3 Nephi 18 – As Jesus Christ concluded the first day of His ministry among the Nephites, He administered the sacrament. He commanded them to partake of the sacrament, pray to the Father always, and extend fellowship to all people. The Savior promised great blessings to those who obeyed. He then gave the twelve Nephite disciples instructions pertaining to their ministry in the Church. Prior to ascending into heaven, He gave them power to give the gift of the Holy Ghost.
VS1–14 – Jesus Christ administers the sacrament to the Nephites
- VS 5 – One must be ordained to bless and pass the sacrament. All who believe and are baptized shall partake.
- VS 7, 11 – Partake of the bread to remember Christ’s body. If you do this, you shall always have His spirit. By partaking of the wine, you remember the blood of Christ that was shed. If you do this, you will always have His spirit.
- Q – What can we do to always remember the Savior after we have partaken of the sacrament and during the rest of the week?
- VS10 – Administering and partaking of the sacrament witnesses to Heavenly Father that we will follow His commandments.
- VS12-13 – If you always partake of the sacrament with this remembrance, you are blessed because it shows you are built upon the rock of Christ. Anyone who does more or less than this are not built upon the rock of Christ. (See Helaman 5:12)
- Q – How can regularly partaking of the sacrament help you make Jesus Christ the foundation upon which you build your life?
- VS14 – Those who keep God’s commandments will be blessed. (Christ gave the commandments Heavenly Father commanded Him to give.)
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described several appropriate ways to remember the Lord while renewing our covenants through the sacrament:
“We could remember the Savior’s premortal life and all that we know Him to have done. …
“We could remember the simple grandeur of His mortal birth to just a young woman. …
“We could remember Christ’s miracles and His teachings, His healings and His help. …
“… We could remember that Jesus found special joy and happiness in children and said all of us should be more like them. …
“We could remember that Christ called His disciples friends. …
“We could—and should—remember the wonderful things that have come to us in our lives and that ‘all things which are good cometh of Christ’ (Moroni 7:24). …
“On some days we will have cause to remember the unkind treatment He received, the rejection He experienced, and the injustice … He endured. …
“… We can remember that Jesus had to descend below all things before He could ascend above them, and that He suffered pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind that He might be filled with mercy and know how to succor His people in their infirmities” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 90–91; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 68–69).
9. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how the ministering of angels is also a part of the promises of the sacramental prayers:
“These ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood are also vital to the ministering of angels. …
“… Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. …
“… Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen. …
“In general, the blessings of spiritual companionship and communication are available only to those who are clean. … Through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for ‘angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ’ (2 Nephi 32:3). So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 50–51; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 38–39).
VS15, 18 -“Watch and Pray Always” (said first to the disciples and then to the multitude)
Q – What do you think the word watch means in 3 Nephi 18:18? (To be spiritually alert, vigilant, or on guard.) Why do you think both watching and praying are essential to resisting temptation?
- Elder David A. Bednar: “Our evening prayer builds upon and is a continuation of our morning prayer. And our evening prayer also is a preparation for meaningful morning prayer. “Morning and evening prayers—and all of the prayers in between—are not unrelated, discrete events; rather, they are linked together each day and across days, weeks, months, and even years. This is in part how we fulfill the scriptural admonition to ‘pray always’ (Luke 21:36; 3 Nephi 18:15, 18; D&C 31:12). Such meaningful prayers are instrumental in obtaining the highest blessings God holds in store for His faithful children” (“Pray Always,”Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 42).
- President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency reflected on the importance of the commissions to “always remember him” (D&C 20:77, 79) and to “pray always” (3 Nephi 18:18):
“What does the Master mean when He warns us to ‘pray always’?
“I am not wise enough to know all of His purposes in giving us a covenant to always remember Him and in His warning us to pray always lest we be overcome. But I know one. It is because He knows perfectly the powerful forces that influence us and also what it means to be human. …
“… He knows what it is like to have the cares of life press in upon us. … And He knows how our human powers to cope are not constant. …
“… As the forces around us increase in intensity, whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient will not be enough. And whatever growth in spiritual strength we once thought was possible, greater growth will be made available to us. Both the need for spiritual strength and the opportunity to acquire it will increase at rates which we underestimate at our peril. …
“Start with remembering Him. You will remember what you know and what you love. …
“The Lord hears the prayers of your heart. The feelings of your heart, of love for our Heavenly Father and for His Beloved Son, can be so constant that your prayers will ascend always” (“Always” [CES fireside for young adults, Jan. 3, 1999], 2–3, 5; see also “Always,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 8–10, 12).
