An Instrument in the Hands of God – Alma 17:9-12

9 And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct.
10 And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted.
11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.
12 And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God.
The basic storyline in these verses is simple: the sons of Mosiah pray for strength to be effective missionaries, and the Lord answers their prayers. I’m interested in the details: what they prayed for and how the Lord responded.
Mormon tells us first that the sons of Mosiah fasted and prayed for the following:

  1. To have a portion of his Spirit with them.
  2. To be an instrument in His hands.
  3. To bring the Lamanites to a knowledge of the truth.
They knew that they would only be successful as missionaries if they were following the guidance of the Lord. They recognized that they would need the guidance of the Holy Ghost in order to act as “instruments” in God’s hands rather than trying to do the work their way. They were approaching their mission in a humble and submissive way.
The Lord’s response to their prayers is interesting. First, He tells them to be comforted. Only after their anxieties have been calmed will they be able to receive the following advice:
  1. Go among the Lamanites, and teach.
  2. Be patient, because you will experience some challenges.
  3. The patience you show in response to adversity will be noticed. Your good examples will enable you to be an instrument in my hands.
Mormon tells us that their hearts took courage after receiving these promises from the Lord.
Today, I will remember that missionary work is the Lord’s work. The only way we can do it successfully is by humbling ourselves and seeking to be instruments in His hands. Along the way, we will encounter resistance, criticism, and other forms of adversity. I will remember that the way I choose to respond to adversity may be as important as the words I say in influencing the people I teach. 
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