Growing up my mother used to tell me the story of the little train pulling a large load at a time of crisis who accomplished the task by saying, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” The little train saved the day and did what the large trains failed to do. Mother used the story to illustrate the importance of positive thinking. That’s great, but it is also an important lesson in the power of persistence.
We don’t usually think of persistence as a gospel principle, but it is.
After the Lord confounds the language of the people at the time of the Tower of Babel, we are told that the Jaradites are led to a new home. As the Lord tells the Brother of Jared about the Promised Land He is leading them to, he says, “And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth. And thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me” (Ether 1:43). For some reason, in some circumstances, the Lord wants us to persist in our prayers and pleadings.
So what does that mean? It means we shouldn’t get discouraged because our prayers aren’t answered immediately. It means we shouldn’t give up praying for things we need or want just because our prayer hasn’t been answered yet. It means that there is something important for us to learn by being persistent in our prayers. And who know what else there may be to learn from this. In short, it means, hang in there! Who knows what great blessings are ahead!