Context and General Information
- After Laman and Lemuel loosed Nephi, he took the Liahona, and it began to work again. The Lord also answered Nephi’s prayer – the winds and storm ceased and there was a great calm.
There Was a Great Calm
We have been studying 1 Nephi 18 which details the journey of Lehi and his family – on the ship to the promised land.
In case you might need a refresher, when Lehi and his family first boarded the boat from Bountiful (on the Arabian Peninsula), things were going well. They were driven forth before the winds – on a course to the promised land.
Then, of course, Laman and Lemuel forgot God. They ignored the commandments. They got raucous. Nephi was compelled by the Spirit to talk to them. There was no time (or margin of error) for an open rebellion against God while out on the Ocean. (We can guess – they were either in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific Ocean…not where you want to be in a major storm).
Laman and Lemuel were so hard in their hearts, they didn’t care about rebelling against God while on the open ocean! (Can you tell that I really can’t get over this fact! Anger and wickedness makes us so irrational!) They tied up Nephi for days, and it was only with the real threat of death that they finally repented and untied Nephi. This is where we read what happened next:
“And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.” – 1 Nephi 18:21
The winds, the storm, the danger didn’t stop immediately. First Nephi prayed.
I love the chorus of the familiar hymn:
“Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.” – Did You Think to Pray?
There is so much hope in that refrain. There is so much hope in the power of prayer, and yet – I consistently underestimate it. I have experienced the power and miracle of prayer! And yet, I forget. I leave my room in the morning, forgetting to pray.
I forget to pray!
It was one thing for Nephi to pray while in the middle of the storm. That makes sense. But then he was untied. The Liahona started working again. It seems like Nephi could have just steered himself out of there. He didn’t need to pray again – to ask for another blessing.
But Nephi did. He prayed unto the Lord.
What do you suppose Nephi prayed for? I can’t say that I know. But here are a few things that I know about prayer:
Jesus Pleads with us to pray
When Jesus visited the Nephites in the Americas (the promised land), he stated:
Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;” – 3 Nephi 18:19
Jesus Promises to Answer Our Prayers
After teaching the people to pray, Jesus continued:
“And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.” – 3 Nephi 18:20
Not only has the Savior invited us to pray, but he tells of the benefit of prayer. When we ask God for blessings (that are good and right), in the name of Christ, and believing that we will receive – then it will be given unto us!
What did Nephi pray about? Not sure, but I’m going to guess that he asked for the storm to cease. They had been suffering for days. Though the Liahona was working, they were still at great risk of death. We have to speculate here, but I think it is okay to imagine that Nephi prayed gratitude that Laman and Lemuel had repented, gratitude that the Liahona was working, and a request – that the winds and storm would cease.
After Nephi uttered his prayer, the winds and storm ceased. There was a great calm.
This brings me so much peace and hope right now. I have experienced my own trials and storms. I often feel “tossed about” by the storms and winds of my life. It is easy for me to get caught up in these feelings – and get a little anxious and scared.
I feel hope by Nephi’s story because he prayed, and the Lord granted “a great calm.”
It’s interesting to note – they were still at sea. They had not yet been delivered. There were still miles to go. They would still be in the ocean for “the space of many days.” Though they were still in the wilderness of their affliction, they had been blessed to simultaneously feel “a great calm.”
The Lord may not always deliver us from our challenges, but we can feel calm and comfort even as we traverse the “oceans” in our lives.
I’m so grateful for the lessons that we learn in the Book of Mormon.