The Source of Power
In summary, the source of our power is Jesus Christ. When we need power, we must go to Him and rely upon that divine resource, His grace. To understand the meaning of this type of grace, we might insert “enabling and strengthening power” when we think of the word as we struggle with our trials.
Because of the Fall we are woefully powerless. We cannot make it alone. Jesus Christ is the single source of power in the universe. Only by entering into a covenant can we request His power to give us strength to do what otherwise would be impossible. When Nephi was bound by his brothers and rendered helpless (an interesting metaphor for mortality) he knew what to do and where to go to gain the power to change his circumstance. In 1 Nephi 7:17, we read, “O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.”
Nephi, did not pray for the Lord to eliminate his circumstances; rather, he prayed, asking that the power of the Atonement grant him strength to change his circumstances. Nephi knew that he had limited power, but he also knew that the Lord had infinite power. Because Nephi and the Lord were bound together by covenant, Nephi could tap into that higher power and change his situation.
Obviously, since Nephi asked for help, somewhere in the process, he must have done all he could to break the bands—remember, doing all you can do is what is required to obtain the Lord’s grace and power. Then the Lord added his power to Nephi’s effort, and the bands were broken. Nephi knew he could do all things “in the strength of the Lord.”[i]
The application is clear: If we desire the Lord’s power, we must pray for strength to change our situation rather than simply praying for our situation to be changed. There are times when the Lord will simply remove the burden, but most burdens are designed to strengthen our backs, as it were. Nonetheless, the Lord will add His power to ours after all we can do, and then we will have the power to act rather than be acted upon.[ii]
When a child goes astray, and we watch helplessly as he spiritually hemorrhages right before our eyes, we are not helpless—we can do something, after all. With confidence, we can take a place in Christ’s yoke, plead for His grace, and ultimately plead for the Atonement’s divine enabling and strengthening power to “change the circumstance.” Then, as we do all we can do, Christ will make up the difference. He may not completely remove the burden, for nothing trumps a child’s agency, but the Lord will give us power to change our view or better manage the circumstance, just as He did for Nephi.
Note: This article is adapted from Rescuing Wayward Children. Follow this link to learn more.
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[i] LDS Bible Dictionary, “Grace,” 697.
[ii] See 2 Nephi 25:23.
[iii] Nehemiah 9:18–21, emphasis added.
[iv] Luke 22:35.
[v] James 1:5.
[vi] See D&C 93:11.
[vii] See D&C 93:11–14.
[viii] Matthew 5:7.
[ix] Mark E. Petersen, Conference Report, October 1967, 67.
[x] Boyd K. Packer, “The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, January 1983, 54–55.
[xi] See D&C 93:11.
[xii] Gordon B. Hinckley, “Blessed Are the Merciful,” Ensign, May 1990.
[xiii] Matthew 11:28–30.
[xiv] Howard W. Hunter, “Come Unto Me,” Ensign, November 1990, 20.
[xv] Alma 37:44, 46, emphasis added.
[xvi] 1 Nephi 17:41.
[xvii] Ted Gibbons, “Take My Yoke Upon You,” Gospel Doctrine lesson at LDSLiving.com.
[xviii] Matthew 17:27.
[xix] See Matthew 26:51.
[xx] Matthew 11:29.
[xxi] Alma 18:21
[xxii] See Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, 4:1–30.
[xxiii] Boyd K. Packer, “Washed Clean,” Ensign, May 1997, 10.
[xxiv] Matthew 11:28–29
[xxv] Alma 36:27.
[xxvi] Mosiah 9:17.
[xxvii] See 2 Nephi 2:14.