The events recorded in 3 Nephi 11–18 all took place during one day. At the conclusion of that day, news of the Savior’s visit and of His returning the next day spread among the people, and they “did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude” (3 Nephi 19:3). In the morning, the twelve disciples taught the people and prayed with them. Nephi then baptized the twelve disciples, and they received the Holy Ghost and were encircled by angels. During this manifestation, Jesus Christ appeared and commanded the disciples to pray, and He also prayed to the Father on behalf of the multitude. Because of their faith, the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost. They were purified, and they became one with the Father and the Son.
Imagine how you might feel and what you might do if you knew that tomorrow Jesus Christ would be coming to a temple some distance from you. How hard would you try to get there? Would you want to bring other people with you? What would you do to prepare for this experience?
Read 3 Nephi 19:1–3, looking for the Nephites’ response to the Savior’s promise that He would return the next day. After the multitude gathered, the twelve disciples divided the multitude into twelve groups and began to teach them. They instructed the multitude to kneel in prayer and taught them the same truths the Savior had taught the previous day. (See 3 Nephi 19:4–7.)
Read 3 Nephi 19:8–9, and answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What did the disciples most desire? From your experience, why is the gift of the Holy Ghost so desirable?
The twelve disciples were going to direct the affairs of the Church in the Americas after the Savior left. Why was it essential that they have the Holy Ghost to guide them?
After you have completed your scripture study journal assignment, ponder these questions: What are a few things that you most desire when you pray? How often do you pray for the Holy Ghost?
Read 3 Nephi 19:10–12, and look for what the disciples did after they had prayed. The baptism described in verses 10–12 was the second baptism for the twelve disciples. The Church had been established for many years among the Nephites, and these priesthood brethren would have previously been baptized, even though their first baptism is not recorded in the scriptures. This second baptism was a special circumstance, as explained by President Joseph Fielding Smith: “The Savior commanded Nephi and the people to be baptized again, because he had organized anew the Church under the gospel. Before that it had been organized under the law [of Moses]” (Doctrines of Salvation, ed. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:336).
Keep in mind that the disciples and the other Nephites were worthy to be in the presence of the Savior. Read 3 Nephi 19:13, looking for what the twelve disciples were granted for having righteous desires.
Make a list in your scripture study journal of the blessings that come into the life of a person who has the gift of the Holy Ghost and lives worthy of it. Then compare your list with the following quotation by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and add to your list any new ideas you find:
“The Holy Ghost gives us the strength and courage to conduct our lives in the ways of the kingdom of God and is the source of our testimony of the Father and the Son. …
“We need the Holy Ghost as our constant companion to help us make better choices in the decisions that confront us daily. Our young men and women are bombarded with ugly things of the world. Companionship with the Spirit will give them the strength to resist evil and, when necessary, repent and return to the strait and narrow path. None of us are immune from the temptations of the adversary. We all need the fortification available through the Holy Ghost. … Having the gift of the Holy Ghost helps family members make wise choices—choices that will help them return with their families to their Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, to live with Them eternally” (“The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 8).
Based on your study of 3 Nephi 19:1–14, ponder what blessing you want most in your life and why you want it.
Complete the following principle statement based on 3 Nephi 19:9, 13: Through earnest desires and prayer, we can be ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
Read 3 Nephi 19:14–16 to learn what happened after the twelve disciples were baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost.
After the disciples and the multitude had kneeled down, the Savior commanded His twelve disciples to pray. Read the account of their prayer in 3 Nephi 19:17–18, 24–26, 30. This is the only place in recorded scripture where people prayed directly to Jesus Christ. In our prayers we pray to God the Father in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ. There is no place in scripture where we are taught to pray to Jesus.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggested a reason why the disciples may have prayed to Jesus in this unique instance: “Jesus had already taught them to pray in his name to the Father, which they first did [see 3 Nephi 19:8–9]. … But this time ‘they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.’ [3 Nephi 19:18.] Jesus was present before them as the symbol of the Father. Seeing him, it was as though they saw the Father; praying to him, it was as though they prayed to the Father. It was a special and unique situation” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ , 560–61). The Savior Himself said, “They pray unto me because I am with them” (3 Nephi 19:22).
While the people were kneeling, they witnessed Jesus Christ offer three distinct prayers for His disciples and for them. Copy the following chart in your scripture study journal. Read the assigned scripture references and complete the chart.
What did the Savior pray for?
How can you apply what you learned from the Savior’s prayer to your life?
Read 3 Nephi 19:24. What do you think it means to “not multiply many words”? Regarding prayers in which words are given to us to know what to pray for, Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught, “Perfect prayers are those which are inspired, in which the Spirit reveals the words which should be used” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 586).
To help you better understand some of the principles the Savior taught in His prayers, review 3 Nephi 19:28 and mark words or phrases that teach this principle: As we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, we can be purified. Contemplate the ways in which the disciples exercised faith throughout the experiences recorded in 3 Nephi 19. As a result of their faith, the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost (see 3 Nephi 19:13), and receiving the Holy Ghost is necessary in order to be purified.
Read the following statement from President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency, and look for what it means to be purified: “‘Then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.’ [2 Nephi 31:13.] This baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost here spoken of by Nephi affects the great change in the hearts of men referred to by Alma [see Alma 5:14]. It converts them from carnality to spirituality. It cleanses, heals, and purifies the soul. … Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, and water baptism are all preliminary and prerequisite to it, but it is the consummation [ultimate end]. To receive it is to have one’s garments washed in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ” (Learning for the Eternities, comp. George J. Romney , 133).
Ponder what it means to be purified, and answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How does exercising faith in Jesus Christ help us become pure and clean?
Jesus offered a great prayer on the eve of His atoning sacrifice that was very similar to the prayers He offered among the Nephites on the second day of His visit with them. Read 3 Nephi 19:23, 29 and John 17:9, 11, 21–22. Mark the phrase “that we may be one.” Ponder how Jesus Christ and the Father are one. What do we learn from these verses about how we can become one with Jesus Christ?
One of the principles taught in these verses is: Through faith we can be purified and become one with Jesus Christ, as He is one with the Father. Read the following statement from Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about how we can be one with the Father and the Son: “Surely we will not be one with God and Christ until we make Their will and interest our greatest desire. Such submissiveness is not reached in a day, but through the Holy Spirit, the Lord will tutor us if we are willing until, in process of time, it may accurately be said that He is in us as the Father is in Him. At times I tremble to consider what may be required, but I know that it is only in this perfect union that a fulness of joy can be found” (“That They May Be One In Us,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 73).
Conclude today’s study by reading and pondering 3 Nephi 19:35–36.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 3 Nephi 19 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: