Psalms 24-35

Psalm 24 Read at the dedication of the Kirtland temple by Sidney Rigdon
Joseph Smith
At nine o'clock a. m. [March 27, 1836] President Sidney Rigdon commenced the services of the day by reading the 96th and 24th Psalms... President Rigdon then read the 18th, 19th and 20th verses of the 18th chapter of Matthew, and preached more particularly from the 20th verse: 'Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.' He spoke two hours and a half in his usual logical manner. His prayer and address were very forcible and sublime, and well adapted to the occasion. (History of the Church, 2:411-414)
Vaugh J. Featherstone
At one point in his talk, President Rigdon said that there were "those who had labored upon the walls of the [temple] and had wet them with their tears, in the silent shades of night, while they were praying to the God of heaven to protect them."
He then quoted from the 8th chapter of Matthew: "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."
"There were many houses," he continued, "many sufficiently large, built for the worship of God but not one except this [the Kirtland Temple] on the face of the whole earth, that was built by divine revelation." (History of the Church, 2:415.) After almost two millennia the Savior would once again have a holy temple dedicated to him. The sealing powers would once more be had upon the earth. (More Purity Give Me [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 137)
Psalm 24:3-4 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?... He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart
Carlos E. Asay
The Psalmist declared: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation" (Psalm 24:3-5).
In my mind, "clean hands" suggests a cleanliness of body; a "pure heart" suggests a purity of motive; a soul not lifted up unto vanity is one who retains humility; and one who has not sworn deceitfully is one who enters the temple honorably and fully qualified to receive the blessings of the temple.
President Spencer W. Kimball adds this insight and warning about mechanical temple activity and worthiness: "All these ordinances are futile unless with them there is a great righteousness. . . . Sometimes people feel if they have complied with the more mechanical things that they are in line. And yet perhaps their hearts are not always pure. . . . With hearts that are absolutely purged and cleaned, and living the more mechanical things, we are prepared to come into the holy temple" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], pp. 536-37).
One who enters the temple under false pretenses or engages in ordinance work like a robot is little better than the moneychangers who desecrated God's house and were routed from the premises by the Savior (see Matthew 21:12-13). (Family Pecan Trees: Planting a Legacy of Faith at Home [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992], 215)
Spencer W. Kimball
In our journey toward eternal life, purity must be our constant aim. To walk and talk with God, to serve with God, to follow his example and become as a god, we must attain perfection. In his presence there can be no guile, no wickedness, no transgression. In numerous scriptures he has made it clear that all worldliness, evil and weakness must be dropped before we can ascend unto "the hill of the Lord." (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], chap. 2)
Psalm 30:5 weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning
Thomas S. Monson
It may safely be assumed that no person has ever lived entirely free of suffering and tribulation, nor has there ever been a period in human history that did not have its full share of turmoil, ruin, and misery.
When the pathway of life takes a cruel turn, there is the temptation to ask the question "Why me?" Self-incrimination is a common practice, even when we may have had no control over our difficulty. At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel's end, no dawn to break the night's darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes. We join in uttering the biblical plea "Is there no balm in Gilead?" We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone.
To all who so despair, may I offer the assurance found in the psalm "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome. ("Look to God and Live," Ensign, May 1998, 52)
Psalms 35 Read at the First Continental Congress
The Reverend Jacob Duché opened the September 7th, 1774 first Continental Congress in Philadelphia with prayer. Here is the story about a prayer that stirred the Founding Fathers.
The first American Congress (Continental Congress) was a convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen North American colonies that met on September 5, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early in the American Revolution. Called in response to the passage of the Coercive Acts (also known as Intolerable Acts by the Colonial Americans) by the British Parliament, the Congress was attended by 56 members appointed by the legislatures of twelve of the Thirteen Colonies...
Delegates met in secret. Benjamin Franklin had proposed such a meeting a year earlier, but after the Port of Boston was closed the momentum for such a meeting grew rapidly. The goal of the Congress was to resolve the differences between England and the colonies.
The Congress opened in prayer led by the Reverend Jacob Duché, a local minister from nearby Christ Church. Many of the Founding Fathers worshipped there and seven signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried in Christ's Church cemetery. Reverend Jacob Duché (1737-98) was born in Pennsylvania, a descendant of Huguenots who immigrated to America with William Penn.
Prayer in Congress.jpg
"The First Prayer in Congress" by T.H. Matteson 1848
Reverend Duché opened the second session on September 7th, 1774 with prayer. It was not a perfunctory prayer, but one that was a time of profound prayer. Opening the session he read the 35th Psalm, and then broke into extemporaneous prayer.
First Prayer of the Continental Congress, 1774
O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!
Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.
Reverend Jacob Duché
Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 7, 1774, 9 o'clock a.m.
The prayer had a profound effect on the delegates, as recounted by John Adams to his wife. Dr. Duché followed the psalm with ten minutes of spontaneous prayer asking God to support the American cause. Adams stated, "[Rev] Duche, unexpectedly to everybody, struck out into extemporaneous prayer which filled the bosom of every man present. I must confess I never heard a better prayer. . . .with such fervor, such ardor, earnestness and pathos, and in a language so elegant and sublime for America [and] for the Congress. . . .It has had an excellent effect upon everybody here." He went on to say, "I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on the morning. . . .I must beg you to read that Psalm. . . [Read] the 35th Psalm to [your friends]. Read it to your father." One other delegate said he was "worth riding 100 miles to hear."
On July 4, 1776, Jacob Duché met with his Vestry to make a momentous decision. Just two days after the Continental Congress voted to "dissolve the connection" with Great Britain in what became known as the Declaration of Independence, the decision at hand was whether or not to pray for the royal family in the upcoming Sunday service. In the politically charged world of Philadelphia, the act of excluding prayers for King George was fraught with partisan labeling: are you a loyalist Tory or a rebel? The vestry decided "for the peace and well-being of the churches, to omit the said petitions." To this day, you can visit Christ Church and see the 1776 Prayer Book where the prayer has an ink line literally crossing out those prayers for the King. (