After teaching about the “strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:18), Nephi saw that his people wondered what they should do after beginning on that path. He answered their questions by encouraging them to “feast upon the words of Christ” and “pray always” (2 Nephi 32:3, 9). He assured them that if they would do these things, the Holy Ghost would help them know what to do.
Nephi counsels us to seek divine direction through the words of Jesus Christ
Think of a time when someone gave you directions to get from one place to another. Was it easy or difficult to understand those directions? Why is it important to have someone give clear directions?
In the previous lesson you studied some directions Nephi gave his people. After sharing these directions, he said, “This is the way” (2 Nephi 31:21). Quickly search 2 Nephi 31:17–18, and review how someone gets started on the path to eternal life. Then read 2 Nephi 32:1, and look for a question that was in the hearts of the people regarding what Nephi had taught them. Describe the people’s question in your own words: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Read 2 Nephi 32:2–3, and look for what Nephi said we need to do after we have entered the path. It may be helpful to know that speaking with the tongue of angels, according to President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “simply means that you can speak with the power of the Holy Ghost” (“The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” Ensign, Aug. 2006, 50).
You may want to mark the phrase “feast upon the words of Christ” in 2 Nephi 32:3 (this verse is a scripture mastery passage). Nephi used the phrase “the words of Christ” to describe teachings inspired by the Holy Ghost. List some ways or places you can read, hear, or receive teachings inspired by the Holy Ghost. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
The words of Christ include the scriptures and the words of modern-day prophets. To help you ponder what it might mean to “feast upon the words of Christ,” read the following quotations:
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “To feast means more than to taste. To feast means to savor. We savor the scriptures by studying them in a spirit of delightful discovery and faithful obedience. When we feast upon the words of Christ, they … become an integral part of our nature” (“Living by Scriptural Guidance,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 17).
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “If you and I are to feast upon the words of Christ, we must study the scriptures and absorb His words through pondering them and making them a part of every thought and action” (“Healing Soul and Body,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 15).
In your scripture study journal, write in your own words what you think it means to feast upon the words of Christ.
Ponder the difference between the words feast, snack, and starve. Think for a moment about how some less-effective ways of studying the words of Christ might be compared to snacking or even starving.
Fill in the rest of the following principle according to 2 Nephi 32:3: When we feast on the words of Christ, the words of Christ will ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
In your scripture study journal, either write about a time when feasting on the words of Christ helped you know what to do in your life or describe a situation you now face where feasting on the words of Christ could help you.
Fill in the blanks below to evaluate how well you are feasting on the words of Christ and how you might improve. In each of the examples below, write the word—feast, snack, or starve—that best describes how well you seek to know the words of Christ in that setting. For example, you might feast on the scriptures in your personal study but only snack on the words of Christ in general conference.
Personal scripture study: __________________________________________________
Sacrament meeting: __________________________________________________
General conference: __________________________________________________
Family scripture study: __________________________________________________
Family home evening: __________________________________________________
Aaronic Priesthood quorum meeting or Young Women class: __________________________________________________
Sunday School: __________________________________________________
Personal prayer: __________________________________________________
Take a moment to choose one of the activities for which you wrote that you currently “snack” or “starve.” In your scripture study journal, write how you will better feast on the words of Christ in that setting. Then follow through and do it.
Read 2 Nephi 32:4–7, and ponder answers to the following questions (you will be writing your answer to one of the questions for assignment 4):
In verse 4, what do you think it means to “ask” or “knock”? How might prayer be a good example of asking or knocking?
Also in verse 4, what did Nephi say are the consequences for those who will not ask or knock?
In verse 5, what blessing did Nephi promise we can have when we receive the Holy Ghost?
In verse 7, what attitudes did Nephi’s people have that led him to mourn for them? Why do you think these attitudes keep people from searching and understanding “great knowledge”?
Write in your scripture study journal one truth you learned from 2 Nephi 32:4–7, and explain why this truth is important in your life.
Scripture Mastery—2 Nephi 32:3
How long do you think it might take you to memorize 2 Nephi 32:3 if you recite it each time you eat food? Write the verse on a card or small piece of paper, and carry it with you. For the next few days, feast on the words of Christ by seeking to memorize 2 Nephi 32:3 before and after each meal you eat. In your scripture study journal, report on how many meals it took for you to memorize the scripture.
Nephi counsels us to pray always
Many people say that after they have sinned they do not want to pray to Heavenly Father. Think for a moment about why this might be. Who would not want you to pray anytime, especially after you had sinned? Why? Look in 2 Nephi 32:8 for what the Holy Ghost teaches us to do regarding prayer. Ponder the following questions: Why do you think the Lord wants you to pray? Why do you think Satan does not want you to pray?
Read 2 Nephi 32:9, and look for how often we should pray and what blessings the Lord promises us if we pray. As you read this verse, it may be helpful to know that consecrate means to dedicate to the service of God or to make holy.
From 2 Nephi 32:9 we learn this principle: As we pray always, we will be able to do all the Lord would have us do for the welfare of our souls. (Note that 2 Nephi 32:8–9 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)
Ponder what it means to pray always. As you read the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, underline one or more ways we can fulfill the command to “pray always”:
“There may be things in our character, in our behavior, or concerning our spiritual growth about which we need to counsel with Heavenly Father in morning prayer. After expressing appropriate thanks for blessings received, we plead for understanding, direction, and help to do the things we cannot do in our own strength alone. …
“During the course of the day, we keep a prayer in our heart for continued assistance and guidance. …
“We notice during this particular day that there are occasions where normally we would have a tendency to speak harshly, and we do not; or we might be inclined to anger, but we are not. We discern heavenly help and strength and humbly recognize answers to our prayer. Even in that moment of recognition, we offer a silent prayer of gratitude.
“At the end of our day, we kneel again and report back to our Father. We review the events of the day and express heartfelt thanks for the blessings and the help we received. We repent and, with the assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, identify ways we can do and become better tomorrow. Thus our evening prayer builds upon and is a continuation of our morning prayer. And our evening prayer also is a preparation for meaningful morning prayer.
“Morning and evening prayers—and all of the prayers in between—are not unrelated, discrete events; rather, they are linked together each day and across days, weeks, months, and even years. This is in part how we fulfill the scriptural admonition to ‘pray always’ (Luke 21:36; 3 Nephi 18:15, 18; D&C 31:12). Such meaningful prayers are instrumental in obtaining the highest blessings God holds in store for His faithful children” (“Pray Always,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 41–42).
Write in your scripture study journal how you think following Elder Bednar’s instructions on how to “pray always” could help you in your life.
To conclude this lesson, read the following testimony from Elder Spencer J. Condie, who was then serving as a member of the Seventy, concerning feasting on the words of Christ: “You may be facing decisions regarding a mission, your future career, and, eventually, marriage. As you read the scriptures and pray for direction, you may not actually see the answer in the form of printed words on the page, but as you read you will receive distinct impressions, and promptings, and, as promised, the Holy Ghost ‘will show unto you all things what ye should do’ [2 Nephi 32:5]” (“Becoming a Great Benefit to Our Fellow Beings,” Ensign, May 2002, 45).
Scripture Mastery—2 Nephi 32:8–9
During the next 24 hours, try to incorporate what you have learned about how to “pray always” into your life. At the beginning of the next lesson, you will be invited to report your thoughts and feelings about this experience. Write in your scripture study journal how striving to “pray always” can make a difference in your prayers.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Nephi 32 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: