God has given us a way for us to overcome the evils in our world. The people of Alma understood it and showed us how to do it.
And Alma established a church in the land of Sidom, and consecrated priests and teachers in the land, to baptize unto the Lord whosoever were desirous to be baptized. And it came to pass that they were many; for they did flock in from all the region round about Sidom, and were baptized. (Alma 15:13-14)
So Alma had established the church of God and baptized many and in a later verse of that chapter there is an interesting phrase suggesting they had great success:
…Therefore, after Alma having established the church at Sidom, seeing a great check, yea, seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts (Alma 15:17)
So the verse says “the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts”. Some of the definitions of “check”: to restrain, control, reduce or diminish. How did this reduction and restraint of the pride of the people come about? That is explained in the same verse.
…[they] began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction— (Alma 15:17)
They humbled themselves and met together at church often. I believe the last part is also extremely significant: they were “watching and praying continually”. What does it mean to “watch”? That was my question today so I did some cross-referencing and found a few other scriptures that shed some light. Matthew 26 records the Savior’s counsel to his apostles to “watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation”. Amulek teaches in Alma 34 that we should be “watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil”. Luke writes Christ’s words, “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching”.
This may be obvious to some but for my purposes here I want to be clear, I found these definitions of “watch”: to be alert, on the lookout, to keep awake, remain vigilant, to be careful or cautious.
Combining the definitions of watchfulness with the usages of the word in the scriptures and the words in Alma 15:17– the people of Alma were continually vigilant and alert, praying to be delivered from the influence of Satan, they were awake (spiritually) and cautious at all times. They were careful and watchful not only in regard to temptation but also regarding those things which would cause them death (spiritual death?) and destruction.
Fast-forward about 3 years later, and we see the fruits of their efforts:
“…the church had been established throughout all the land—having got the victory over the devil, and the word of God [was] preached in its purity in all the land, and the Lord [poured] out his blessings upon the people.” (Alma 16:21)