“And They Did Pray Unto Jesus Calling Him Their Lord and Their God”

Brant Gardner

The first instruction to the assembled body on this second day is that they kneel and pray. This is an interesting contrast to the first day when the praying ended the session. Even though there were more people on this day, it is still probable that the majority were there on the previous day. Even had they not been, the experience that they would have communicated as they gathered relatives would have prepared those new people for the experience of being in the presence of the Savior. Thus it was appropriate to pick up with the spiritual atmosphere that ended the previous day.

We should note that while the Lord instructs the people to pray, he does not tell them what to pray about. While it is absolutely certain that are prayers may have a topic, or perhaps requests of the Lord, it is also important to understand that prayer can go beyond words and beyond meanings. Alma instructed on prayer:

Alma 34:27

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.

For Alma, even when prayer is not formal, or verbal, the heart can be in the attitude of prayer, an attitude of righteous yearning for the things of God. It is this type of prayer that was commanded. Each person would find their own needs, topics, or requests, but the command in this case was not to ask but rather to pray. The Lord asks the people to pray so that their hearts and minds might be put into the proper receptive frame to receive the message he would impart.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon