Lesson 2: Knowing Our Father in Heaven

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 4–6


Objective

Each young man will understand that as a son of God and a priesthood holder he has important responsibilities.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed: scriptures for each young man.

  2. 2.

    You may wish to assign one of the young men to speak for two to three minutes on the subject “Why more is expected of a young man who holds the priesthood than of one who does not.”

  3. 3.

    Prepare to display picture 1, Joseph Smith Seeks Wisdom in the Bible (also picture 402 in the Gospel Art Picture Kit [34730]).

Note

The purpose of this lesson is to help each young man feel that he is an important son of his Father in Heaven. Not all young men have thought about God’s tender care for them, and it is your charge to inspire that awareness and help each young man fulfill the priesthood responsibilities his Father has given him.

Suggested Lesson Development

Heavenly Father Has a Deep and Tender Love for Each of Us

Story

Tell the young men about the following situation or a similar one:

A father and his son were camping together. The campfire had gone down, and the night was cool and clear as they looked up at the countless stars. The father asked, “What are you thinking about, son?”

“Oh, I was just wondering. It all seems so overwhelming. Those stars go forever. I was just wondering why it is that, if God could make those suns and stars and other worlds, one person—like me—would mean anything to him.”

His father smiled and said, “King David wondered the same thing when he wrote, ‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him?’ (Psalm 8:4). It’s because we are his sons.”

  • Why do you think we are more important to Heavenly Father than a beautiful mountain, a star, or something else in nature? (We are his sons. We can think, feel, love, and do things.)

Invite the young men to share any experiences that demonstrate how they learned of their Heavenly Father’s love for them personally.

Scripture

Have the young men read and mark Moses 1:39; then discuss why our Father in Heaven would spend all his efforts doing things for us. One key reason is that we are his sons. Explain that just as an earthly father works to provide for his family and spends time with his children to raise them properly, our Heavenly Father devotes all his energy and abilities to providing for and raising his great family.

Story

Relate the following story in your own words:

“He wasn’t sure where the idea had come from, but somehow the young man felt that if he could be alone in God’s great outdoors and try to talk to his Heavenly Father, it would help. That’s why he found himself standing in the grove of trees that early morning, looking up and saying what he did. …

“He really felt he needed some help, and he didn’t know where to turn. Thus the idea of praying had occurred to him, and he had set out to do it, going outside his small western town to a nearby wooded area.

“As he stood there that morning, the young man looked up and talked to the Lord. His message was simple. …

“‘I just looked up,’ he explained softly, ‘and said to the Lord: “God, I am ready for you if you are ready for me.”’

“There was no startling response, oral or visual. He saw nothing and heard no voice. There was only the utter quiet of the breezeless morning and the beating of his own heart. Yet he went away knowing that he had been heard, somehow deeply assured that the answer would be forthcoming.

“When he sat behind the bus driver on his way to town that morning, he got the first phase of his answer. The man said to him, ‘Son, I believe you are looking for something that I can help you find.’ Thus started the conversation that ultimately resulted in the young man’s acceptance of Jesus Christ and his restored Church, and that changed his life completely. …

“From that moment life had taken on a great meaning that activated him … in goodness and strength as he walked and worked with humble dignity among his fellows” (Marion D. Hanks, “I Am Ready for You,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1968, p. 56).

Picture, scripture, and discussion

Display picture 1, Joseph Smith Seeks Wisdom in the Bible.

  • Who was another young man who prayed to Heavenly Father in a grove of trees and received an answer? (Joseph Smith.)

  • How do answers to prayer show our Heavenly Father’s love for us?

Have the young men read Joseph Smith—History 1:17.

  • How does this verse show that Heavenly Father knew Joseph Smith personally? (Heavenly Father called Joseph Smith by name.)

  • How well does Heavenly Father know you? (Make sure the young men understand that Heavenly Father not only knows each of their names, but he also knows each one’s feelings, thoughts, desires, and actions. He is personally interested in each of his children.)

Ask the young men if any of them would like to share an experience when one of their prayers was answered.

