy the free agency of man, that Thy gospel may prosper, that the truth may be taught, that religious freedom may be emphasized by the leaders of this great nation, that they may insist that those who come here with religious messages may have freedom to present their cause and their teachings and their beliefs. 0 Holy Father, we pray Thee that we may enjoy the right of choice, freedom to carry on our work.

Wilt Thou hedge up the way of the adversary and those who would impede the progress of Thy work; may their efforts be frustrated and may Thy will be done, Holy Father. We realize that the adversary is alert in this land as in other lands. We pray Thee Holy Father, that Thou wilt curb his power and his efforts that Thy work may move forward and Thy purpose be consummated here among these Thy children.

Father in Heaven, we are grateful unto Thee for the progress that has been made thus far, for the manner in which Thou hast blessed Thy servants and handmaidens. Some have accepted the truth, Holy Father, wilt Thou be close to them; wilt Thou bless them that they may be true to their covenants, that they may keep Thy commandments, that they may be true to the faith and do all on their part to bear witness to others and to help to lead others to the truth. We pray that Thou wilt bless the saints with a spirit of missionary service that they may join with the missionaries in giving them referrals and leading them to their friends and neighbors and associates and loved ones that the message of the gospel may spread into the hearts of thousands upon thousands of Thy children in this blessed land.

Father, bless Thy servant and his companion, his wife who stands by him, who have been called to preside over the work in this great country. Wilt Thou give them inspiration from heaven. May they live close to Thee, Holy Father, and be united in all things and may they have the revelations of Thy mind and will for the guidance and the direction of Thy work here in this part of Thy vineyard. Bless those who will be called as assistants and counselors to serve as zone leaders and district leaders and bless us all, Father, all of us who have any responsibility for the work here now or who may in the future have responsibilities here, that we may draw close to Thee, that we may recognize our dependence upon Thee. May we live so close to Thee that we may have the directing power of the Holy Spirit, that our testimonies may be strong, that our confidence in Thee may be strengthened from day to day, that we may feel of Thy power and know of Thy influence and that we may rededicate our lives in humility to the great work to which we are called.

Now, Holy Father, we express again unto Thee our gratitude for Thy great church and kingdom, for our membership therein, for the personal testimonies we have been blessed with. We thank Thee for the leadership of Thy church and kingdom. We thank Thee for the mission of the prophet Joseph Smith and for the leadership of his successors. And especially this day we pray for Thy great leader, Thy mouthpiece in the earth, President David O. McKay. We are grateful that thou hast prolonged his years. We thank Thee for Thy sustaining power that has been with him. We pray Thee that Thou wilt continue to reveal unto him Thy mind and will for the guidance of Thy people. And inasmuch, Holy Father, as we have been given authority, through Thy servant and prophet to come here and dedicate this land, we do; Holy Father, in the authority of the Holy Priesthood dedicate and rededicate this land for the preaching of the gospel, for the promulgation of the truth, for the bearing of witness to the divine mission of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and His modern prophet, the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Father in Heaven, we dedicate this land and we pray Thee that Thou wilt watch over it that there may be no further severe tragedies unless it be Thy will as a means of accomplishing Thy purpose. Wilt Thou bless the land; wilt Thou let the sunshine of Thy sweet Spirit spread over this land that there may be a resurgence of spirituality, a desire to seek for the truth, a desire to turn unto Thee that the blessings of the everlasting gospel may be realized as the people accept it and live it.

Again we express our gratitude for Thy protecting care as we have traveled here and pray that we may enjoy Thy safeguard as we labor. We thank Thee for the fellowship and brotherhood which we enjoy in Thy church and kingdom. We thank Thee for the privilege of working together shoulder to shoulder as ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. We pray Thee, Father, that Thou wilt ever be with us. We realize that without Thy help we can do nothing. Wilt Thou stand by us, Holy Father, and never leave us alone in this great work. And so; on this sacred day and on this memorable occasion, on this historic spot of ground we rededicate our lives unto Thee and all that we have and are to the upbuilding of Thy kingdom in the world and the furtherance of the truth and righteousness among Thy people and we do it all through the name of Thy beloved Son, Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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