Sunday, February 17, 2008

14 February 2008

Salutations and felicitations!

I was scrambling to find something unusual and lovely to give to my wife for Valentines Day. I thought I might do something with the number 12–a story or picture book with the emphasis on that number and our 12 kids. But I could not get my mind around the idea until the night of the 13th. Finally I sat down a the computer and went to work. At 2:30 thenext morning I finished. I made a book for Lydia with a poem called “The Perfect Number.” It follows. I put photos and/or pictures on each page, mostly of the kids and Lydia, with one stanza of the poem on each page as well.

I left it on the counter with a singing bear and five Bordeaux bars from See’s Chocolates, and went to bed. I will put some of the photos with this blog so you can get an idea of what I did.

Hopefully you will also get an idea of how much I love my wife!



Swinging there from metal links
That joined earth to sky,
We spoke that perfect number
And both agreed to try . . .

Of course there was a precedent:
Israel had twelve sons.
And products come in twelves as well,
Like roses, hot dogs, buns.

And we thought we would have twelve kids
(A grand, impressive number);
We did not think of all the work
And nights we would not slumber.

On Valentines in sixty-eight
We made a valiant start–
A little boy named Christopher
With ten toes and a heart,

Who stole our love and then our time,
And made it crystal clear,
That having twelve kids just like him
Would fill our lives with cheer.

For other, less courageous folk,
The thought might terrify,
But we sent an invitation out
And Deborah came by.

She came in May of sixty-nine
And doubled all our care.
But brought us hope and happiness.
And she forgot her hair.

Thus two of twelve–and we were four--
One sixth of our quest done.
The dirty diapers mounted up
But we had just begun.

The Church has twelve Apostles,
And Christmas has twelve days
But children by the dozen?
There might be other ways

To multiply and fill the earth,
And do our duty here,
But we just opened up the door and
Our second son drew near.

Michael Grant came in July
Of seventy and one:
A family of five we were,
And others might be done,

But we had eyes to see far off--
We loved our newest son,
With all his smiles and happiness--
But we had just begun.

Israel had his twelve fine sons
From Reuben down to Ben
And we thought we would have our twelve,
But we didn’t want all men.

Tami Jo was next in line.
She came the tenth of March,
With resolution by the ton,
Her spirit stiff with starch.

One third of all our kids were here
And we were on a roll.
Twelve kids now seemed quite doable
As we focused on our goal.

Now trailing clouds of glory,
Our third son rent the veil,
And came to Arizona.
You should have heard him wail!

A February baby–
The day was number nine
And Josh, like all the others,
Was handsome and divine.

The kids just came and came and came
We hardly missed a year.
Five kids now; the house was wild,
But our intent was clear.

Twelve stones came out of Jordan,
For a marker at Bethel,
And twelve would come to mark our lives
And wouldn’t that be swell?

Our sixth child had the first man’s name
We named him Adam. See,
We expected a Rebecca
But that was not to be.

He came while we were out of town
And trashed our holiday,
But clearly we had no regrets,
And he was here to stay.

The Zodiac has its twelve signs;
The ram, the bull, the fish,
And we would have our twelve kids too,
At least that was our wish.

Another boy came down the chute

We called him Danny G.
And he was just as much a boy
As any boy could be.

He wasn't into meditation,
Or gentle, quiet time.
The things he did were often wild,
And often quite sublime.

September third of eighty one
Another boy arrived
The house was bursting at the seams
It’s amazing we survived.

Stephen Andrew showed his face
And arms and legs and feet.
And twelve looked like reality–
A thought that seemed so sweet!

And yet another baby came;
A male named Robert Wayne
Who specialized in intellect--
Adventures of the brain.

Children running everywhere!
This boy was just the newest
And to that goal of twelve great kids
Lydia was truest.

Years went by and kids grew up;
We took a short sabbatical,
But those who thought that we were done
Were just a bit fanatical

For Tiffany was on her way
With fluff and fun and flair:
(We finally had a
Who came with lots of hair).

With her arrival on the scene
Our children numbered 10–
And in spite of all our hopes and dreams,
She ;looked like our "Amen."

The doctors seemed so certain
That our bearing years were past
Tif was not just number 10–
She seemed to be the last

But eggs still come in dozens

Twelve oxen hold the font,
And twelve was still a magic dream:
We were not nonchalant.

And God knew of our longing,
He knew there was a way,
And Tami’s willingness to help
Quite clearly saved the day.

And two more s joined us–
Johana was the first
And not long after she showed up
We learned that we weren’t cursed.

Bexzaida came as number twelve!
Our offspring passed eleven–
Those new arrivals answered prayers,
Like gifts sent straight from heaven.

Solomon built an ivory throne and
Twelve lions made of gold–
He sat there as the days went by
And let himself grow old.

Like Solomon, we too will age,
And love as we grow old,

And we’ll be guarded to the grave
By twelve children made of gold!

Twelve children, fashioned one by one,
From heaven’s perfect ore,
To bless our lives and bless the earth
To grow
And love
And soar.

TLG: 13 February 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Epistle of Christ

10 February 2007

Dear Friends,

I have not attempted this for a while because my dashboard for the program that manages these blogs had a rupture or a meltdown and I could not get it to work for more than a month. But today it is working again and I am anxious to share some feelings about 2nd Corinthians and grateful to have a way to do it.

First, some general news. Covenant has given verbal agreement to the publication of my book, Nowhere Else To Go. I talked to Kathy Jenkins on Tuesday of this week and she indicated that in a meeting on January 29th they decided that they wanted to do this book.

Kathy indicated that their intent is to publish it as a hard-back, larger-sized gift book with paintings of Christ throughout, and to focus on the help Christ is able and willing to give.

Since that was my intent from the beginning, I was greatly pleased, although I did not say that in my conversation with Covenant. I had not dared to hope for the artwork, although I had envisioned, in my more imaginative moments, a book filled with paintings that would help to teach the goodness of God. As of this moment I am delighted, and hopeful that it will all work out, even though there is nothing yet in writing.

Yesterday Josh celebrated his 33rd birthday. Several of his friends and some of his family suprised him at his home to help with the festivities. It is hard to imagine that a man of my youth and inexperience could have a child as old as Josh (or, for that matter, his four older siblings), but it is evidently true.

Speaking of which, Tiffany turned 18 on January 30. She is my baby, for heavens sake! Lydia and I began singing "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof while we in the car that day. I remember when she grabbed my finger the day she was
born. I remember her learning to read when she was 4. Grandma Lola--blind Grandma Lola--taught her. I remember seeing her before she was born! And now she is 18.

Yesterday we attended the World-wide Training Broadcast which
focused on the family. It was for Church members 18 and over. My baby Tiffany went with us!

I am not old. I am archaic! I think I need an archaeologist more than a doctor when I do not feel well. I have enough liver spots to replicate the map of Indonesia, and less hair than a sack of lugnuts, except in my ears and nose.

Today we had stake conference and Elder Pace of the Seventy was here to
reorganize our Stake Presidency. He shared some personal experiences and insights into the reorganization of the First Presidency, and shared some of Elder Uchtdorf's feelings (they had adjacent offices in the Administration Building till last week). In his talk he made this comment, which I think was a superb summary of the meeting last night: "It doesn't matter what is happening at 47 East South Temple if it is not happening here." By "here" he meant in the homes and wards and stakes of the Church.

I am teaching the 2nd half of the Book of Mormon and the 2nd half of the New Testament this semester. The back of the NT is perhaps the most difficult of the scripture courses for me, because I have taught it less than any of the others and because Paul often puzzles me. But teaching 2nd Corinthians on Thursday evening was a rich experience. My lesson title was this: "13 QUALITIES OF TRUE CHRISTIANS FROM 2ND CORINTHIANS." I did not finish all 13, but I rarely finish all I have prepared. I did, however, find something in 2 Corinthians 3 that touched me and enriched me. I noticed it in my preparations and felt the power of it in my teachings. Here are verses 2 and 3 of 2 Corinthians 3:

"Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."

My point was that true Christians are letters from Christ to the world. We are the epistles of Christ. Paul wrote letters--a lot of them. Captain Moroni wrote letters. Peter and James and John wrote letters. The First Presidency writes letters. But so far as we know, Christ never did. Except that . . . he did! We are his letters! Not written with paper and ink but with the Spirit of the living God, in the "fleshy tables of the heart."

I have about 50 students in my Thursday evening class in the New Testament. I asked them how many of Heavenly Father's children would "read" them in the coming week.

It is frightening, but nevertheless true, that we might be the first religious text some people will ever "read." And if we do not interact with them with love and the Spirit and righteousness, we may be the only religious text they will ever read. The thought of how many social interactions fifty young s could have in a single week is mind-boggling! But in every interaction they (and we) must be the epistles of prophets and seers and revelators ("Ye are our epistles) and we are also "manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ."

I wonder how many times the Lord has sent me as a message to those walking in darkness. Have they sensed and "tasted" the light (see Alma 32:35) radiating from what the Lord has written in my heart?

Saints in early Kirtland struggling to learn and understand the processes and purposes of revelation in the newly restored Church were sometimes confused by by false spiritual experiences (see D&C 28, 42, 50). One manifestation of this dilemma is referred to in the literature as "letters from heaven." An interesting account tells of a man called Black Pete who was so intent on chasing an angel with a letter that he ran off an embankment and plummeted though the trees into a river far below. mHe survived but I assume his ardor was somewhat dampened by the experience.

Letters from heaven? It would be silly if not for these verses. But Paul tells us we are precisely that. We are or should be letters from God to his children . . . the epistles of Christ with the stamp of his image in our countenance (Alma 5:14,19) and his words written in our hearts.

May it ever be so.


Monday, December 10, 2007


We had about 40 folks here for Thanksgiving. Nine of the kids came with their kids if they had them and we managed to wrap ourselves around enough portions of pork and fowl and sweets to feed most of Mesa. Robert and Jocelyn and Peter stayed in the East. Chris and Tara and Trey went to Idaho, and Josh and Kim and Tallen and Nova went south to Kim's home.

Debbie and Earl and theirs came from Oregon for most of a week. What a delight to have them here again! It takes a large dose of gall to haul 1/3 of my grandkids off to the west coast for years on end. Everybody pray that they will move to Utah. You will have to out-pray Earl's parents, who live near them, but go for it! Then they can travel to Oregon once a year to see Earl's parents.

Debbie and Earl have a large and lovely old home next to a hazel-nut orchard. Here are photos:

They are renting at the present time in Molalla. The tire swing is behind the house. Behind the swing is the nut farm. I have no idea what Ben [above] is doing, but he may encounter turbulence if he decides he wants to take that sucker out of his mouth for a breather.

The Saturday after Christmas we put of the Christmas decorations., including a tree we stole from the Redwood forests at Yosemite. The dang thing is taller than the Chrysler Building and has more lights that Las Vegas.

Actually this is not our tree. I think ours is taller. Putting it up just after Thanksgiving is a good thing because that allows me nearly a month to get back into the Christmas spirit before Christmas.

This year we made the decision to put lights outside again, an activity I have managed to avoid for the past couple of years because I don't do ladders. This is an article of faith with me. Ever since I fell from one at our Ogden apartments, I have made a determined effort not to climb anything I can actually fall off of. But outside lights at Christmas require elevation, and I know Lydia is not going to climb up anything unless it is to save one of her children or grandchildren. So I bought some and stuck them up and they look . . . like Christmas lights.

These photos are among the best I have ever taken. OK. Not the best. I had no coat and no tripod and it was 12 degrees. But at least it is visual proof that I did hang outside lights.

Danny decided that Mom and I needed a new TV. He installs systems for Dish Network, and convinced all the kids that they should contribute appropriately to a fund designed to get us a high definition television. He made it work and the day after Thanksgiving, the kids bought a 50" high def and Steve and Danny hung it on our wall.
These two photos of our new TV demonstrate the only two things TV is actually good for: sports and prophets. I have liked having the BYU games in the house again, and watching the Jazz once in a while. Lydia likes some of the Law and Order reruns and she watches a lot of news and weather. Of course the gift of the children requires us to spend our retirement on a cable package that will have us living under an overpass with a shopping cart before long, but stuff sure looks good in high definition! Want to come and watch a game some time? Or General Conference?

OK. Gibbons kids. We are going to start having a family temple night once a month. We will plan to meet and go together for those living close. For others in Oregon or Maryland, go on your own if you can. We think we will try for a 6:00 or 7:00 pm session on the first Tuesday of each month. Let us know if that will work for you. I have felt impressed and constrained to ask all of you to participate in this with us. My own experiences working in the temple each week have given me an increased testimony of how much this matters. And mom goes every week, of course. I mean EVERY week.

Thanks for your comments o these blogs. Life is good and the church is true.