Story

Read or relate the following story from President Hugh B. Brown:

“I think one of the first things that every young person should do is attempt to get acquainted with God. I mean that in a very literal sense. I mean it in the sense that we are able to go to Him and obtain the kind of help that we need. … I remember my mother said to me when I went to go on my mission … : ‘My boy, you are going a long ways away from me now. Do you remember,’ she said, ‘that when you were a little lad you used to have bad dreams and get frightened? Your bedroom was just off mine, and frequently you would cry out in the night and say, “Mother, are you there?” And I would answer, “Yes, my boy, I’m here—everything is all right. Turn over and go to sleep.” You always did. Knowing that I was there gave you courage.

“‘Now,’ she said, ‘you will be about 6,000 miles away, and though you may cry out for me I cannot answer you.’ She added this: ‘There is one who can, and if you call to Him, He’ll hear you when you call. He will respond to your appeal. You just say, “Father, are you there?” and there will come into your heart the comfort and solace such as you knew as a boy when I answered you.’

“I want to say to you young people that many times since then in many and varying conditions I have cried out, ‘Father, are you there?’ I made that plea when in the mission field we were mobbed almost every night, driven from place to place. We were beaten, expelled from cities, our lives threatened. Every time before I went out to those meetings I would say, ‘Father, are you there?’ And though I didn’t hear a voice and I didn’t see His person, I want to tell you young people He replied to me with the comfort and assurance and testimony of His presence” (“Father, Are You There?” [address given at Brigham Young University, 8 Oct. 1967], pp. 5–6).

Discussion

  • Why would Hugh B. Brown’s mother be so sure that he would get an answer when he called to his Father in Heaven? (She knew that Heavenly Father loves us and answers every sincere prayer. See D&C 6:14–15.)

  • When can we call, “Father, are you there?” (When we feel lonely, afraid, or tempted, or anytime we need his comfort and reassurance.)

  • What can we do to have good communication with our Father in Heaven?

  • Besides answering our prayers, how else does Heavenly Father show that he loves us? (List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard, and discuss each one.)

Holding the Priesthood Increases a Young Man’s Responsibility to His Father in Heaven

Discussion

One way Heavenly Father has shown us that he loves us is by giving us the priesthood to serve and bless others.

  • Why is more expected of a young man who holds the priesthood than of a young man who does not hold the priesthood?

After discussing this question briefly, have the young man previously assigned speak on it for two to three minutes.

Quotation

The following statement helps us understand the responsibilities of holding the priesthood of God:

“The foundation on which each boy begins is recognition that he is in very deed a son of God, with something of the divine in his soul. All men are children of God, but you have something more. You have the authority to act in his name. This sets you apart from the rest of the world. It does not automatically make you better than others, but it gives you the responsibility to live a better life than others.

“Because you know you are a child of God and hold his priesthood, more is expected of you than of those who do not have this great blessing” (Victor L. Brown, in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, p. 101; or Ensign, July 1972, p. 90).

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men read, mark, and discuss Doctrine and Covenants 82:3.

  • What are some of the things we as priesthood bearers have received that nonmembers have not received? (The promise of the Holy Ghost, additional scripture, greater knowledge, guidance from a living prophet and priesthood leaders, the power and authority to act in God’s name.)

  • How should a priesthood bearer behave in school? in the home? during athletic contests?

  • What blessings have come into your life because you hold the priesthood? (Make sure the young men bring up not only the more obvious things like preparing the sacrament or going home teaching, but also such things as increased spiritual blessings and greater opportunities to serve others.)

Conclusion

Challenge

Challenge the young men to do something during the coming week to strengthen their relationship with their Heavenly Father and to fulfill better their responsibility to him as a priesthood bearer. Give the following suggestions:

  1. 1.

    Memorize the words of a hymn about our relationship to our Father in Heaven, such as “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301), “Father in Heaven” (Hymns, no. 133), or “O My Father” (Hymns, no. 292).

  2. 2.

    Make your prayers more meaningful. Really talk with Heavenly Father, and listen carefully for the whisperings of the Holy Ghost in reply.

  3. 3.

    Write your testimony in your journal.

  4. 4.

    Bear your testimony in fast and testimony meeting or to a family member.

  5. 5.

    Perform an act of service.

  6. 6.

    Invite a nonmember to a Church meeting or social.