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Prayer and Worship in Alma 32-34

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon Lesson 28
“Plant This Word in Your Hearts” (Alma 32-35)




In Alma 32-34, Alma and Amulek are teaching a group of people that have been denied the opportunity to gather together normally to participate in worship. Because of this, at two points in their sermon, special attention is paid to prayer because it allows us to worship God regardless of where we are or aren’t able to be. The first of these begins at Alma 33:3,

3 Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship?
4 For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me.
5 Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me.
6 And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer.
7 And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me.

When no one else hears you and no one else knows your circumstances, God hears you, He knows you, and He can help you when you turn to Him in faith. Continuing with verse 8,

8 Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them.
9 Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations.
10 Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been cast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst visit them in thine anger with speedy destruction.
11 And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son.

When we are cast out and alone, God hears us when we cry unto Him to be heard of Him. This is not an invitation to religious Public Displays of Affection for popular consumption, or prayers to be heard of men. God instead hears us when we pray to him sincerely, with mind, heart, and mouth all saying the same things. He will send judgement in our behalf, he will hear us in our afflictions, and visit us in mercy, because of His Son Jesus Christ.

The second prayer related passage from this sermon set begins at Alma 34:17, and discusses the range of purposes for which one might call upon the Lord,

17 Therefore 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;
18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.

Surely, recognizing the lost and fallen state of mankind, the first things we need from God are mercy and salvation, but if we imagine this is all we ought to ask of Him we have failed to realize the extent of His love and care of His children. Continuing with verse 19,

19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
27 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.

We ought to look to the Lord in every substantial effort in our lives, asking His guidance, help, and blessing upon our efforts, and upon all those around us. If we find we have enemies, we should pray for them (perhaps as in the Fiddler on the Roof that the Lord bless and keep the Czar far away from us). It is a blessing to them if the Lord hears us and they are prevented from committing injustice. We should pray for his blessing in our business concerns, which should of course also be upright. We should pray for our families, and be actively seeking their growth and progress. And when we don’t pray out loud, we should still, like the people to whom the Lord ministered in 3 Nephi 20: 1 who did, “not cease to pray in their hearts.” In all this, we should seek to do good and bring good to fruition for ourselves and all of our brothers and sisters the world over in keeping with the second great commandment that we should love our neighbors as ourselves.

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