Q – How has prayer strengthened you?
VS16, 24 -“I Have Set an Example for You”
Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Each of us plays various roles in family, Church, community, business, education, and so forth. Though we have differing needs, we have in common the need to focus on all Christ’s qualities, especially those which individually we most need to develop more fully. …
“We can, of course, stop short and merely adopt a few techniques illustrated by the Savior. But unless we emulate Him as completely as we can, we will have deprived ourselves of the great model. Moreover, our emulation is to be of both style and substance. God’s love underwrites his listening, for instance. Can we conceive of a God who is a nonlistener? Or who is lacking in power? Or who is unwilling to assert Himself on an issue of principle? As we become more like Him it will take place in both attributes and actions” (A Wonderful Flood of Light , 110).
VS18 – “Sift You as Wheat”
1. Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained Jesus’s words: “This is an idiomatic expression which was clear to the people in that day, more so than to people in our day. In essence and thought content Jesus is saying, ‘Peter, Satan wants you in his harvest. He wants to harvest your soul, and bring you into his granary, into his garner, where he will have you as his disciple.’ It is the same figure that we use when we say that the field is white, already to harvest. And we go out and preach the gospel and harvest the souls of men. Well, Satan wanted Peter; he wanted to sift him as wheat or to harvest his soul” (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, ed. Mark L. McConkie , 127).
Q – How does prayer help us stay watchful and alert regarding Satan’s efforts to tempt us?
VS20 – “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.”
Q – Why do you think we need to pray in the name of Jesus Christ? What do you think the phrase “which is right” means in this passage?
- James 4:3 – 3 Ye aask, and receive not, because ye baskcamiss, that ye may dconsume it upon your elusts.
- Doctrine and Covenants 46:30 – 30 He that aasketh in the bSpirit asketh according to the cwill of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.
- President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), the 15th President of the Church:
“God, our Eternal Father, lives. He is the Creator and Ruler of the universe and yet He is our Father. He is the Almighty and is above all. He can be reached in prayer. … Does He hear a child’s prayer? Of course He does. Does He answer it? Of course He does. Not always as we might wish, but He answers. He hears and answers” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 468).
VS21 – Pray in your families
1. President James E. Faust of the First Presidency spoke of the power of family prayer:
“Family prayer is a powerful and sustaining influence. During the dark days of World War II, a 500-pound bomb fell outside the little home of Brother Patey, a young father in Liverpool, England, but the bomb did not go off. His wife had died, so he was rearing his five children alone. He gathered them together at this very anxious time for family prayer. They ‘all prayed … earnestly and when they had finished praying, the children said: “Daddy, we will be all right. We will be all right in our home tonight.”
“‘And so they went to bed, imagine, with that terrific bomb lying just outside the door half submerged in the ground. If it had gone off it would have destroyed probably forty or fifty houses and killed two or three hundred people. …
“‘The next morning the … whole neighborhood was removed for forty-eight hours and the bomb was finally taken away. …
“‘On the way back Brother Patey asked the foreman of the A.R.P. Squad: “Well, what did you find?”
“Mr. Patey, we got at the bomb outside of your door and found it ready to explode at any moment. There was nothing wrong with it. We are puzzled why it did not go off.”’ [Andre K. Anastasiou, in Conference Report, Oct. 1946, 26.] Miraculous things happen when families pray together” (“The Lifeline of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2002, 61).
2. Thomas S Monson – As a people, aren’t we grateful that family prayer is not an out-of-date practice with us? There is no more beautiful sight in all this world than to see a family praying together. There is real meaning behind the oft-quoted ‘The family that prays together stays together.’
3. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) discussed the importance of family prayer: “I feel satisfied that there is no adequate substitute for the morning and evening practice of kneeling together—father, mother, and children. This, more than soft carpets, more than lovely draperies, more than cleverly balanced color schemes, is the thing that will make for better and more beautiful homes” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1963, 127).
