turn to the Lord
Week 30 is scheduled for study July 22-28, 2024. What a wonderful week! Alma teaches us all about prayer, faith, revelation, and the importance of turning to the Lord now.

Day 1

Alma 32:17-43 – I exercise faith in Jesus Christ by planting and nourishing His word in my heart.

I needed to rethink my understanding of Alma 32, so I ended up writing an article that helped me make better sense of Alma’s explanation of faith and belief. I recommend you read it here.

Alma 32 – An Explanation

Day 2

Alma 32:26-43 – I can know for myself.

Have you ever wondered how God can make Himself known to us? What does it take for it to happen? Are there conditions that must be met in order for Him to speak to us? Alma 32:27 outlines the most basic conditions under which God can work with us to teach us.

27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. (Emphasis added)

At the very least we must have some kind of desire to know about Him. Without this basic and least of qualifications He cannot enter our life and teach us anything. His laws specify that it is we who must seek Him. In order for us to return home to live with God it is we who must pursue Him. He does not pursue us, for that would violate our agency. Just as Satan entices us to do evil, so God entices us to do good. Neither of them can force themself on us. In either event it is we who must make that first choice to choose our desired direction toward good or evil.

When we are willing, because of our desire to discover the truth about God, to try the virtue (goodness) of His word to see if it lives up to His promises, that is when we are prepared to allow Him into our heart. This is what it means when Alma says we need to “give place for a portion of my words.” We must be willing to experiment with God’s word to see if it produces within us what He promises it will. The initial experiment can be about almost anything, but usually it is about something simple, like whether God is real, or does He answer my prayers, or does He love me, and so forth.

The question isn’t so important as the process of the experiment, for all of these questions are answered in the same way. God operates off our desires and willingness to try Him and to prove Him. He is anxious to demonstrate to us that He keeps His word. If you haven’t read the article I linked to in Day 1 then this is a great time to do so. It explains the process of proving God and receiving answers. The important point here is that all of God’s children can receive answers from God and communicate with Him. He loves us all equally, and the whole point of mortality is to help us come home once again. And for that we each need His guidance.

Day 3

Alma 33:2-11; 34:17-29 – I can worship God in prayer, anytime and anywhere.

One of the great lies engaged by Satan is that the worship of God is very restrictive and selective. He would put all kinds of conditions and situations on worship that prevent us from believing that God is open to any of His children at any time, day or night, and in any place. The Zoramites taught that you had to be the right social class in order to pray and worship, because those of the undesirable social class were evicted from the places of worship. Those evicted were taught that they could not worship God, because they didn’t have the trappings (Rameumptom) with which to worship. They were also under the impression that they needed a building of worship in order to pray to God.

The essence of Alma’s preaching to them was to enlighten them with the words of the prophets who taught of the universal availability of God to His children. We are encouraged to pray in our private and secret places, our homes, fields, places of worship, and wherever we may find ourselves. Our Father in Heaven is anxious to hear from us and makes Himself available for us at all times.

The power of prayer is that it creates the opportunities for revelation. When we learn how to seek out our Father in Heaven, and when we learn how to ask the right kind of questions, He teaches us how to listen for His answers. Over time, and with lots of practice, we come to learn to feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the thoughts and feelings He would place in our heart and mind. God is very desirous for us to seek Him out so we can learn this process. It is through this process that we come to the knowledge of what the Spirit wants us to do next in order to further the process of our salvation.

It is important for us to understand and believe that God places no limitations or constrictions on our right and on the desirability of us communicating with Him. He wants to hear from all of His children each and every day.

Day 4

Alma 34:9-16 – I need Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Tad R. Callister, former Sunday School General President said this in a General Conference address:

President George Q. Cannon taught: “No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to … give gifts that will eradicate [our weaknesses]. … If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect.”

In summary, the Savior’s Atonement gives us life for death, “beauty for ashes,” healing for hurt, and perfection for weakness. It is heaven’s antidote to the obstacles and struggles of this world.

As the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus created all that exists in our universe. Because of the payment he made in performing his atoning sacrifice he is now able to exalt all that has been created and can be exalted. There is nothing beyond his reach and his ability to redeem. Here is another quote from that same General Conference address:

Truman G. Madsen made this comforting observation:

“If there are some of you who have been tricked into the conviction that you have gone too far, … that you have had the poison of sin which makes it impossible ever again to be what you could have been—then hear me.

“I bear testimony that you cannot sink farther than the light and sweeping intelligence of Jesus Christ can reach. I bear testimony that as long as there is one spark of the will to repent and to reach, he is there. He did not just descend to your condition; he descended below it, ‘that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth.’ [Doctrine and Covenants 88:6.]”

Day 5

Alma 34:30-41 – Now is the time and the day of your salvation.

It has been my experience that many people get upset when you hint for them to stop playing around and enjoying what mortality has to offer and get serious about living the gospel and planning for the eternities ahead. I’ve been told I’m boring, a stick in the mud, no fun at all, and many other names. There seems to be this perception that to take repentance seriously is to become a lifeless automaton and a hater of all that is fun.

Interestingly enough, it is repentance that spares us from the suffering of sin in our lives. True joy is the result of repentance, not indulgence. Here is Alma 34:32-35.

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

To put off repenting is like agreeing to a balloon payment on your house. How many people who don’t have to make strict monthly payments that require sacrifice to keep their possession actually do what is needed so when the balloon payment is due they have the needed payment? Most don’t. As a result they lose their home, or car, or whatever it is they had the balloon payment on. In the verses above Alma is talking about those who think repenting is like a balloon payment to God. He s warning us that it is dangerous for us to think this way. We need to be doing all in our power today to prepare for the day our reckoning comes so we have nothing to worry about.

God doesn’t want to deny us having fun. His concern is that forever is a really long time, and He wants us to be prepared for it. Our ultimate happiness depends how well we have prepared for it during our short time on earth.

Personal Study

Prayer and revelation

It may be difficult to imagine that something as simple as prayer is one of the most powerful tools used in our efforts to return to God. Remember that every child of God needs to be able to do it, and do it effectively in order for them to prepare themselves to return to God. This tool our Father uses is the simplest method of communication there is. He can listen to us anywhere we are, at anytime we choose to talk to Him. He can read the thoughts and intents of our heart if we are having difficulty expressing our self. God can even tell if we are being sincere or just repetitive in our prayer.

Our emotional state doesn’t affect God’s ability to understand us and know what we mean. On His end of the communication the understanding is perfect. Any flaws in interpretation of intent are on our end. When God speaks to us it can come as emotions, feelings, words, even music. There are so many ways for Him to send us a message that it is difficult to comprehend that He will use whatever method is likely to have the greatest impact on our thinking and feeling.

Here is a small conversation President Russell M. Nelson had with some youth about prayer and revelation.

Click the link below to

print a PDF copy of the article.

BoM30-2024 – Plant This Word in Your Hearts