After requesting much-needed provisions and reinforcements from the government, and after waiting many months for a response, Helaman’s armies finally received an embarrassingly small shipment of food, delivered by a small number of additional troops. Helaman began to worry that he wouldn’t even be able to retain control of the cities they had reclaimed (Alma 58:4-9).
Under these precarious circumstances, Helaman and his soldiers “poured out [their] souls in prayer to God.” They implored God to do two things:
- “Strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies”
- “Give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people” (Alma 58:10)
In response, they received the following blessings:
The Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him (Alma 58:11, bold added).
As I’ve thought today about what Helaman requested vs. what he received, I’ve been thinking about my own prayers. Helaman’s prayers were focused on outcomes. God’s blessings were focused on his spiritual state of mind and heart, which would enable him to achieve those outcomes. I usually pray for desired outcomes, and God may be answering me by sending the spiritual capabilities I need to achieve those outcomes.
Elder David A. Bednar gave some examples of this principle:
Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals. And when we plead for relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, He may increase our resolve and resilience.
Today, I will strive to recognize the God’s blessings. I will remember that, like Helaman, I may not immediately see the outcomes I have prayed for, but I may receive blessings which empower me to achieve those outcomes over time.