Q – What blessings have you seen from praying with your family? What can you do to help your family have consistent and meaningful family prayer?
VS22-25 – Church Members Should Extend Fellowship to All People
1. President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled:
“With the ever increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4). It is our duty and opportunity to provide these things” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 66; or Ensign, May 1997, 47).
Note: President Hinckley’s counsel may apply also to those who are not yet members of the Church. Who could you invite to learn more about the gospel or to attend a Church meeting or activity? This person could be someone of another faith, a less-active member of the Church, or a new member.
Q – What difference does it make to extend an invitation as a friend rather than because of an assignment?
2. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Brothers and sisters, my message is urgent because we need to retain in full fellowship many more of the new converts and return to activity many more of the less active. I urge you to increase the spirit of friendship and pure Christian fellowship in your neighborhoods. A new convert or recently activated member should feel the warmth of being wanted and being welcomed into full fellowship of the Church. Members and leaders of the Church should nurture and love them as Jesus would” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 36; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 29)
3. Moroni 6:4 – 4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and acleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the bchurch of Christ; and their cnames were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually dwatchful unto prayer, erelying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.
4. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Wouldn’t it be pleasing to Jesus if we could let our light so shine that those who followed us would be following the Savior? There are those searching for the light who will gladly pass through the gate of baptism onto the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life (see 2 Nephi 31). Will you be that light that will lead them to a safe harbor?” (“That Ye May Be the Children of Light” [Brigham Young University fireside address, Nov. 3, 1996], 8, speeches.byu.edu).
Q – What thoughts do you have when you consider the question, “Wouldn’t it be pleasing to Jesus if we could let our light so shine that those who followed us would be following the Savior?”
VS26–32 – The Sacrament is a Sacred Ordinance (speaking to the disciples)
We learn from these verses that only the worthy should partake of the sacrament. This worthiness should be determined by those who are called, such as the bishop or stake president.
1. While serving as a member of the Seventy, Elder John H. Groberg explained what it means to partake of the sacrament worthily:
“If we desire to improve (which is to repent) and are not under priesthood restriction, then, in my opinion, we are worthy. If, however, we have no desire to improve, if we have no intention of following the guidance of the Spirit, we must ask: Are we worthy to partake, or are we making a mockery of the very purpose of the sacrament, which is to act as a catalyst for personal repentance and improvement? If we remember the Savior and all he has done and will do for us, we will improve our actions and thus come closer to him, which keeps us on the road to eternal life.
“If, however, we refuse to repent and improve, if we do not remember him and keep his commandments, then we have stopped our growth, and that is damnation to our souls.
“The sacrament is an intensely personal experience, and we are the ones who knowingly are worthy or otherwise. …
“As we worthily partake of the sacrament, we will sense those things we need to improve in and receive the help and determination to do so. No matter what our problems, the sacrament always gives hope.
“Most of these problems we must work out ourselves. For example, if we aren’t paying our tithing, we simply determine to start doing so. But for some problems, we must see our bishop—the Spirit will let us know which” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 50; or Ensign, May 1989, 38–39).
2. Vs 29 – Damnation means stopping of spiritual progression.
3. Jesus cautioned the disciples not to cast out anyone from among them who was unworthy to partake of the sacrament; rather, they should continue to minister to the person, with the hope that he or she would repent and be healed by the Savior.
4. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Some time ago I attended an adult Sunday School class in a small town. … The subject was the sacrament, and the class was being taught by the bishop. During class discussion a member asked, ‘What if you see an unworthy person partaking of the sacrament? What do you do?’ The bishop answered, ‘You do nothing. I may need to do something’” (“‘Judge Not’ and Judging,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 9–10).
5. Although the sacrament is for Church members, bishoprics do not announce during sacrament meeting that it will be passed to members only, and nothing should be done to prevent any in attendance who are not members of the Church from partaking of it. It may also be helpful when you invite friends of other faiths to sacrament meeting, you should take time before the meeting to explain the sacrament and its symbolism.
VS36–37 – Jesus Gave His Disciples “Power to Give the Holy Ghost”
1. The multitude did not know what the Savior did or said when He touched His disciples and spoke to them; however, Mormon informed us that the disciples testified “that he gave them [the disciples] power to give the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 18:37). Moroni fulfilled his father’s promise to the reader that “I will show unto you hereafter that this record is true” (3 Nephi 18:37) when he later gave an account of this event and the words Christ spoke to the twelve disciples.
2. Moroni 2:1-3 – 1 The words of Christ, which he spake unto his adisciples, the twelve whom he had chosen, as he laid his hands upon them—
2 And he called them by name, saying: Ye shall acall on the Father in my name, in mighty prayer; and after ye have done this ye shall have bpower that to him upon whom ye shall lay your chands, dye shall give the Holy Ghost; and in my name shall ye give it, for thus do mine apostles.
3 Now Christ spake these words unto them at the time of his first appearing; and the multitude heard it not, but the disciples heard it; and on as many as they alaid their hands, fell the Holy Ghost.
3 Nephi 19 – After the Savior completed His first visit to the Nephites, the news of His visit spread among the people all that night. (The events recorded in 3 Nephi 11–18 all took place during one day.) Throughout the night, the people labored “exceedingly … that they might be on the morrow in the place” where the Savior was going to appear again (3 Nephi 19:3). In the morning, the twelve disciples taught the people and prayed with them. Jesus Christ appeared and commanded the people to pray, while He prayed to the Father in their behalf. Because of their faith, the twelve disciples were purified. Jesus prayed that the disciples and all those who believed their words might become one with Him and His Father.
VS1-3 – After Christ asked the people to ponder his words, He left them. Everyone went to their own houses and all night they told people about Jesus and how He would come and speak the next day. Some worked all night so they could be available to see Him.
VS4-7 – The next day, the disciples divided the people into 12 groups and started to teach them. They taught them to kneel and pray to Heavenly Father in Jesus’ name. The disciples prayed too, and then rose again to teach the people.
VS8-9 – The disciples taught exactly what Jesus taught them the previous day, not straying at all, and then knelt in prayer again to have the Holy Ghost with them.
Q – Why do you think the disciples retaught what Christ taught?
1. The twelve disciples, whom Jesus had chosen, prayed “that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them” (3 Nephi 19:9). Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained the meaning behind the request:
“There is … a difference between the gift of the Holy Ghost and the enjoyment of the gift. All saints after baptism receive the gift or right to the sanctifying power of the Spirit; only those who are worthy and who keep the commandments actually enjoy the promised reward. In practice, members of the Church enjoy the companionship of the Spirit from time to time as they manage, by obedience, to get in tune with the Infinite.
“The actual enjoyment of the gift of the Holy Ghost is a supernal gift that a man can receive in mortality. The fact of its receipt is a witness that the saints so blessed are reconciled to God and are doing the things that will assure them of eternal life in the realms ahead” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 257).
2. President Heber J. Grant (1856–1945) spoke of asking God twice a day for the guidance of the Holy Spirit: “I have little or no fear for the boy or the girl, the young man or the young woman, who honestly and conscientiously supplicate God twice a day for the guidance of His Spirit. I am sure that when temptation comes they will have the strength to overcome it by the inspiration that shall be given to them. Supplicating the Lord for the guidance of His Spirit places around us a safeguard, and if we earnestly and honestly seek the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord, I can assure you that we will receive it” (Gospel Standards , 26).
3. President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988), Second Counselor in the First Presidency, stated that we can obtain and keep the Spirit by following a simple four-point program: “If you want to obtain and keep the guidance of the Spirit, you can do so by following this simple four-point program. One, pray. Pray diligently. … Second, study and learn the gospel. Third, live righteously; repent of your sins. … Fourth, give service in the Church” (“Guidance of the Holy Spirit,” Ensign, Jan. 1980, 5).
4 .Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles –
“The Holy Ghost … is the source of our testimony of the Father and the Son. …
“We need the Holy Ghost as our constant companion to help us make better choices in the decisions that confront us daily. … Companionship with the Spirit will give them [our youth] the strength to resist evil and, when necessary, repent and return to the strait and narrow path. … We all need the fortification available through the Holy Ghost. … Having the gift of the Holy Ghost helps family members make wise choices—choices that will help them return with their families to their Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, to live with Them eternally” (“The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 8).
Q – What can we do to increase our desire to receive the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives? Why is it important to pray for guidance from the Holy Ghost?
