“They Did Not Multiply Many Words”

Brant Gardner

The twelve are apparently gathered together so that Jesus can come to them. Once again, they are praying directly to him as their Messiah. Although they continue to pray, “they did not multiply many words.” This description does not apparently refer to “vain repetitions” or the “much words” against which Jesus had counseled the multitude (3 Ne. 13:7). The record is not describing a contrasting order of prayer but simply emphasizing that “it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire.” It is their desire, not their words, that constitutes the focus of their prayers. Paul taught the Romans: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26). These twelve do not have “many words,” but they do have a tremendous desire that perhaps forms the unutterable part of their prayer.

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