This Long Time – Ether 1:41-43

41 Go to and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind; and thy families; and also Jared thy brother and his family; and also thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families.
42 And when thou hast done this thou shalt go at the head of them down into the valley which is northward. And there will I meet thee, and I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth.
43 And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth. And thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me.
(Ether 1:41-43)

The Bible Dictionary teaches that “prayer is a form of work” and that “blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them” (“Prayer,” Bible Dictionary). It seems reasonable, then, that some blessings require more prayer than others, either in the form of longer prayers or of more prayers over a longer period of time.

The Savior taught this principle in several of His parables, including the parable of the importunate widow, in which a wealthy man granted a widow’s heartfelt request only after she had made the request many times.  In summary, He asked His disciples, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke 18:7)

In the passage above, Moroni quotes the Lord speaking to the brother of Jared in answer to his prayer. Moroni doesn’t tell us how long the brother of Jared prayed, but he does tell us that great blessings were given because the brother of Jared prayed for a long time.

Why does the length of a prayer matter? It can’t be that the Lord is slow to change His mind. “The object of prayer is not to change the will of God.” (Bible Dictionary). Instead, maybe it takes us time for us to align ourselves with God sufficiently to receive the blessings we are asking for.

Today, I will pray a little longer than I did yesterday. I will put a little more thought into the blessings I ask for, and I will ask a little more intently. I will stay on my knees a little longer, working to align my will more fully with God’s will so that I can receive the blessings He desires to give me.

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One Response to This Long Time – Ether 1:41-43

  1. Pingback: Lessons from the Writings of Moroni | Book of Mormon Study Notes

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