Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lesson on Prayer

I gave the lesson in relief society today and felt like it went quite well. I really love the new gospel principles manual because it's so direct and just straight up doctrine. Love it. For being so basic, I really have received new insights in every lesson I've taught.

This morning Dean was having some serious panic attacks about having to go to nursery. Since Matt is no longer a nursery worker he's really struggled. Last week he cried all but 20 min. of nursery. When he was really panicking this morning I suggested we have a little prayer to help calm him down. We prayed and he was much calmer after that. He was still "a little sad" to have to go to nursery, but he only cried about a min. or two today instead of the entire class period.

(GP = Gospel Principle; BD =Bible Dictionary; if it's just a name, it's from the same talk I've already referenced in my lesson)

Here's my outline for the lesson:

What is Prayer?
“Prayer is a sincere, heartfelt talk with our Heavenly Father.” GP p.34

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” Bible Dictionary

Why do we Pray?
Commandment, repent, draw closer to God, stay on the straight and narrow, help, thanks, act of love, strength, for friends and enemies, missionary experiences, etc.

If our kids only called us when they needed money or assistance, I bet we’d start to get a little annoyed. Especially if when we did help them out they didn’t recognize nor express appreciation for our assistance. Find more things to be grateful for and ask for less.

“The most meaningful and spiritual prayers I have experienced contained many expressions of thanks and few, if any, requests. Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts.” Bednar “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 41–44

When should we pray? “We can pray whenever we feel the need to communicate with our Heavenly Father, whether silently or vocally.” GP

  • Pray morning and night “In a similar way, meaningful morning prayer is an important element in the spiritual creation of each day—and precedes the temporal creation or the actual execution of the day. Just as the temporal creation was linked to and a continuation of the spiritual creation, so meaningful morning and evening prayers are linked to and are a continuation of each other.” David A. Bednar, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 41–44
  • Pray always. During the course of the day, we keep a prayer in our heart for continued assistance and guidance—even as Alma suggested: “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord” (Alma 37:36). Bednar
How should we pray?
We give our prayer to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus and we’re answered through the Spirit of the Lord.

  • Why do we pray in Jesus’ name?
  1. Our privilege to approach God the Father in pray is made possible by the atonement of Jesus Christ.
  2. We are sinners and to approach God we invoke the authority of Jesus and ask for those things in accordance with his will.
  3. The words aren’t a magical incantation. What matters most is the purpose and feeling behind the prayer.
  4. Jesus is the way (to God), the truth, and the light.
  5. “We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ - when his words abide in us (John 15: 7). We then ask for things it is possible for God to grant. Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent his mind, but spring out of the selfishness of man’s heart.” BD
  6. “She [his mother] knew the Savior, and she loved Him. I had learned from her that we do not close in the name of a stranger when we approach our Father in prayer. I knew from what I had seen of her life that her heart was drawn to the Savior from years of determined and consistent effort to serve Him and to please Him. I knew the scripture was true which warns, “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13).” Henry B. Eyring, “That He May Write upon Our Hearts,” Liahona, Aug 2009, 2–7
  7. “Another lesson I have learned: after praying, I must do my part to help answer the prayer. President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “When we pray for health we must live the laws of health and do all in our power to keep our bodies well and vigorous. We pray for protection and then take reasonable precaution to avoid danger. There must be works with faith” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972, p. 205).” Barton
How are prayers answered?
“Our sincere prayers are always answered. Sometimes the answer may be no, because what we have asked for would not be best for us. Sometimes the answer is yes, and we have a warm, comfortable feeling about what we should do (see D&C 9:8–9). Sometimes the answer is “wait a while.” Our prayers are always answered at a time and in a way that the Lord knows will help us the most.” GP

“When there seems to be no clear-cut “yes” or “no” answer to a question asked in prayer, it may be that either choice is acceptable. Or perhaps neither choice is the best one. We might consider changing the question to ask an all-knowing, loving Heavenly Father what his will is. Again, the answer might come in a variety of ways—a new thought or opportunity we had not considered, a change in the situation to make one course clearly preferable, or intervention by someone with needed information, practical skill, or spiritual perspective.” Grant E. Barton, “Discerning Answers to Our Prayers,” Ensign, Feb 1996, 48

“Immediate divine intervention to solve every problem would invalidate the test that earth life was designed to be. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote: “It is not, never has been, and never will be the design and purpose of the Lord—however much we seek him in prayer—to answer all our problems and concerns without struggle and effort on our part. This mortality is a probationary estate. … We are being tested to see how we will respond in various situations; how we will decide issues; what course we will pursue while we are here walking, not by sight, but by faith” (Ensign, Jan. 1976, p. 11).” Barton

1 comment:

SeƱora H-B said...

I'm a third Sunday teacher as well. I enjoy these lessons so much more than the ones from the JS manual. Today's lesson was really pretty good--I had a lot of participation, which was nice. I'm glad yours went well, too!