After hearing the arrogant and exclusive prayer of the wealthy Zoramites, in which they congratulated themselves on being better than other people (Alma 31:15-18), Alma offered his own prayer, pleading that he and his companions would be successful in bringing others closer to God (Alma 31:26-35). In the middle of that prayer, Alma acknowledged his own inability to do what God wanted him to do:
O Lord, wilt thou give me strength, that I may bear with mine infirmities. For I am infirm, and such wickedness among this people doth pain my soul (Alma 31:30).
“Infirm” means weak or feeble in body or mind, irresolute, not solid or stable (Websters 1828 Dictionary).
Two things are remarkable about this plea:
- Alma asks God to help him “bear with [his] infirmities.” It’s so easy to give up when we feel we are not up to the task. Alma knows that the Lord wants him to persist in this ministry, and so he asks God to help him not give up.
- Alma says, “I am infirm.” This humble and decisive statement places him in a position to receive God’s strengthening power.
Alma later counseled his son Shiblon, “Acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times” (Alma 38:14).
Alma had a role model for this kind of humble reliance on God. King Benjamin, the grandfather of Alma’s close friends, the sons of Mosiah, had reminded his people near the end of his life that he was “subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind” and that he had been “kept and preserved by [God’s] matchless power” (Mosiah 2:11).
Today, I will acknowledge my infirmities. I will plead with God to help me carry on and accomplish His work in spite of them.