This is the second of four lessons on Doctrine and Covenants 88. The portion of the revelation discussed in this lesson was given at a conference of high priests in Kirtland, Ohio, on December 27 and 28, 1832. It includes Jesus Christ’s explanation of how God governs His creations and an invitation for us to draw near to Him.
Display a picture of stars, such as The Lord Created All Things (Gospel Art Book , no. 2; see also LDS.org), or draw some stars on the board.
Have you ever looked at the stars and thought about God and His creations? What questions or thoughts have you pondered as you have gazed at the sky?
Point out that when people contemplate the vastness of God’s creations, they sometimes feel small and insignificant. They may wonder whether God is aware of them. Tell students that as they discuss the verses in today’s lesson, they will see that even as God governs a vast number of creations throughout the heavens, He is aware of each one of us and wants to draw near to us.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:41 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how this verse shows that God has the power to govern all His creations and yet be aware of each of us individually.
How does this verse show that God has the power to be aware of each of us and our needs?
Invite another student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:42–45 aloud. Ask the class to identify how God governs His creations.
How does God govern His creations? (By His laws.)
Invite students to think about one of God’s creations that amazes them. Invite a few students to share their thoughts. As an example, you could display an object or picture that represents one of God’s creations and explain why that creation amazes you.
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:46–47 silently and look for what we are seeing when we view the creations of God.
What are we seeing when we view even the least of God’s creations? (Students may use different words, but their answers should express the following principle: When we view God’s creations, we see His majesty and power. Write this principle on the board.)
How do the creations you see in the heavens and on the earth influence your testimony of God?
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:48–50 silently. After sufficient time, ask one of them to summarize the verses in their own words.
Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 88:51–60 contains a parable that helps us understand God’s interactions with the kingdoms, or worlds, He has created. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:51–55 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the man in the parable commanded each of his servants to do and what he promised each of his servants.
What did the man command his servants to do? What did he promise his servants? (He commanded them to work in his field. He promised that he would visit them each in turn.)
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:56–60 by explaining that in the parable, the lord of the field visited each of his servants when it was their turn. Each servant “received the light of the countenance of their lord, every man in his hour” (D&C 88:58).
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:61 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what this parable teaches us about how God interacts with the kingdoms He has created.
What does this parable teach about how God interacts with the kingdoms He has created? (Help students identify the following doctrine: God will visit each of His kingdoms and their inhabitants in His time. Write this doctrine on the board.)
Point out that the Lord has come to His kingdom on this earth and that He will come again and reign here during the Millennium. In Doctrine and Covenants 88:62–69, the Lord teaches what we can do so that He will draw near to us now. Invite students to ponder the following questions:
How close do you feel to the Lord? Would you like to feel closer to Him?
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:62–63 silently, looking for things we can do to invite the Lord to draw near to us.
What principle do these verses teach about drawing near to the Lord? (As students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we draw near to the Lord, then He will draw near to us.)
What words in verse 63 teach about how we can draw near to the Lord? (Seek, ask, and knock.)
Point out that the words seek, ask, and knock are action words.
What are some actions that have helped you seek, ask, and knock in order to draw nearer to the Lord?
To help students understand one way they can draw near to the Lord, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball , 67).
To help students increase in their understanding of how Heavenly Father answers their prayers, read Doctrine and Covenants 88:64–65 aloud. Invite students to follow along and look for the Savior’s promise to us if we pray to the Father in His name.
In this verse, what does the Savior teach about how Heavenly Father answers our prayers? (Help students identify the following principle: Heavenly Father answers our prayers in the ways that He knows are best for us. Write this principle on the board.)
To help students understand this principle, you may want to give them a copy of the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite a student to read the statement aloud, and ask the class to follow along and identify what we should do when Heavenly Father answers a prayer in a way that is different from what we hope or expect.
“It is so hard when sincere prayer about something you desire very much is not answered the way you want. It is difficult to understand why your exercise of deep and sincere faith from an obedient life does not grant the desired result. … At times it is difficult to recognize what is best or expedient for you over time. Your life will be easier when you accept that what God does in your life is for your eternal good” (“Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 9).
Consider inviting a few students to share an experience they have had when Heavenly Father has answered their prayers with what was best for them. You may wish to share an experience as well.
Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 88:66, we learn that one way God communicates with us is “as the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:66 silently, looking for how God’s voice reaches us.
According to this verse, how is the voice of God like “the voice of one crying in the wilderness”?
When have you felt that God has been near to you even though you have not seen Him?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:67–69 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for additional ways we can draw near to the Lord. Ask students to report what they find.
Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If my eye is single to God’s glory, then …
Invite students to complete the statement using what they have learned from verse 67. The statement could read as follows: If my eye is single to God’s glory, then I will be filled with light. You may want to suggest that students mark this principle as it appears in Doctrine and Covenants 88:67.
What do you think it means for your eye to “be single to [the Lord’s] glory”? (As students respond to this question, they may mention different specific examples. Ensure that they understand that in general, the phrase means to be fully devoted to the work and purposes of God.)
Think of people you know who seem to be filled with the Lord’s light. In what ways do you see this light in them?
According to verse 68, what do we need to do for our minds to be single to God? (You may want to explain that the phrase “sanctify yourselves” refers to our need to be purified and cleansed from sin. We become sanctified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the influence of the Holy Ghost as we repent of our sins, receive priesthood ordinances, and keep our covenants.)
Invite students to reread the doctrines and principles you have written on the board. Then ask them to imagine they are gazing at the stars with a friend who feels that God is not aware of him or her. Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals what they would say to their friend, using the principles on the board. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share what they have written. You may want to conclude by reading the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. You could also share your testimony of God’s influence in your life as you have made efforts to draw near to Him.
“My dear brothers and sisters, … at times we may … feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him! …
“God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him” (“You Matter to Him,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 22).