4 And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.
(2 Nephi 33:4)
Nephi told us a few chapters earlier that “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). Now, in the final chapter of his writings, he shows us how he relies on God’s grace in his daily life. After testifying that the words he has written are true, he laments that many people will fail to recognize their worth and will reject them (2 Nephi 33:1-2). Then, he describes his heartfelt prayers on behalf of his people (2 Nephi 33:3).
Now, he expresses his confidence that God will answer those prayers. He has done what he could do: he has written words intended to bring people to Christ, and he has prayed for his people. Now he must rely on the grace of God, to consecrate those prayers and to make his words strong and persuasive.
Moroni taught us that, if we come unto Christ, He will “make weak things become strong unto [us]” (Ether 12:27). I’ve always interpreted that to mean that He will make us better and stronger than we were before, and I still believe that’s true. But Nephi’s words in the verse above suggest a different interpretation: Even though I’m not any stronger than I was before, the things I do, the words I write, and the prayers I offer will have far more power because of the magnifying influence of the grace of God.
This practical understanding of grace has the virtue of motivating us to action. In spite of our shortcomings, our limited knowledge, and the risks of failure, we are willing to do our part, believing that God’s grace will make up the difference between our humble offering and the contribution that is actually needed.
As my friend Christine Gilbert taught at a devotional address at BYU Idaho, we can apply this principle specifically to the callings we receive from the Lord:
Whether it was the young Joseph Smith called to restore the gospel, David to defeat Goliath, or Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, it is not the greatness of the man or woman, but their willingness to rise to the call that leads to power in the Lord. When we look up and truly understand the call the Lord is extending and let go of our self-focus, the Lord will empower us and make us mighty in His hands.
1. Look up and accept the call
2. Let go of the things that would hold you back
3. Seek for enabling power from the Lord
4. Recognize the source of that power
(“Rise to the Call,” President Clark G. Gilbert and Sister Christine C. Gilbert, BYU Idaho, April 21, 2015)
Today, I will follow Nephi’s example and trust in the grace of God. I will fulfill the callings I’ve been given to the best of my ability, knowing that the Savior can magnify those efforts and make up the difference between my abilities and what is truly needed. I will pray for those I serve, trusting that the Lord will consecrate those prayers and help them receive the blessings they need.