Alma 34:26-27, LeGrand Baker, Constant Prayer

Alma 34:26-27, LeGrand Baker, Constant Prayer

Alma 34:17-27
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.

The command to pray continually is repeated so frequently in the scriptures that we aught to take it very seriously.

15 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.
16 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.
17 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto his disciples, he turned again unto the multitude and said unto them:
18 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.
19 Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;
20 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 (3 Nephi 18:15-20).

This is what I wrote about constant prayer in Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord.

Prayer is like walking in the mountain with a friend. There are times when you see a sunrise so expansive and glorious that it must be shared with your friend to be fully appreciated. There are times you walk with the other in silence, then you stop and your eyes look—alone—as you ponder the perfect beauty of a columbine. Sometimes you talk together—your friend and you—but only briefly – because a smile can say so much more. Sometimes the words flow like the confluence of two great rivers and the ideas reach out to embrace a world as big as the open sea. Sometimes you walk together quietly and say nothing, and the unspoken words are more profound than speech. There is no aloneness in the quiet, just as there was no aloneness when all your conscious world was only the beauty of a single columbine. Friendship is like that. So is prayer.

Prayer in the name of Christ is requisite to show one’s reliance on the Father’s covenant that is personified in the Savior (see Moroni 10:32-33). One’s faith in Christ increases as one begins to rely more heavily on the feelings that can be identified as the testimony of the Holy Ghost. Those feelings are the evidence—the assurance—the pistis—of the divinity of Christ, of the validity of the Atonement, and of the absolute integrity of the Father who first made the covenant. When we exercise “faith in Christ,” we evoke the powers promised by the Father’s covenants, but we also give evidences of our own faithfulness to the conditions of the covenants (page 1026).

If prayer is a conversation between friends, then it requires listening as well as talking. A constant repetition of a “shopping list” is not the same thing as a conversation. It is true that we must ask, and it is true that we should ask about things that are important to us, just as Abinadi says in the verses that precede the one I quoted. However, the command is: to ask for “which is right. The only way we can know what is right is to ask and to listen. The Lord explained:

63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
64 Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you;

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