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"O Lord, Forgive My Unworthiness," Alma 38:13-15

 Alma 38:13-15

Three simple verses at the end of this chapter that teach me how to pray and be humble. It seems likes such a small set of instructions, especially compared to what Alma gave to Helaman, but I find the points that he chooses to emphasis here, extremely important in teaching prayer and one's proper attitude towards prayer.

None of us really have the advantage before God. (That's not to say that he that keeps the commandments, and doeth the will of the Father, isn't approved of Him.) But there is this simple issue of humility that is required of all men when they approach the throne of the Almighty. Thus Alma counsels Shiblon:
Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times. (vs.14)
Christ taught similarly:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14, emphasis added)

Christ himself says that the difference here between the two individuals is that one exalted himself, the other humbled himself. I like to look at this as the difference between competing verses completing. That is to say, on the one hand we are always competing with others or comparing ourselves to others. The other side is to be concerned with out own completion and the completion of others. Instead of trying to be better than others, we are working towards helping other be better with us.

But, I want to go back to what Christ says the difference between the two are: one exalts himself, the other humbles himself. This is the better way of explaining it, and it puts ownership of action exactly where it belongs: with the individual.
Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.
Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; (Alma 32:15-16)

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