1 And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings? [God’s glory encompasses a fullness of joy. Not because He has all things, all knowledge, and all peace; but because He has overcome all things as He does the will of the Father. When we do God’s will and follow through to bring about great righteousness we experience joy. Joy is the culmination of our faith; first we seek revelation. Second, we act upon it. And third, we watch it bear fruit.]
2 And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
3 Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work. [This is the heart of a servant of God, to be an instrument in the Lord’s hand to save souls.]
4 Behold, thousands of them do rejoice, and have been brought into the fold of God.
5 Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted. [This is the purpose of the Lord’s servants, or Gatherers. When the field is ripe they are sent.]
6 Yea, they [those who come to Christ] shall not be beaten down by the storm [Satan’s kingdom] at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds [demons]; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place [glory of God], that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them. [The most important day of your life is the “last day.”]
7 But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day. [What is the last day? For us, it is the “last day” when we are born again in Christ, counted amongst the good fruit to be laid up for the harvest..]
8 Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever.
9 For if we had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us, would still have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they would also have been strangers to God. [Few things bring down the glory of Heaven faster than praising, singing, and shouting words of love to our God. And then if you want to magnify the experience – pray in tongues!]
10 And it came to pass that when Ammon had said these words, his brother Aaron rebuked him, saying: Ammon, I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting.
11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
It is common in our culture to find robust praising of Jesus to be irreverent, inappropriate, or unnecessary. Singing, dancing, shouting, the gift of tongues, and other forms of expression are frowned upon by some. If you are not expressing your heart to Him, at least in private, you may be lacking in faith. Why do I say this? Understand that praise is not for the Lord, but for us. It cleanses our hearts and helps us to come unto Christ. Like an innocent child seeking their Father, we must fully submit and trust in Him. When we release our spirits in this manner the glory of heaven descends, our sins are forgiven, and we are made clean. Then, the pathway of the spiritual realm is opened, and we are ushered into the presence of God! Praise with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. What the Lord desires is our hearts; and then we are capable of receiving all He desires to give us.
12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?
14 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.
15 Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? [No, never!] Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
17 Who could have supposed that our God would have been so merciful as to have snatched us from our awful, sinful, and polluted state?
18 Behold, we went forth even in wrath, with mighty threatenings to destroy his church.
19 Oh then, why did he not consign us to an awful destruction, yea, why did he not let the sword of his justice fall upon us, and doom us to eternal despair?
20 Oh, my soul, almost as it were, fleeth at the thought. Behold, he did not exercise his justice upon us, but in his great mercy hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls.
Every time I approach the Lord during my personal holy time I take the time to express my gratitude to the Lord in great detail, remembering what He has done for me. This is my praise. I don’t worry about how beautiful the words sound, I just express them from the heart. When your heart is pure before God, He will pour out His Spirit upon you and you will be ready for more light.
21 And now behold, my brethren, what natural man [without God] is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent. [humble and repentant.]
22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.
One of my favorite scriptures! Ammon explains in this order:
- Repent, turning your heart to God.
- Exercising faith, seeking revelation.
- Bringing forth good works, acting upon that revelation.
- Praying continually, walking in the Spirit as we seek the Lord’s will.
- They will be taught the mysteries, which are a more complete understanding or our relationship with God.
- Reveal new things? To have the spirit of prophecy, and other gifts of the Spirit.
- You become a servant of God, no greater privilege in this life!
Our priesthood is in direct proportion to our relationship with God. Those who follow the words of Ammon will indeed know the Lord, and all things will be revealed to them.
23 Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn? [Anyone who attempts to exercise faith in Christ at this level will be laughed at and ridiculed. What is the Spirit telling you to do? Is it not a foolish thought according to the world? What will you do?]
24 For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language.
25 And moreover they did say: Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us.
26 But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.
27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
Little known facts about how the Lord operates: He loves to work with the least of us to bring about the greatest of events. He chooses those who are pure heart, with faith in Him to do His commandments (revelations). The Lord is in every detail and loves a great storybook ending. He will allow us to struggle, suffer, fail, and doubt; but in the end He knows it will be victorious as we learn to trust in Him.
28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God. [They attempted to see God in every outcome and event. This is difficult to do when we see ourselves as victims of our circumstances.]
29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again. [The angels are jealous and rejoice in our opportunities to express this kind of epic faith!]
30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some. [Even one soul is worth such sacrifice.]
31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.
32 For behold, they had rather sacrifice their lives than even to take the life of their enemy; and they have buried their weapons of war deep in the earth, because of their love towards their brethren.
33 And now behold I say unto you, has there been so great love in all the land? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, there has not, even among the Nephites.
34 For behold, they would take up arms against their brethren; they would not suffer themselves to be slain. But behold how many of these have laid down their lives; and we know that they have gone to their God [Eternal Life], because of their love and of their hatred to sin.
35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God [PRAISE!]; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people [Children of Men], whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people [House of Israel], and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. [All will be given the Gospel.] Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.
I never fully understood the importance of praise in coming to the Lord until I began this process, which led to the baptism of fire and my Second Comforter experience. I am a shy and reserved person by nature; but, the Lord taught me the value of expressing with all my heart my greatest desires. I learned to praise Him and to be pure in my intent. He taught me to express my heart using gratitude, love, desire of relationship, and to extend that to others.
My suggestion to you would be to write a list of all the reasons you are grateful to the Lord. In your prayer read that list out loud to Him with all the love, emotion, and heart you can muster. See what happens when you praise.