President Marion G. Romney once said he couldn't remember learning to pray.
He simply knew how to pray from his earliest recollections, and he relied heavily on prayer during his life."I don't remember being taught to pray. I am sure it was instilled in me by my mother (his father was on a mission during his earliest youth) to kneel down in the morning and the last thing in the evening and say my prayers. I can't remember any period in my life when I didn't expect an answer to my prayers," he once said.
Of President Romney's public prayers, President Spencer W. Kimball once wrote:
"His brethren have no question about the nearness of the Lord to him when he prays. His prayers are so earnest, his voice so tender, his appeal so real and sincere that we know the Lord is listening. His sincerity is of such quality that it touches the listeners, and all of us feel that, because President Romney is praying, we are all close to our Father in Heaven.
"To feel the sincerity and intensity of his feelings, one needs only to listen to him call upon his Maker and plead with him for blessings. All is holy where this man kneels."
President Romney's tremendous faith in the power of prayer came also at an early age, as evidenced by an experience he had as a small boy.
"I had a few marbles, and they were very valuable in my child's mind. At that time there weren't any replacements, and I remember losing what we called a flint - it was my taw.
"I couldn't find it, and I hunted and hunted in vain. Finally, I knelt down and asked the Lord to help me find that marble. I got up from my knees and hadn't taken two steps when I picked up the marble.
"Now, to me, that was an immediate answer to my prayer."
The desire to communicate with his Heavenly Father remained with President Romney throughout his life and was a great source of strength.
"I have been prayerful throughout my life, and my testimony has grown," he said. "Through the years I have learned more about the gospel and have never doubted the existence of the Lord. I can't remember ever doubting or questioning the principles of the gospel that I have been taught."
Though probably best-remembered for his emphasis on personal and family welfare, President Romney taught other gospel principles and programs with equal enthusiasm.
One such program was home teaching.
Never one to ask someone else to do something he wouldn't do himself, President Romney, when called as chairman of the Home Teaching Committee, asked his bishop to assign him to do home teaching.
"I have done it regularly. Though I may be worn out when I come home from the office, after I have visited my families I feel rested and invigorated. I can honestly testify that there is no activity that I am engaged in in all my church work that I get more joy out of than I do visiting my home teaching families," he said.
"His philosophy is," wrote President Kimball of President Romney, "that if there's a stranger in your neighborhood today, a home teacher should be appointed; he needs a friend. If there is a stranger tomorrow, the home teachers need checking."
"Through the home teaching program," President Romney said, "a message can go from the presidency of the church to the head of the family in a matter of hours through the priesthood line of authority."
Serious about the Lord's work, President Romney also saw life's lighter side. He was good-natured, and others enjoyed being with him.
"I don't try to be funny," he once said. "Things that seem to me to be out of proportion or not logical just appeal to me as being funny - and I say them."
Once asked about his humor, he replied, "That is the last thing I want to lose."