Thou Art Merciful, O God – Alma 33:4-11

4 For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me.
5 Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me.
6 And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer.
7 And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me.
8 Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou wilt hear them.
9 Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations.
10 Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been cast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst visit them in thine anger with speedy destruction.
11 And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son.

Alma quotes this prayer from the scriptures to teach the people how they should worship God. Here are a few things we can learn from Zenos’s prayer:
  1. We need to approach Heavenly Father in a spirit of humility. To pray is to acknowledge our weakness and our need for God’s help. It doesn’t do us a lot of good to be arrogant or self-righteous when we speak to our Creator. Zenos says, “Thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity.”
  2. We can pray in many settings: specifically in our fields (while we’re at work), in the midst of the congregation (at church), in our homes (with our families), and in our closets (in private). In the next chapter, Amulek elaborates on this point, exhorting the people to pray in all of these places (Alma 34:17-27).
  3. We can pray when we are “cast out” and “despised,” and he will hear us.
  4. God wants us to pray to Him, not to be heard of men. Our public prayers should be as sincere as our private ones.
  5. Heavenly Father has mercy upon us because of the Atonement. No wonder that we offer all of our prayers to him in the name of Jesus Christ. It is because of God’s Son that our prayers can be answered.
Today as I pray, I will remember the importance of humility and sincerity. I will remember that my afflictions can put me in the appropriate frame of mind to receive God’s mercy. I will be grateful for the mercy that I receive from my Heavenly Father because of His Son.
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