The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

Let’s assume that a faithful man named John is praying for a blessing with all his heart, and he does all he can to help bring it to pass, but it’s just not enough. He puts in most of what’s required but not all. He just doesn’t have the capacity to do all that’s required. But he persists and receives the blessing.

Question: Who put in the rest? The law or requirement must be fulfilled, but John wasn’t able to fully do it. Who compensates for his inadequacy?

Answer: The Lord, Jesus Christ. The enabling power of God, or grace, intervened and Jesus Christ contributed what John lacked. And thus the law was fulfilled.

Please understand this. Jesus came not only to save us from our sins but also to assist us with our infirmities, our afflictions, our weaknesses, our problems, and our discouragements. And when he does so, in the process he helps us to qualify for the blessings we seek, and that is called grace.

Now consider another man. This man has less faith than John. This man was baptized just last week. He seeks the same blessing as John, but he cannot muster the faith that John has. As he seeks to obey the required law, all he can do is put in maybe a tenth of what’s needed. Yet he still receives the blessing. Why is that? Again, because Jesus compensated and put the rest in for him. After we have done all in our power, the grace of the Lord will intervene. The prophet Nephi said it masterfully:

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. (2 Nephi 25:23.)

In my judgment, this principle explains why it is that when a little child prays he can so readily receive the blessing. The child doesn’t know how to do very much except give all of his heart, but that’s enough. Then the Lord puts in the rest. Children have great access to the heavens.

We also can have such access if we will pray with all our hearts and do all we can to qualify for the blessing we seek. Then, through the grace, or enabling power, of Christ, the heavens will intervene and bring us that which we desire.

Elder Gene R. Cook
Receiving Answers to Our Prayers
Deseret Book Company (1996)

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