14 And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.
Why do we forget to pray? It seems logical that people who have a conviction that God answers prayers, who have in fact received answers to prayers in the past, and who realize that they need God’s help, would be highly motivated to follow the Lord’s admonition to “pray always” (Luke 21:36).
As we saw yesterday, the brother of Jared had experienced multiple answers to prayer and knew firsthand that the Lord would answer him when he asked for help. After being spared from having their language confounded at the tower of Babel, Jared and his brother, as well as their friends and families, were led into the wilderness until they arrived at a location by the sea. Although Moroni doesn’t describe the place in detail, it seems clear that the climate was mild and that they had ready access to food and other necessities. He doesn’t say anything about building houses or other permanent structures. Instead, he tells us that they “dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years” (Ether 2:13). They were comfortable, but they weren’t progressing. And apparently, during that time, Jared and his brother felt no need to reach out to God in prayer.
What a wake-up call this three-hour conversation with the Lord must have been! We don’t know what prompted the conversation, but somehow the Lord was able to get the attention of the brother of Jared and admonish him for failing to reach out to him in prayer for such a long period of time. I’m thinking that this three-hour rebuke was sufficiently memorable for him. I suspect that he never again allowed his communication with God to lapse.
Modern prophets have urged us to pray regularly. For example, consider the following counsel from the manual For the Strength of Youth:
To help you become all that the Lord wants you to become, kneel each morning and night in prayer to your Father in Heaven. Express to Him your gratitude and the desires of your heart. He is the source of all wisdom. He will hear and answer your prayers (“Go Forward with Faith,” For the Strength of Youth, 2011).
Today, I will remember to reach out to my Heavenly Father in prayer. I will thank Him for my blessings and I will also ask him for guidance and support. Even when things seem to be going well in my life, I will recognize my need for Him. I will “remember…to call upon the name of the Lord.”