“It is through prayer that you can learn to maintain
perspective and to build stability into your life. You find help through
the one source that can truly offer it,” he explained.
Elder Christofferson offered two suggestions for effective
prayer: gratitude and solitude. “One of the things that puts us in tune
with the Spirit is prayer that is extensive in expressing gratitude for
specific blessings,” he observed.
“Beyond that, I think a person needs to find occasions
when he or she has unlimited time alone, without fear of interruption,
to talk with the Lord. Those hours offer priceless opportunities to grow
close to the Lord.”
On August 15 1998, Elder Christofferson was called into
the Presidency of the Seventy. He was sustained to this new calling October
Then, on April 5, 2008, Elder Christofferson, in the 178th Annual General Conference of the Church, was called to the Holy Apostleship and sustained to the Council of the Twelve.
Does the reader belive in coincidence, or does he see the hand of the Lord in all things? Consider that the March 2008 edition of the Ensign, a special issue on the Savior, contained an article by Elder Christofferson on "Becoming a Witness of Christ" (pp. 58-63). An apostle, of course, has a special charge to be a witness of Christ in all the world (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:23).
As it happened, Elder Christofferson began writing the article several months earlier to meet the magazine's deadline, he related to a Church News reporter, and noted that he had no idea what would transpire barely a month after the article was published.
And though he mentioned the commission that apostles bear, he remarked in the article: "Yet the Apostles must not and do not stand alone. All of us who are baptized and confirmed have taken upon us the name of Jesus Christ with a commitment 'to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places' (Mosiah 18:9). It is within the capacity of each of us to become His witness."
"He's always been a person who is concerned about everybody," Sister Christofferson said. "He's worked diligently with some people who have had real spiritual needs or other needs to try to bring them back or keep them steady and give them some reason to hope."
At age 31, while working as a law clerk in Washington, D.C., he was called as a bishop. There he had occasion to experience the importance of seeking and receiving forgiveness from one who had been offended.
While heading out of the driveway for a family vacation, he was called by a member of the ward whose mother had just died. The man, a convert of a few years, seemed to expect that Bishop Christofferson would attend the funeral with the ward member. He expressed his sympathies, explained the situation and departed on the planned vacation.
On his return, he found that the man had been deeply hurt by his bishop having declined to attend the funeral. The family had ceased attending Church meetings. "My initial reaction was to justify myself that his expectation was not reasonable," Elder Christofferson reflected. "But the Spirit worked on me."
He went to the man's home, was initially met with a cold reception, but through an hour or so of conversation, asked for and received the man's forgiveness. They parted as friends. Less than six months later, the man died.
"If I hadn't acted on that impression of the Spirit, (the ill will) might have gone on until he died, and the family would have been out of the Church," he said. "This way, when he died, I could help the family, because we were close again. So I learned how crucial it is, whether you think you're right or wrong, where there's been an offense, take the initiative to resolve it. Don't worry about where the blame lies. And do it as soon as possible."
Undergirding Elder Christofferson's love for people is his love and reverence for the Lord. This was expressed in November 2004 during a Church Educational System fireside in an address he titled: "A Sense of the Sacred."
"The importance of having a sense of the sacred," he said in that discourse, "is simply this: If one does not appreciate holy things, he will lose them."
A sense of the sacred throughout his life has given him what he characterizes as "great admiration and respect for those who serve as apostles." He continues to serve as one of them at this writing.