The Strengthening Power of the Atonement

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(This is an excerpt from the book The Big Picture by John Hilton III and Anthony Sweat.)

Some people may not realize that there is power in the Atonement not only to help us overcome sin but also to strengthen us to do good, righteous things that we could not otherwise accomplish with our own capabilities. Elder David A. Bednar said, “Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient and worthy and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully.”8

The Bible Dictionary uses the word “grace” to explain that through the Atonement of Christ we can be given “divine means of help or strength . . . an enabling power.”9 The enabling power of the Atonement gives us ability beyond our natural capacity to do things we otherwise couldn’t accomplish on our own. It was the enabling power of the Atonement that gave Nephi the ability to build the boat, that allowed Peter to walk on water, that gave Joseph Smith the ability to translate the Book of Mormon. That same strengthening power from the Atonement can be given to us in our daily lives to make us better in all that we do.

Suppose for example that you are trying to overcome a bad temper. You can use lots of great techniques like breathing deeply or counting to ten. And you can also pray and ask for the power of the Atonement to give you strength to control your emotions and to change your nature to be more patient. When you have a church calling to perform, or even a homework assignment to do, you can pray for the strength of the Lord to help you accomplish it.

In Alma 31, Alma and his fellow missionaries faced a difficult challenge, but they knew the Savior could strengthen them. Alma prayed, saying, “O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength” (Alma 31:31). Alma didn’t pray for his trials to go away, he prayed for strength. The result of this prayer was that “the Lord . . . gave them strength” (Alma 31:38). The Lord not only gives prophets strength, but True to the Faith teaches us to “remember the strength you can receive through the enabling power of grace.”10 The Atonement can give us strength in our daily lives as well.

_________________________

8. David A. Bednar, “‘In the Strength of the Lord,’” BYU Devotional, October 23, 2001, http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=789.

9. Bible Dictionary, s.v. “grace,” 697.

10. True to the Faith, 78.

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