Lesson 23: Pray for Guidance

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 79–81


Objective

Each young man will learn how to seek and recognize the guidance of his Heavenly Father.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  2. 2.

    At least one week before this lesson, ask two young men to read through the role play between Andy and Matt two or three times and to be prepared to present it during the lesson.

  3. 3.

    If it is available, show “The First Vision,” on the videocassette Moments from Church History (53145). If it is not available, review Joseph Smith—History 1:5–20.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Lord Has Told Us How to Receive Guidance

Discussion

  • What are some difficult decisions young men your age may have to make?

  • What are some of the decisions you have to make in a normal day’s activities?

Encourage all the young men to make suggestions.

Scriptures, chalkboard, and discussion

Have the young men locate the following verses in their scriptures. Call on a different young man to read each verse aloud. As each verse is read, ask the other young men to listen and prepare to tell what the scripture means. Write key words or phrases on the chalkboard to the right of each scripture. The young men may want to mark phrases that are important to them.

  1. 1.

    Doctrine and Covenants 112:10—“Be thou humble” to receive answers to prayers.

  2. 2.

    1 Nephi 17:45—“He hath spoken … in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling [and] could not feel his words.”

  3. 3.

    Revelation 3:20—“I stand at the door, and knock.”

  4. 4.

    Moroni 10:3–5—“By the power of the Holy Ghost.”

  5. 5.

    Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–9—“Study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right.”

  • How do these scriptures help us know how to pray for guidance in making right decisions?

Emphasize that Heavenly Father loves us and knows that our lives will be happier and more productive if we follow his guidance. If we pray to Heavenly Father, he will help us to know if our decisions are right. He will bless us with this knowledge through the power of the Holy Ghost.

We Must Learn to Listen and Recognize Answers to Our Prayers

Videocassette

Show “The First Vision,” on the videocassette Moments from Church History, if it is available. If the video is not available, tell the story of Joseph Smith’s first vision in your own words. Explain to the young men that God hears and answers prayers. They may not receive a visit from heavenly messengers, but if they listen carefully for the voice of the Spirit, they will know when their prayers are answered.

Discussion

  • Which scripture from the list is illustrated in Joseph Smith’s experience? (D&C 112:10.)

Underline this reference on the chalkboard.

Quotation

  • How can you know when God has answered your prayers?

Tell the young men that Bishop H. Burke Peterson gave this important advice about seeking answers to prayers:

“Listening is an essential part of praying. Answers from the Lord come quietly—ever so quietly. In fact, few hear his answers audibly with their ears. We must be listening so carefully or we will never recognize them. Most answers from the Lord are felt in our heart as a warm comfortable expression, or they may come as thoughts to our mind. They come to those who are prepared and who are patient” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, p. 13; or Ensign, Jan. 1974, p. 19).

Role play

Have the assigned young men present the following dramatization. They are talking to each other on the telephone.

Andy: (talking quite rapidly) Matt, you know that camping trip our quorum is planning for next month? Well, Dad said I could go if I get my math grade up! Isn’t that great? At first he just said no. Now I have to start getting the stuff together that I’ll need to take on the trip. Tell me what I have to have.

Matt: Well, you’ll need …

Andy: (interrupting) And of course I have to get a good grade on the big math test tomorrow, and I still haven’t figured out how to do that problem you did today on the board. Could you tell me how you worked it?

Matt: Oh, sure, all you have to do is …

Andy: (interrupting) Hey! Did you see that ball game after school? Wasn’t that great? That goal I scored won the game. I played the best game I’ve ever played, don’t you think? I wish I could be a better defender, though. What do you think I ought to do to stop the other team from going past me and scoring? Am I doing something wrong?

Matt: I really think you could defend better if …

Andy: (interrupting) I gotta go. Mom wants me to clean up my room before dinner. Thanks for your help. See you tomorrow. Bye. (hangs up)

Matt: (looks bewildered and sighs) Good-bye, Andy.

Discussion

  • What was the main problem in the communication between Andy and Matt?

  • Can you see any similarities between that conversation and your prayers?

Explain that the Holy Ghost will help us to hear the Lord’s answers if we will listen with our hearts and minds. We should learn to listen during and after the prayer. Not all answers come immediately, but occasionally they will. Sometimes the answer will come a long while after the prayer has been said. Some answers come through others who touch our lives in some way. We must remember to make ourselves worthy to receive the answer from our Heavenly Father.

  • Which scripture on the list illustrates that we sometimes do not listen for the voice or feel the impressions Heavenly Father sends to us? (1 Nephi 17:45.)

Underline the reference on the chalkboard.

Story

Assure the young men that the Lord always hears and answers sincere prayers. We must learn to listen. Relate the following experience of a Danish convert to illustrate this point.

Arne Jacobsen, a Danish man, was investigating the Church. He explained what he did when he found the Book of Mormon hard to understand:

“I recalled that the missionaries had counseled us that when we read the scriptures we should pray and ask God for understanding. After doing that, I read and understood the Book of Mormon. Moroni 10:3–5 especially made a wonderful impression on me.

“Because I felt I had not lived a good life, I was fearful that God would not answer my prayer regarding the truth of the Book of Mormon. However, one Saturday evening I knelt down and promised the Lord that if he would answer me, I would serve him the rest of my days. Very quietly I received the words, ‘The Book of Mormon is true. It is my word. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. My church is built upon prophets and Apostles.’ The joy I experienced cannot be expressed sufficiently in words.

“I was baptized and a few months later baptized my beloved wife and two oldest boys. Now we are a happy Latter-day Saint family of eight members” (Arne Jacobsen, “Three Well-Behaved Young Men,” Ensign, July 1974, p. 40).

Emphasize that as we pray for guidance or “stand at the door, and knock,” the Lord will hear and answer our prayers if we listen for the promptings of the still, small voice.

Scripture

Explain that the decisions a young man makes at this time in his life are important. God will help us if we seek him sincerely and learn to recognize his answers.

Reread Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–9 for specific guidelines that we should follow when making a decision.

Quotation

Explain that President Marion G. Romney told how he used the following guidelines from the Doctrine and Covenants to solve his problems:

“When confronted with a problem I prayerfully weigh in my mind alternative solutions and come to a conclusion as to which of them is best. Then in prayer I submit to the Lord my problem, tell him I desire to make the right choice, what is, in my judgment, the right course. Then I ask him if I have made the right decision to give me the burning in my bosom that He promised Oliver Cowdery. When enlightenment and peace come into my mind, I know the Lord is saying yes. If I have a ‘stupor of thought,’ I know he is saying no, and I try again, following the same procedure.

“In conclusion, I repeat: I know when and how the Lord answers my prayers by the way I feel” (from “Q and A,” New Era, Oct. 1975, p. 35).

Explanation

Stress that a “stupor of thought” is as much an answer to a prayerful request as a “burning in the bosom” is. Help the young men to see that the Lord will usually answer an honest request in one of these ways.

Conclusion

Testimonies

Allow the young men to share experiences they have had with receiving answers to prayer.

Share any experiences you may have had with prayer that will be uplifting to the young men in your class.

Challenge

Challenge the young men to pray for guidance in their lives as they try to become like Heavenly Father.