40 And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?
41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.
42 And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.
How much do you have to know about God in order to pray meaningfully? As we read a couple of days ago, Lamoni’s father prayed to God even though he was unsure whether He existed. In the passage above, a group of Lamanites prays to a voice they have heard, begging to be rescued from a cloud of darkness which surrounds them, impairing both their vision and their mobility. (See Helaman 5:28, 34). There are a couple of references to God in the verses immediately preceding this passage. Nevertheless, when Aminadab tells them to pray, he doesn’t say, “Cry unto God.” He says, “Cry unto the voice.” What did these Lamanites know about the voice that they had heard, and how did that knowledge prepare them to exercise faith in Jesus Christ?
- The voice was both quiet and powerful. “It was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul…and notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly” (Helaman 5:30-31).
- The voice had called on them to change. Twice, they heard the voice say, “Repent ye, repent ye” (Helaman 5:29, 32).
- The voice had defended the weak and the vulnerable. Nephi and Lehi “had been cast into prison many days without food,” and the Lamanites had come to the prison to kill them (Helaman 5:22). The voice commanded them twice to “seek no more to destroy my servants,” referring to Nephi and Lehi (Helaman 5:29, 32).
- The voice could do things that were beyond the capability of humans. The third time they heard the voice, it “did speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man” (Helaman 5:33).
- The voice had not yet rescued them. Hearing the voice alone wasn’t enough to save them (Helaman 5:31).
In short, they knew that the source of this voice was powerful enough to save them, was loving and kind, and expected them to do something. That knowledge was enough for them to begin to pray with the right attitude in order to be rescued from the cloud of darkness. Like Enos and Alma the Younger, in their desperation, they were ready to do their part–to pray with sufficient desire and faith–in order to receive God’s deliverance. (See Enos 1:3-4, Alma 36:17-19).
Today, I will remember what this group of Lamanites learned about God in this experience: that He loves me, that He has the ability to save me, and that He expects me to repent and turn to Him in order to access His power. I will pray with faith in Christ for His help to overcome the challenges I currently face.