I Have Fasted and Prayed Many Days – Alma 5:45-46

45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.
How did Alma the Younger gain a testimony of the gospel?  I think most of us would answer that question something like this:
He saw an angel who called him to repentance. That experience filled him with such terror that he fell into a coma for 2 days. After suffering greatly, he remembered his father’s teachings about the Savior. He cried out to Jesus for help, and immediately his pain was replaced by joy. After he came to, he testified to the people that he had been born again, and he worked hard to teach other people the gospel so that they could experience the same conversion he had experienced. (See Mosiah 27:11-37, Alma 36:6-24.)
That sounds to me like a solid basis for a testimony of the gospel. Yet here we find him, years later, telling the people of Zarahemla that he gained his testimony through sustained effort over a period of time: “Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself.”  When did he do all of that fasting and praying? Certainly not before he saw the angel.  He was busy trying to destroy the church back then! So he must have made this investment after his miraculous experience. Why would he need to work so hard to gain a testimony after all he had seen and felt?
I think the answer is this: No single experience, however dramatic or miraculous, can give you a deep and enduring testimony of the gospel.  If you want a strong testimony, you need to be willing to pay the price and proactively seek that knowledge through study, prayer, and fasting.  It won’t just come to you; you have to seek it.
Today, as I study the gospel and pray, I will recognize that my testimony continues to grow.  I will seek to know with more certainty and with more durability that He lives, that the gospel is true, and that through the miracle of the Atonement, we can all be saved and return to His presence.
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2 Responses to I Have Fasted and Prayed Many Days – Alma 5:45-46

  1. eric Kerr says:

    I really like the use of the word “durability” in reference to testimony. Certainty and a witness do not always translate to durability of testimony. As you allude to, durability of faith has more to do with the process of conversion than the event of testimony. Thanks for your insight.


  2. Pingback: Alma’s Sermon in Zarahemla – Alma 5 | Book of Mormon Study Notes

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