Remember That My Spirit Will Not Always Strive with Man

The Lord teaches the brother of Jared that it is a sin (and a spiritual hazard) to forgo praying to God as consistent action in one’s life.

“The Lord…chastened [The brother of Jared] because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord. And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands.” (Ether 2:14-15)

Questions:

-Is prayer a form of seeking the Lord’s presence in your life?

-Is there any hope of drawing closer to the Lord without regular, diligent, and sincere prayer?

Satan Desireth to Have You

Christ taught a group of the descendants of Lehi (visiting them shortly after His Resurrection) that prayer is an indispensable form of spiritual protection.

“Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name; And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you. Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” (3 Nephi 18:18-21)

Questions:

-Are those who do not earnestly and consistently pray in Christ’s name inevitably under the control of Satan to one degree or another?

-Or, is it more that Satan works particularly hard on those who have covenanted to follow Christ, so that prayer becomes absolutely necessary (to survive spiritually) for those who have entered the covenant path?

-If Satan knows that those who don’t have the law (i.e. don’t have the gospel of Jesus Christ) won’t be judged accordingly, would he also understand that efforts to tempt and destroy such souls would have little eternal affect?

Ye Shall Pray in My Church

Christ taught the descendants of Lehi that prayer is an essential part of worship in the church setting.

“Verily, Verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him. And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you.” (3 Nephi 18:15-16)

Questions:

-What kind of prayer did Christ give to set an example for those He is speaking to in the verses above? (See The Eye Hath Never Seen, Neither Hath the Ear Heard So Great and Marvelous Things)

-Imagine trying to pray as the Savior does. Would doing so lift the quality and meaning of your prayers?

The Eye Hath Never Seen, Neither Hath the Ear Heard So Great and Marvelous Things

Jesus Christ visited a group of Lehi’s descendants in the Americas (shortly after His Resurrection). After teaching them and healing their sick, He asked them to bring their children to Him. He then knelt with the group who had congregated and prayed to the Father. Those who witnessed this event bore the following testimony:

“…[Jesus] prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him. And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father; And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.” (3 Nephi 17:15-17)

Questions:

-What would it have been like to hear and see the Savior’s prayer as described above?

-Can you imagine the Savior praying for you as you read these verses?

After This Manner Therefore Pray Ye

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 and 6) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passages below show the words from verses 9 through 13 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. (3 Nephi 13:9-13)

Questions:

-Do the above verses provide guidelines for a meaningful prayer? For instance:

  • feeling and expressing deep respect towards God with whom you are communicating
  • seeking for God’s will to be done through your life and in the world in general
  • seeking strength to be a forgiver so you can meaningfully find forgiveness from God
  • asking God to prepare the way before you so temptation loses its power
  • recognizing the truth that God is the source of all good and the Righteous King over all

–  Is it nearly as meaningful to simply repeat the words that Christ taught rather than using them as a guideline for how you approach your Heavenly Father in prayer—using your own words and drawing on your own feelings and thoughts?   

Pray to Thy Father in Secret and Thy Father Who Seeth in Secret Shall Reward Thee Openly

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 and 6) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passages below show the words from verses 5 through 6 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:5-6)

“And when thou prayest thou shalt not do as the hypocrites, for they love to pray, standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (3 Nephi 13:5-6)

Questions:

-What is the appeal that draws some to ostentatious religious displays?

-How many cherish the opportunity to develop a private relationship with God separate from the vain displays Christ warns against?

Let Your Hearts be Full, Drawn Out in Prayer unto God Continually

Amulek teaches about how prayer should be approached in quality, quantity, and intensity.

“…Humble yourselves and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your field, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.” (Alma 34:19-27)

Questions:

-How does one keep his or her heart drawn out to God at all times?

Cry unto Him for Mercy for He is Mighty to Save

Amulek teaches that part of exercising faith unto repentance is to call upon God for mercy.

“…May God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you; Yea, cry unto him for mercy for he is mighty to save.” (Alma 34:17-18)

Questions:

-What does it mean to call upon God for mercy?

-How many see themselves as being in need of God’s mercy?

It Is by the Prayers of the Righteous That Ye Are Spared

Teaching his fellow Nephites in the city of Ammonihah, Amulek testifies that the prayers of the righteous are all that is keeping God’s judgments from coming upon the people in the generally wicked city.

“…If it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword. But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent.” (Alma 10:22-23)

Questions:

-Are the righteous being cast out from any large groups or societies in our time? If so, will those who are removing the righteous from among them inevitably face famine, pestilence, and war?

Look unto God with Firmness of Mind and Pray with Exceeding Faith

The prophet Jacob describes the power that comes to those who are pure in heart, look to God with firmness of mind, and pray with exceeding faith:

“…I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.” (Jacob 3:1)

Questions:

-What does it mean to be pure in heart? How can one obtain purity of heart?

-Do some expect remarkable blessings without looking to God with firmness of mind and without praying with exceeding faith?

-Do some keep their head bowed stubbornly in sorrow rather than receiving the pleasing word of God and rejoicing in the power of His love?