Dad and Ted

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


In May I took a three-day trip with the faculty of my Institute to visit significant sites related to the church history in this area. We called our trip the "Northern Settlements Expedition." We traveled north from Orem through Farmington and Kaysville and eventually made our way to the tabernacle in Brigham City. It was there that I began to have the thoughts that are the basis for these musings and meditations.

This was a beautiful building, the first of many monuments to the Pioneer spirit and determination that we visited, that caused the desert valleys of these mountains to blossom.
The building was constructed on what was once called Sagebrush Hill. The work began in 1867. On January 6, 1896 a stove exploded and the building was destroyed. On February 1 the decision was made to rebuild and 13 months later the construction was completed. The re-dedication occurred in March 21, 1897.

We were amazed at the beauty of the exterior and the interior. The remarkable hall around us was a mute and marvelous testimony to the faithfulness of the great saints who plowed the ground and planted the crops and built their houses and dug their ditches and still found time to build something as remarkable as this tabernacle.

From Brigham we continued north and located the tabernacle in Wellsville. This building was striking from the outside, but the inside has not been maintained as well as other tabernacles he have visited and will visit, and it is not currently in use for church services. We spent time in a museum in the basement, then moved to the assembly hall and sang “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.” The construction here was unusual, a wide, shallow room with curved benches and an alcove in the front for speakers and benches and great acoustics. An effort is underway to raise funds to restore this edifice. I hope it is successful.

At the tabernacle in Logan we sat in the benches at the front—most of us—and listened to history from a local scholar. I wandered upstairs to the back. I sat on the northwest corner of the balcony one Sunday for Stake Conference. I was either a deacon or a teacher, and correspondingly stupid. I threw a paper airplane during the closing prayer when I was certain no one would notice. Next Sunday in priesthood, my quorum advisor announced what one of his quorum members had done. He did not use my name, and did not look directly at me, but everyone must have seen the pulsating red glow of my embarrassment as he described my antics. No one ever mentioned it to me, but I learned a painful and and worthwhile lesson.

I asked if we could visit the tabernacle font where I was baptized on March 27, 1954 by my oldest brother, Andy, who passed away last month. I do not think I have visited the baptistry in that building since that day. I entered the room rather casually, thinking about the renewing of an old memory. But the Spirit met me there and flooded me. Tears came as I looked into the font. Imagine that! It was so unexpected and so sweet. I received a more powerful witness about the importance of my baptism in that place than I have ever experienced before.

I spent time in the assembly hall of the building looking at the work done there. Who had the gumption and the get-up-and-go and the know-how to put this thing together? The place is spectacular! And these great saints, weren't done yet. they climbed the hill and built a temple too.

I marveled at the faith of those people with their wagons and their scrapers and their chisels and their horses and willpower, building God a house on the hill. What a miracle to build such a place! I have never been able to build anything worthwhile. I tried a doghouse once. I made it from pallets used to support stacks of sheet metal and the finished product weighed so much we needed a crane to move it. And the dog, a particularly bright Australian Shepherd, took one look and opted to sleep in the yard even in the of winter.

In Paris, Idaho, we stopped at the red sandstone tabernacle. No doors were open so we remained on the lawn. This is another beautiful building, another monument to faith and industry. The command of Brigham to build a tabernacle in Paris cannot have been any less daunting than the command of the Lord to Nephi to build an ocean liner. So what if they did were not sure how to do it? They had a commandment and they tucked in their shirts and rolled up their sleeves and began quarrying stone.

When the trip was over I kept thinking about building things.

When I was in 7th grade shop class, the teacher, Willy Dial, assigned the students to make something to take to their mothers. Kim Cameron made an end table. The intricately shaped top—like water puddled on a stone floor—was thick bleached pine. The legs were lathed and tapered. The whole thing was varnished to a rous finish. It was an amazing creation for a 7th grader!

I made a broom holder. We all need to accept our limitations and I thought I knew mine. My mom was not getting an end table or anything remotely like it from me. But a broom holder . . . I thought I could assemble and finish two pieces of wood, the base to be screwed into the wall, and the yoke, carved to admit the shaft of the broom and hold it by the wide bristled head. A little work with the saw; a little sanding; a little varnish on the bright wood: voila!

I built one, and it was so bad that my teacher refused to let me take it home. He put it were it belonged to await the next trash pickup, and gave me a broom holder from the back room for my mom. I got my first and only "D" in that class, an admission which will not surprise those of you who know my skills with tools.

