Power of God Provides Credibility (Alma 18)
Alma 18 continues the story of the missionary effort of Ammon (one of the four sons of Mosiah) among a group of Lamanites under the rule of a king named Lamoni. In the previous chapter, Ammon had singlehandedly defeated a group of men who were attacking the flocks of Lamoni. In a memorable episode, Ammon cut off the arms of the attackers, thereby preserving the king's flocks and saving the lives of his fellow servants who would have otherwise been executed for failing in their duty to the king.
When King Lamoni hears this amazing story, he calls for Ammon but doesn't even know what to say to him. Being filled with the Spirit of God, Ammon states the exact thoughts of the king regarding this meeting, and Lamoni is even more amazed.
Ammon is given the opportunity to speak plainly to the king, and he proceeds to describe who God is and that it is through the power of God that he has been able to do what he has done. Ammon goes on to relate the plan of redemption, including the coming of Christ, and the king believes all of his words. The chapter ends with King Lamoni being overcome with the Spirit and falling to the earth as if dead, remaining in that condition for two full days.
Why was the Lamanite king willing to listen to Ammon? Was it because Ammon was famous (he wasn't) or because he was highly educated (not likely) or because he was saying things that validated the king's behavior (obviously not)? On the contrary, Ammon was from the hated Nephite race; he was serving as a simple servant; he was telling the king he had to repent of his sins. Yet, the king listened and believed. Why? Because the power of God clearly accompanied Ammon, giving his message credibility.
The Church of Jesus Christ has a message for the world today, but we face severe challenges. Famous people say our message is wrong. People who are viewed as being highly educated do not agree with our message. There are even parts of our message — a restored gospel, the Book of Mormon — that other Christian faiths do not agree with. And, of course, our message does not validate the behavior of many people; rather, it calls upon them to repent of their sins and live their lives according to the Word of God.
So, how can we convince people of our message or even get them to listen? Only by being able to demonstrate that the power of God is with us.
Read the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. Elijah stood alone against 450 prophets of a different faith. Two altars were built, and the prophets of Baal prayed all day long for their god to burn the sacrifice, but nothing happened. Elijah then offered one prayer, and fire came down from heaven, consuming both altars in a spectacular display of the power of God. No further discussion was necessary — it was clear whose position was the correct one.
OK, so the power of God provides credibility. How do we get it (or more of it since we do see it from time to time)? Pray. Fast and pray. Ask for it by name. Tell the Lord you desire to see more of the power of God associated with our prayer requests — in our Church meetings and in all aspects of our lives. Ask Him to provide it such that it will be a convincing power to the world.
This is a daily prayer of mine — can it be yours? The more of us who bring this before the Lord, the more we will move the arm of God.
As time goes by, we will increasingly come under fire for our message — we'll hear that it's not politically correct, it's intolerant, it's out of touch with contemporary values, etc. It will be great if the same people saying this then have to admit, "Yes, but look what happens when they pray." No further discussion necessary.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.