As the time of the Savior’s death and resurrection near, Nephi cries for the people. He did this thirty two years before (3 Nephi 1:11) and was answered by the miraculous sign of the birth of the Messiah, and event that ushered in a restoration of faith. Nephi prays again, and likely again expects a miracle that will restore his people’s faith in God.
Variant: In the Printer’s manuscript and the 1830 edition, this verse began: “And it came to pass that…” This introductory phrase was removed in the corrected Printer’s manuscript and all editions since 1837. (Book of Mormon Critical Text. FARMS 1987, 3:1019).