They Cry Unto Thee, and Yet… – Alma 31:27

27 Behold, O God, they cry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are puffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the world.

In Alma 31, we read two prayers: one ineffective and the other effective. The first prayer is recited by each of the Zoramites in their synagogue, one at a time. The second prayer is offered by the prophet Alma after he observes the prayer of the Zoramites. Here are some principles I have learned by contrasting the two prayers:

Prayer of the Zoramites
Alma’s Prayer
1. We ought to tell Heavenly Father what we think and how we feel rather than recite a memorized set of words.
“Every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.” (verse 20)
Alma “lifted up his voice to heaven, and cried, saying…” (verse 26)
2. We ought to express concern and love for other people, recognizing that God loves all of His children.
“Thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee.” (verse 17)
“Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.” (verse 35)
3. Instead of assuming that God expects nothing from us, we ought to ask for His help in doing His work.
“We believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children.” (verse 16)
“O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.” (verse 34)
4. We ought to be humble as we pray and acknowledge our weaknesses.
“And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen.” (verse 18)
“O Lord, wilt thou give me strength, that I may bear with mine infirmities. For I am infirm, and such wickedness among this people doth pain my soul.” (verse 30)

Today, as I pray, I will follow Alma’s example. I will share the feelings of my heart. I will express love toward others. I will ask for His help in doing His will. And I will be humble.
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