Challenge – Let’s all pray for the companionship of the Holy Ghost in our morning prayers.
VS10-12 – The Disciples were Baptized Anew
Nephi was baptized first and then he baptized the other 12 disciples.
- President Joseph Fielding Smith explained why the Nephites needed to be baptized again:
“There is nothing strange in the fact that when the Lord came to the Nephites, Nephi was baptized and so was everybody else although they had been baptized before.
“The Church among the Nephites before the coming of Christ was not in its fulness and was under the law of Moses. The Savior restored the fulness and gave to them all the ordinances and blessings of the gospel. Therefore, it actually became a new organization, and through baptism they came into it.
“We have a similar condition in this dispensation. The Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were baptized by command of the Angel John the Baptist. Several others were baptized before the organization of the Church. However, on the day the church was organized, all who had been previously baptized were baptized again, not for the remission of sins, but for entrance into the Church. In each case the reason was the same” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 3:205–6).
VS13-15 – After the Disciples were baptized, they were encircled about as if by fire that came down from Heaven. Angels came down from Heaven and ministered unto them. Jesus descended down among the people while the angels were there.
The phrase “filled … with fire” is symbolic, referring to the blessing of being cleansed through the influence of the Holy Ghost.
VS16-18, 22 – “They Did Pray unto Jesus”
Jesus commanded the multitude and the disciples to kneel on the earth and to pray. They prayed to Jesus.
1. From the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets, we know that we are to worship God the Father and pray to Him only. We should not pray to Jesus Christ. For example, the Savior taught the Nephites, “Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name” (3 Nephi 18:19). However, shortly after the Savior taught this, His Nephite disciples prayed directly to Him (see 3 Nephi 19:18). They did so, He said, because He was with them (see 3 Nephi 19:22).
2. Elder Bruce R. McConkie suggested a reason this may have occurred: “There was a special reason why this was done in this instance and on a onetime basis. Jesus had already taught them to pray in his name to the Father, which they first did. … Jesus was present before them as the symbol of the Father. Seeing him, it was as though they saw the Father; praying to him, it was as though they prayed to the Father. It was a special and unique situation” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ , 560–61). It should also be noted that the Savior specifically stated that the people were praying to Him on this occasion because, as He said, “I am with them” (3 Nephi 19:22). Furthermore, on this occasion “they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray” (3 Nephi 19:24).
VS19-35 – Christ prays three times to the Father on behalf of the Nephites. This shows He is our advocate with the Father.
President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972), the 10th President of the Church:
“An advocate is one who defends or pleads for or in behalf of another. … That is part of [the] great mission [of Jesus Christ]. … When he was upon earth, he prayed frequently for his disciples, pleading with his Father in their behalf, and he has been pleading ever since” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:26–27).
Q – How do you feel when you think about Jesus continuing as your Advocate with the Father?
Prayer 1 – VS19-23: After the people start praying, Christ goes a little ways off, kneels down and thanks Heavenly Father for giving the Holy Ghost to the disciples, and prays that He will give it to all those who believe. He also prays for those who believe to be one with Him and the Father. (See John 17:11, 20-23 for a similar prayer the Savior offered soon before He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane.)
Q – How are Jesus Christ and the Father one? (They are separate, tangible beings, but they are one in purpose and doctrine. Perfectly united, they bring to pass Heavenly Father’s divine plan of salvation.)
Jesus prayed to Heavenly Father for unity among His followers and also for unity among the people His followers taught (see John 17:11, 20–21). Christ also taught the principle of unity in the Doctrine and Covenants: “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27).
1. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland compared Jesus Christ’s prayer for unity in 3 Nephi 19:20–23 with John 17:11, 20–23: “From the Savior’s language, we see clearly it is the Holy Ghost that provides such unity, a doctrinal point not so clearly communicated in the New Testament account. Furthermore, it is significant that one of the ultimate evidences God has of our belief in Deity is that we are seen and heard praying. Christ noted this evidence on behalf of the Nephites. To the Father he said, ‘Thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them’ [3 Nephi 19:22]. … It is the key to the miraculous manifestations of heaven and the personal companionship of the Holy Comforter(s)” (Christ and the New Covenant , 280).
