I wanted to share something that I read during my scripture study this past week.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him." (3 Nephi 18:15)
I have been reading 3 Nephi with a manual and the commentary on this verse was excellent! It says:
"As important as prayer is, its protective and guiding influence is diminished unless it is coupled with vigilance, with 'watching.' The doctrinal meaning of the word 'watch,' in the context of praying always in order to resist temptations, implies more than observation. It means being on guard, being spiritually aware. Some erroneously believe that as long as they 'say their prayers' God will 'not suffer them to be tempted above that they are able' (1 Corinthians 10:13). Certainly this was not the intent of Paul's words. Adding the words of Alma to those of Paul helps us to better undrestand why watching must accompnay praying. 'And now, my brethren,' Alma said, 'I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance; but that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering; having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts' (Alma 13:27-29).
One cannot reasonably pray for strength to resist temptation and then carelessly and recklessly flirt with evil. Just as we are saved by the grace of God only 'after all we can do,' our faith and prayers are efficacious only after 'all we can do' in watching our thoughts, words, and deeds, lest by our own negligence we fall into transgression. If we fail to 'watch and pray continually' we can indeed 'be tempted above that which we can bear.' We must constantly be watchful as well as prayerful to ensure that our thoughts, words, and deeds stay in the 'spiritual safe zone.' Just as the Savior promised protection to the Nephites, his promise is likewise conveyed to us today through the scriptures and living prophets who testify that if we are diligently watchful and prayerful, we 'will be given the strenght to shun and temptation.'"
That really is a mouthful. And that was just the commentary on one verse! I love the manual I am using and I feel like I am understanding the scriptures better than I ever have before. If you haven't already had the opportunity of studying the scriptures with the help of a manual then I highly suggest you do so. You will certainly gain many insights into the words of the Lord.