Martha’s Prayer

by Sylvia Brown

Martha Hunter Hurry Cumming Clark

Martha Cumming was born in Scotland in 1884. She reluctantly attended a meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Edinburgh in 1912, at the invitation of a visiting missionary cousin from America. When those present began to sing, We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet, she pressed her hands tight to her ears until they had finished.

Working as a domestic servant in a Presbyterian minister’s home in Edinburgh, Martha continued to have occasional contact with the Church. She prayed to be the means of showing them the error of their teachings.

After one meeting with the missionaries, she related, “When I got home that night, I laid there with the lights on pondering the many things pertaining to the gospel, even to the Prophet Joseph. I thought ‘Maybe I am wrong and there is only one way to find out – talk to my Heavenly Father.’ I got out of bed, got on my knees, and prayed. I felt that prayer did not reach further than the ceiling, so I got out of bed again. I felt very humble, so humble and sincere that my prayer was sobbed out – each word. I asked my Heavenly Father if Joseph Smith was really His Prophet; I said I didn’t want a sign (as I had known most of my life it was wicked to ask for a sign). I told my Heavenly Father so, but I said, ‘How am I ever going to believe about Joseph Smith unless in your own way, Heavenly Father. Please won’t you tell me. And please forgive me if I am asking wrong’.

“By this time, I was shaking with sobs. I was talking to my Heavenly Father and asking for something that meant so much to me. I got into bed, the light still on, when all at once I heard the most beautiful organ music. Then a choir started to sing – all the parts were sung with the most beautiful voices I had ever heard on this earth. … They sang to me the first song I ever heard in the Mormon meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland when I stopped my ears so I could not hear the few people who were at that meeting singing the song I didn’t want to hear. Yes, it was We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet! That singing went on and on … I lay spellbound listening to every word with tears streaming down my face, my heart and soul rejoicing at every word I heard … Heavenly Father heard me, a humble young woman who earned her living in a minister’s home.”

Taken from the testimony of Martha Hunter Hurry Cumming Clark, as written to her granddaughter Carole Clayton Pulley in 1952. More information can be found at