Sunday, September 14, 2008

Moroni discovers the right kind of prayer

This week I read about a time when Moroni finds himself in a tough spot. While Lamanites are mounting battles, taking prisoners, and conquering cities, Moroni is low on manpower and supplies. Faced with overwhelming odds, he prudently decides he can take no more action until he gets additional support: “We did wait to receive provisions and strength from the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 58:7). Moroni was justified in looking to Zarahemla for support, but it was not forthcoming: “We did wait in these difficult circumstances for the space of many months” (Alma 58:7).

I sometimes feel like Moroni. I’m overwhelmed; I could use some help; and there are people around who I think could or should help me. What I love here is Moroni’s response when help was not forthcoming. He could have become bitter. He could have given up. Instead, “we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us...and give us strength” (Alma 58:10).

I think that’s the kind of prayer God wants us to give. There’s certainly a time and place for praying that someone else will step in to give us what we need. But a lot of the time I think God wants us to pray for a greater measure of strength and support from Him, which will then allow us to rise to the challenge. So finally, after waiting for months, Moroni and his people offered that prayer, and here’s what happened:

The Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him. And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with determination to conquer our enemies…And thus we did go forth with all our might. (Alma 58:11-13)

Outwardly, nothing changed in their situation. No provisions or soldiers arrived; the Lamanites didn’t relent. But the people felt assurance, peace, and faith from God, which gave them hope and courage, so they went forth with all their might. I know I’m like a broken record on this topic, but this is the stage of life I’m in right now. I do wish someone would swoop in from some magical Zarahemla to give me some backup with the kids, fix my house, and beef up my bank account. But most of the time that’s not going to happen. Most of the time I need to ask God for assurance, peace, and faith so that my strength, with His, is enough.

So of course Moroni hatches a crazy scheme to lure the numerous Lamanites out of their city so he can cleverly conquer them with his much smaller force. I kind of like how his plan is described: “Now Gid and his men were on the right and the others on the left…I caused that my men should not sleep, but that they should march forward by another way” (Alma 58:17, 26). Sometimes that is how I solve my problems, too: My kids are accustomed to afternoons when I’ve hatched a plan where some people go this way, the others go that way; we won’t get much sleep but we’ll get the job done.


  1. As usual, your thoughts and ponderings are much the same as mine. It must be like we're fighting the same battles every day, all day or something...
    Richard gets slightly offended when I refer to the battles of motherhood - but that's what it really is. But I think you're right that quite often who I am battling is myself. Not the kids. My natural man who doesn't want to work so hard. ...prayer... what a concept.

  2. I found similar insights in Mosiah when the people were in bondage. Thanks so much for sharing!