“Pray Unto Jesus, Calling Him Their Lord and Their God”

Brant Gardner

Jesus’s first instruction was that the multitude, including the twelve, kneel and pray, in contrast to the first day when prayer ended the session. Even though more people were in attendance on this second day, probably the majority had been present on the first day. Even those present for the first time would have heard the details of the visit from their relatives and would have been prepared for the Savior’s presence. Thus, prayer was appropriate in continuing the spiritual atmosphere that had ended the previous day.

It is perhaps significant that, although the Lord instructs the people to pray, he does not tell them what to pray about. Certainly our prayers can and should deal with specific topics, including requests; but it is also important to understand that prayer can go beyond words and beyond meanings. Alma had instructed: “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” (Alma 34:27). In other words, even when prayer is not formal, or verbal, the heart can be in an attitude of prayer or righteous yearning for the things of God. Each person on this second day would pray for his or her own needs, topics, or requests. The Lord asks the people to pray so that their hearts and minds would be ready to receive his message.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5