But these early Mormons built tabernacles and temples and rock churches and tithing offices from one end of Deseret to the other. And they were not log structures like that two-week effort in Kanesville. They were rich and ornate and beautiful: stone and woodwork of the highest quality, built by men who loved the Lord and who were at the same time trying to wrest a living from the soil of their surroundings! I fear that my spiritual constructions may look like my broom holder or my dog house. What will I say to those craftsmen in the next life when they wonder why my home teaching was not finished, or my genealogy was not completed, or my family was untaught?

Now, in recent days, my mind has gone a step farther. I listened to a talk last Friday about the majesty of God and this has caused me to reflect on the things he makes.

God described himself to Job in most dramatic and unusual terms. The underlying message is that God is so great that no man can question his purposes or his actions. The following questions God asks come from Job 38 and 39. Each of the questions contains an inference of the greatness of God.

(38:4) Where were you when God laid the foundations of the earth?
(38:6) On what were the foundations of the earth fastened?
(38:8) Who shut up the sea behind doors?
(38:12) Have you ever commanded the dawn?
(38:16) Have you walked in the depths of the sea>
(38:17) Have you seen the gates of ?
(38:18) Can you comprehend the expanse of the earth?
(38:22) Have you entered the storehouses of the snow?
(38:25) Who cuts the channel for the torrents of rain
(38;29) From whose womb comes the ice?
(38:31,32) Can you bring forth the constellations?
(38:35) Can you send the bolts of lightning on their way?
(38:37) Can you count the clouds?
(38:37) Who tips over the bottles of rain when the earth needs rain?
(38:39) Do you hunt prey for the lioness?
(38:41) Who feeds the ravens?
(39:5) Who decided the wild donkey should be wild
(39:9) Will the wild ox consent to serve and help you?
(39:13) Why are the ostrich and peacock so different?
(39:19) Did you give the horse his strength?
(39:19) Did you decide what the horse should look like?
(39:26) Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom?
(39:27) Does the eagle soar at your command?

I wonder what kind of shop class God runs in the Celestial Kingdom. Because I am going to require some serious training before I undertake to bring forth any constellations or hang the suns and galaxies in the endless expanse of heaven. People have often complemented my on my photos of beautiful things. Shucks. Anybody can learn to take a picture of a rose. But making a rose . . .

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Greetings from Ted and Lydia:

I was sitting at my desk at the institute when the phone rang on Friday afternoon. My wife was on the line: "Come home now!" she said with that tone that communicates disaster. I came. For the third time in three months a connection under one of our sinks had broken. This time a hose came loose and the water came in a flood rather than a spray or a trickle. Standing water covered the north end of the basement from our bedroom through Justin's bedroom, and into the storage room.

After our first two experiences with with raging waters, we have made it a matter of prayer, asking the Lord to protect our home and our investment. Then this. It has been difficult not to look up and ask "Why?"

This thought comes to mind from Richard G. Scott:

When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father (“Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).

So I have been asking myself what I should learn from all of this water. A few ideas have come to mind, none worth sharing.

I talked to Margie today and told her of our trial. Where did this woman come from, anyway? She is wise and insightful beyond her years, and in fact we are talking about a number of years. In one sentence she taught me more about my predicament than I had been able to understand in 24 hours. "Thank goodness it wasn't Katrina," she quipped.


Andy had his farewell party today. Since he insisted that no funeral be held, and suggested a party instead, many of us met today at the Copper Mill in Logan---one of his favorite restaurants. I drove to Logan with Steve. We ate and laughed and loved and visited. We rejoiced for Andy. Steve commented on the difference between this gathering and the funeral for Lydia's father several months ago. There was a great deal of regret at that funeral--regret for divided families and festering bitterness and unhappy relatives. Andy's party was a celebration of a life by a bunch of folks who knew him and loved him and admired him.

While I was there, I remembered two cartoons he had sent me, I assume from a newspaper in Greeley, Colorado where he lived at the time. Andy sent cartoons to everybody he loved, and they were selected based on personality and/or profession. I got the ones that contained religious humor. The two I remember best were from a single panel cartoon called "Pot Shots" by Ashleigh Brillaint. One said, "It is easy to make lifetime decisions, when I realize how temporary they are." The other was, "If the meaning of my life doesn't soon become clear, I may need to request an extension."

Did it finally becomel clear? Or did he request and extension? Wally, his oldest son, thought he had.

I kind of hope this catches on around here: a party for the departed. It was wonderful.

Monday, November 5, 2007



The usual purpose of parables was to keep the indifferent and uninterested from learning more than was good for them.

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear (Matthew 13:10 - 16).

But in the parable of the unjust judge, we get the message before the parable even begins. I suspect that this is Luke at work and not a reflection of the way the Savior taught on this occasion, but I could be wrong. Anyway, the parable begins with this statement:

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1).

We had an interesting discussion about this in class today. With regard to praying, what does it mean to "faint"? For that matter, what does the Lord mean when he says we "ought always to pray"? I found 17 places in the standard works where we are commanded to pray always, the first of which is in this parable.

Luke 18:1
Luke 21:6
2 Nephi 32:9
3 Nephi 18:15
3 Nephi 18:18
3 Nephi 18:19
D&C 10:5
D&C 19:38
D&C 20:33
D&C 31:12
D&C 32:4
D&C 61:39
D&C 88:126
D&C 90:24
D&C 93:49
D&C 93:50
D&C 101:81

The sense I have of this commandment is that we must never stop praying. No quitting or fainting is allowed. This is not a directive to pray 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a directive to pray every day of every week and to pray meaningfully. Prayer sabbaticals are as dangerous as nuclear warheads.

The parable introduced in this way is interesting:
2. There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:1 - 8)

This hardhearted judge will not be controlled by his fear of the judgement nor by his concern about what his constituents think of him. In fact, the thing that finally moves him to some action in behalf of this widow is his concern that her continual comings might "weary" him.

Better to give her what she wants than to allow her to drive me crazy, he seems to be saying. The judge is not a symbol for our Heavenly Father. He serves as a foil. If this indifferent and self-centered judge will hear and answer the appeals of this importunig widow, how much more will our Heavenly Father hear and grant our requests. Verse 8 suggests that he will do this "speedily"--that is, I think, as quickly as he possibly can. That would probably be after we have learned what we need to learn and prepared ourselves for divine intervention in our lives.

The Savior is going to Jericho, and near the city limits he encounters a blind man begging by the side of the road.

35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God (Luke 18:35-43).

How this man learned of the power of Christ we are not told, but from some source he knew that Jesus Christ could heal blindness. Perhaps one healed on another occasion had spoken to him: "If you ever encounter Jesus of Nazareth, ask for a blessing. He can restore your sight. When the sound of the passing crowds reaches him and he learns that the cause of the commotion is that Jesus is on his street, he begins to cry out to him. Of course he does. What else could he possibly do? Even when those leading the procession rebuked him he continued to cry out. This story seems to me to be a perfect exposition of the parable at the beginning of this chapter. Don't give up (don't faint) because some time passes or because people encourage you to quit making a fuss or because it seems hopeless. Cry out to him (The Book of Mormon uses the some form of the verb 'cry' about 100 times as a substitute for 'pray and 'prayer')."

There is another great reason to pray a lot. I found it in this article from the Wall Street Journal or one of those great newspapers like that:
Russell M. Nelson spoke of the willingness of God to answer prayers: I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered. We wonder, "Why?" I know that feeling! I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated. I know that an all-wise Heavenly Father's perspective is much broader than is ours. While we know of our mortal problems and pain, He knows of our immortal progress and potential. If we pray to know His will and submit ourselves to it with patience and courage, heavenly healing can take place in His own way and time ("Jesus Christ--The Master Healer," Ensign, Nov. 2005, 86).

President Packer said it thus: Go quietly into the world. Go quietly about your affairs, and learn that in the still, small hours of the morning the Lord will speak to you. He will never fail to answer your prayers" [Boyd K. Packer: Commencement Address, 17 December 2005, BYU Hawaii].

Richard G. Scott from April 2007 Conference: He will always hear your prayers and will invariably answer them. However, His answers will seldom come while you are on your knees praying, even when you may plead for an immediate response. Rather, He will prompt you in quiet moments when the Spirit can most effectively touch your mind and heart. Hence, you should find periods of quiet time to recognize when you are being instructed and strengthened. His pattern causes you to grow.

It is true that the answers to our prayers may not always come as direct and at the
time, nor in the manner, we anticipate; but they do come, and at a time and in a manner best for the interests of him who offers the supplication
(David O. McKay: CR, April 1969, p. 153).