Monday, August 26, 2019 0 comments

Paul’s Prayers for the Romans

9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. (Romans 1:9-13)

These verses hit me as I was starting to read through Romans a few weeks ago. It seems Paul had prayed long and hard that he’d be able to visit the Roman Saints to use his spiritual gifts for them. It is interesting to realize that this prayer was indeed answered, though it took years and Paul had to endure years of imprisonment and dangerous journeys to do it. The last two verses of Acts record that after having reached Rome, Paul lived there for two years, preaching and teaching the gospel.

The Lord answers prayers, sometimes taking years, but He answers them. It’s a serious thing to realize that determined, diligent prayers will be answered. One has to think carefully about what would be most important to prayer for.      What will we pray for without ceasing?
Sunday, August 11, 2019 0 comments

King Lamoni’s prayer for mercy

And he began to cry unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, have mercy; according to thy abundant mercy which thou hast had upon the people of Nephi, have upon me, and my people. (Alma 18:41)

From this verse of prayer it is possible to tell some of the things Lamoni was taught by Ammon, even though the essential elements are only touched on by Moron who abridged the account.

“O Lord, have mercy” – Lamoni had to have been taught about 1) the plan of redemption and 2) about the Lord’s abundant mercy, such that he would feel inspired to ask for mercy.

“According to thy abundant mercy which thou hast had upon the people of Nephi, have upon me, and my people” – Lamoni had to have been taught about all the ways the Lord had had mercy upon the Nephites insomuch that he desired that for his own people. And it is most likely that he was taught about the intermediary role that the high priest (or high priestly king) played in pleading for the people, because he immediately assumes that role by interceding for his own people as well as pleading for himself.

One of the important principles all people have to learn in order to have the courage to ask for forgiveness for their sins is concerning the abundant mercy of God. Without this, we wouldn’t have the confidence to ask for Him to have mercy on us. This confidence is best built by hearing how the Lord has had mercy on others, particularly those who were in a worse case. (This is partly Ammon and his brethren were such great missionaries. They had been in an awful state, and the Lord had mercy on them, so they shared that, so that all those in similar states could trust that they could obtain mercy too.)

Let’s work on noticing the mercies that the Lord has bestowed on us and tell others about them.

Sunday, August 4, 2019 0 comments

Stephen’s wonders and miracles

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. (Acts 6:8)

I think this is an interesting verse, especially because of its brevity. I wonder why it didn’t go into detail about what these wonders and miracles were that Stephen did. If it was healing, it probably would have said so. If it were teaching, it probably would have said something like what it says about the apostles, that he spoke the word with boldness and many believed because of the Spirit. So it had to be something that he did that was wondrous and miraculous.

Since Stephen and six others had been appointed to oversee the daily ministration of charity to the widows and others in need (see Acts 6:1-6), it is very likely that he was guided by the Spirit to those who particularly needed help…and who probably were reluctant to ask for it.  (We all know people like that, don’t we? We might be those kind of people too…)   So when the Spirit directed Stephen to give something to someone who turned out to need it, his ministry would have been a wonder and a miracle to them. It would have showed them that the Lord knew their situation and desired to succor them. His ministry would have demonstrated the Lord’s tender mercies.

It would take faith to carry out that kind of ministry, to follow the spiritual promptings to help someone who might look like they are doing okay, and only later find out that the service and help given was exactly what was needed.

It still takes faith to do that kind of ministry.
Friday, August 2, 2019 0 comments

Nifty New Resource: The Scriptures, Mapped

If you’re having troubles getting an idea of where the stories happen in the Old and New Testaments, have a look at this new online resource called The Scriptures, Mapped.

Suppose you’re reading in Acts 20 and aren’t sure where Troas or Philippi are in verses 5-6. You can go to this resource, find Acts 20, and click on the highlighted names and it will show you on the map where they are.  In fact, when you open Acts 20, you can see on the map all the locations that are named in that chapter.

So. Cool.