2. John 17:11,20-23 –
3. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how we may become one with the Father and the Son:
“Jesus achieved perfect unity with the Father by submitting Himself, both flesh and spirit, to the will of the Father. The Savior’s ministry was always clearly focused because there was no debilitating or distracting double-mindedness in Him. Referring to His Father, Jesus said, ‘I do always those things that please him’ [John 8:29]. …
“Surely we will not be one with God and Christ until we make Their will and interest our greatest desire. Such submissiveness is not reached in a day, but through the Holy Spirit, the Lord will tutor us if we are willing until, in process of time, it may accurately be said that He is in us as the Father is in Him. At times I tremble to consider what may be required, but I know that it is only in this perfect union that a fulness of joy can be found” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2002, 76–77; or Ensign, Nov. 2002, 72–73).
VS24-26 – After Christ’s first prayer, He checked on the people and asked them to keep praying. As He looked at them, He blessed them and His countenance smiled upon them. They shone white as Christ.
Q – The Savior’s countenance “did smile upon” His disciples (3 Nephi 19:25, 30). What do you think this means? What can you do to allow your countenance to smile upon others?
VS24 – “They Did Not Multiply Many Words”
1. What does it mean to pray and “not multiply many words”? (3 Nephi 19:24). Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy gave the following insights:
“When the Nephite disciples were praying in the presence of Jesus, they set a good example for us all. The record says … ‘they did not multiply many words. …’
“This is consistent with the commandment the Lord gave to the Jews during his mortal ministry. He said, ‘When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’ (Matthew 6:7; also see 3 Nephi 13:7.)
“When we pray publicly, let us be careful to never be swept away in the desire for the honors of men, which might cause us to pray without real intent or to unnecessarily extend the length of our prayers. The same caution applies to those who pray for a mortal audience rather than simply to be heard by the Lord. We must always be careful to avoid ‘flowery’ prayers or prayers to impress. Surely the Lord is not pleased with such an approach, nor will he answer the prayers of one who is not focused on the Lord or who prays without real intent” (Receiving Answers to Our Prayers , 43–44).
VS24 – It was given unto them what they should pray.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Perfect prayers are those which are inspired, in which the Spirit reveals the words which should be used. (3 Ne. 19:24.) ‘And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done. But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask.’ (D. & C. 50:29–30.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 586).
Q – What difference would having the Spirit’s guidance make in how you pray and what you pray for?
Prayer 2 – VS27-29 – Christ thanks the Father for purifying the disciples because of their faith. He also prays that those who believe will also be purified through faith in Him. He again prays for oneness.
VS19–20, 27–28 – “I Thank Thee” used in prayers 1 and 2
The scriptures give many examples of the Savior expressing thanks to His Father (see Mark 14:23; John 6:5–11; 11:33–35, 41; 1 Corinthians 11:23–24). Upon returning to visit the Nephites a second time, Jesus began His first and second prayers recorded in scripture by thanking His Father (see 3 Nephi 19:19–20, 27–28). Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles emphasized this principle:
“Prayer is an essential part of conveying appreciation to our Heavenly Father. He awaits our expressions of gratefulness each morning and night in sincere, simple prayer from our hearts for our many blessings, gifts, and talents.
“Through expression of prayerful gratitude and thanksgiving, we show our dependence upon a higher source of wisdom and knowledge—God the Father and his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 89; or Ensign, May 1992, 64).
Prayer 3 – VS31-34 – After checking on the disciples again, and smiling at them as they kept praying, He speaks such sacred words, they cannot be written or uttered. The multitude has open hearts and understanding.
VS35 -Miracles Come to Those Who Have Faith
Great miracles accompanied the Savior’s visit to the Saints in Book of Mormon times—miracles of healings, angels, shining countenances, prayers too sacred to be written, and many other marvelous manifestations. Jesus declared to His disciples, “So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief” (3 Nephi 19:35).
1. Do miracles occur today, or has the day of miracles ceased? Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught that miracles still occur; however, we often don’t hear of them because of their sacredness:
“Why don’t our talks in general conference and local meetings say more about the miracles we have seen? Most of the miracles we experience are not to be shared. Consistent with the teachings of the scriptures, we hold them sacred and share them only when the Spirit prompts us to do so. …” (“Miracles” [CES fireside for young adults, May 7, 2000], 3, www.ldsces.org).