Nephi teaches about the sacred power of prayer to consecrate action taken with a sincere desire to serve God.
“…If ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.” (2 Nephi 32:8-9)
-Is it easy to see prayer as being ineffectual if you are measuring outcomes by whether God is doing what you want Him to?
-How often is your will different than God’s will?
-Have you ever thought of prayer as a way to ask God’s blessing on the actions you take with a sincere desire to serve Him? How often would this kind of prayer be ineffectual?
-When it comes to the welfare of our souls, would God ever dismiss our best efforts to do His will when coupled with a prayer that the efforts will be in line with His will and consecrated in His eyes?
-How does the Atonement of Jesus Christ allow the good we do (in our imperfect efforts) to be treasured up in heaven by the Father?
-Can you see why evil spirits strive to diminish the importance of prayer in our hearts and minds (so that the precious connection with God and His will is also diminished)?
-Unless we are willfully doing things that we know are wrong, is there anything we do that shouldn’t be performed “unto the Lord?”
Jacob provides keys to true joy.
“…Remember the words of your God; pray unto him continually by day and give thanks unto his holy name by night. Let your hearts rejoice.” (2 Nephi 9:52)
-Can prayer establish a connection with God and, thereby, help a person live in the joy and peace of His Spirit?
-Does the joy and peace that comes from the Spirit testify of God’s power to lift and save one’s soul?
-Does having that testimony from the Spirit help one to exercise faith in Jesus Christ day by day?
-In light of the above questions, how are prayer and gratitude related to both joy in this life and salvation in the eternities?
-What is keeping your heart from rejoicing?
-Is it freeing to know that according to God’s word we should let our hearts rejoice in the beautiful hope and truth of which the Spirit testifies?
After expressing his eternal trust in the Lord, Nephi also emphasizes how the Lord is standing ready to pour out blessings upon those who ask for that which is right in His eyes.
“Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss.” (2 Nephi 4:35)
-How can we learn to ask not amiss?
-Is it tempting to ask God to override others’ free will? Are there circumstances where He would do so?
-If a prayer is not answered, does that mean the prayer was amiss?
-What is the difference between the timetables one might have in his or her mind for an answer to a righteous prayer and the Lord’s timetable for answering the prayer?
-How does God give liberally to those who ask righteous things of Him?