“Ye Must Watch and Pray Always”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

As important as prayer is, its protective and guiding influence is diminished unless it is coupled with vigilance, with “watching.” The doctrinal meaning of the word “watch,” in the context of praying always in order to resist temptations, implies more than observation. It means being on guard, being spiritually aware. Some erroneously believe that as long as they “say their prayers” God will “not suffer [them] to be tempted above that [they] are able” (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Certainly this was not the intent of Paul’s words. Adding the words of Alma to those of Paul helps us to better understand why watching must accompany praying. “And now, my brethren,” Alma said, “I wish front the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance; but that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering; having faith on the Lord; having .a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts” (Alma 13:27-29, italics added).

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4