There Was a Great Calm – 1 Nephi 18:21

You can read 1 Nephi 18:21 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

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?

Night to Day
Prayer will change the night to day.

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.

2 thoughts on “There Was a Great Calm – 1 Nephi 18:21

  1. susanne3n

    I find great comfort in the realization that my Heavenly Father wants to bless me, especially when I pray. I wish I were better at knowing how and what to pray for! For years I’ve felt as if I’m not doing it ‘right’, yet I keep on trying. When I’ve had the thought to give up on prayer, for whatever reason(s), somehow I just can’t.

    Recently I’ve increased the frequency of gratitude in my prayers, which has been a good thing, a very good thing. Whether I feel like my prayers are being answered the way I hope for, or not, I find comfort in acknowledging my Heavenly Father and not fussing too much about it. I feel as if He hears the yearning of my heart even when I don’t express it well, and that those yearnings are fulfilled in subtle (and oftentimes long term) ways.

    I guess it’s all about what Nephi was doing . . . never stop. Always turn to the Lord in humility and invite Him to be part of your life.

    1. Thanks Susanne I know what you mean – it sometimes feels like it can be hard to get praying “right.” and I confess that praying has been a weakness for me in the past.

      I think that we need to find what really works for us personally – based on our own circumstances, personality, etc. – And then apply this to prayer. For example, I know that traditionally, people talk about praying the second you wake up – let your knees hit the floor and pray.

      I like praying first thing in the morning, but my brain just is slow at that time. I take a few minutes to really wake up. Like several minutes. Like at least 45 minutes or so.

      So right now, I just express a quick prayer of gratitude because I do want to think of God, but this isn’t really where I am “praying.” And when I try to really get into my prayers in the morning, i tend to lose focus and sometimes even get frustrated or depressed.

      I have found I need to kind of round up my thoughts first.

      Somewhat on accident, I have found that my prayers are MUCH better when I do something physical first. So, in the morning, I go for a walk. Then I come home and do some yoga. After the finish of yoga, I don’t change, I don’t take a shower. I spend another 10 minutes or so praying and then just sitting in stillness. It seems that after the focused and physical work of yoga, I’m able to get my brain in the right state for a meaningful prayer.

      Since doing this, prayer has changed dramatically for me – it is more of a conduit of revelation, and I finally feel like I’m “all there.” I have come to experience something that is more like communing with God – rather than making requests.

      But it takes so much time and patience. This is what is really working for me. Finding a way to physically coax myself into a meditative state. As I said, doing some exercise is what works for me. Other ideas might be doing dishes, shower, or other things that kind of get our minds to relax and be open to other wavelengths of communication… 🙂

      Anyway – I love what you said though – showing gratitude and consistency. Above all, I really think that those are he keys to prayer!!!

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