As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.
Before Elder Hugh B. Brown left on a mission, his mother told him:
“Hugh, you remember when you were a little boy and you would have a bad dream or wake up in the night frightened? You would call from your room, ‘Mother, are you there?’ and I would answer and try to comfort you and remove your fears. Now as you go on a mission and out into the world, there will be times when you will be frightened, when you feel weak, inadequate, alone, and have problems. I want you to know that you can call to your Heavenly Father as you used to call to me and say, ‘Father, are you there? I need your help.’ Do this with the knowledge that He is there and that He will be ready to help you if you will do your part and live worthy of your blessings. I want to reassure you that He is there and will answer your prayers and needs for your best good” (told by Marvin J. Ashton, “Know He Is There,”
Ensign, Feb. 1994, 50).
Explain that in this lesson we will study scriptural accounts that can help us develop greater faith that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know and love each of us.
Scripture Discussion and Application
Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.
1. Jesus presents the parable of the unjust judge and the widow.
Read and discuss
Luke 18:1–8. Explain that Jesus presented this parable to a group of Pharisees.
Luke 18:1, why did Jesus give the parable of the unjust judge and the widow? How does this parable teach that we “ought always to pray”? (See Luke 18:1–8.)
Elder James E. Talmage taught, “Jesus did not indicate that as the wicked judge finally yielded to supplication so would God do; but He pointed out that if even such a being as this judge, who ‘feared not God, neither regarded man,’ would at last hear and grant the widow’s plea, no one should doubt that God, the Just and Merciful, will hear and answer” (
Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. , 436).
What does it mean to pray always? (See
Luke 18:7; Alma 34:27.) What blessings can come to us when we pray always? (See Luke 18:7–8; 2 Nephi 32:9; D&C 90:24.)
How is persevering in prayer an act of faith? What should we do when we have persevered in prayer and feel that we have not received an answer?
Elder Richard G. Scott said:
“It is a mistake to assume that every prayer we offer will be answered immediately. Some prayers require considerable effort on our part. …
“When we explain a problem and a proposed solution [to our Heavenly Father], sometimes He answers yes, sometimes no. Often He withholds an answer, not for lack of concern, but because He loves us—perfectly. He wants us to apply truths He has given us. For us to grow, we need to trust our ability to make correct decisions. We need to do what we
feel is right. In time, He will answer. He will not fail us” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1989, 38; or Ensign, Nov. 1989, 30–31).
What have you learned as you have persevered in prayer?
2. A blind man demonstrates his faith and is healed by Jesus.
Read and discuss
Luke 18:35–43. Display the picture of Jesus healing the blind.
How did the blind man near Jericho show that he had faith in the Lord? (See
Luke 18:38–42.) How have you been blessed as you have exercised faith in Jesus Christ?
How did the man show
gratitude when he received his sight? (See Luke 18:43; see also Mark 10:52.) How can we show our gratitude to the Lord?
3. Jesus is received in Zacchaeus’s home.
Read and discuss
Who was Zacchaeus? (See Luke 19:2. Explain that publicans were Jews who worked as tax collectors for the Roman government. The Jews generally disliked the publicans and considered them to be traitors and sinners.)
How did Zacchaeus show his great desire to see Jesus? (See
Luke 19:3–4.) What did Jesus tell Zacchaeus after seeing him in the tree? (See Luke 19:5.) How did Zacchaeus respond to Jesus’ words? (See Luke 19:6.) What can we do to receive the Savior joyfully into our homes?
How did the people react when Jesus went to stay with Zacchaeus? (See
Luke 19:7.) How did Jesus’ response to Zacchaeus differ from the response of the others? (See Luke 19:5.) What can we learn from Jesus’ example in this account?
Many people shunned Zacchaeus because of his profession as a publican (
Luke 19:2, 7; Bible Dictionary, “Publicans,” 755). In what ways do we sometimes make similar judgments against others? Why is it important for us not to exclude others or think we are better than they are? (See Alma 5:54–56; 38:13–14.) How can we overcome unkind feelings against others?
Elder Joe J. Christensen said: “There are those who wake up every morning dreading to go to school, or even to a Church activity, because they worry about how they will be treated. You have the power to change their lives for the better. … The Lord is counting on you to be a builder and give them a lift. Think less of yourself and more about the power you have to assist others, even those within your own
family” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 54; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 39).
4. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
Read and discuss selected verses from
John 11:1–54. Explain that soon after Jesus went to Zacchaeus’s home, he received a message from his friends Mary and Martha that their brother Lazarus, who was also Jesus’ dear friend, was sick ( John 11:1–5). Two days later, Jesus directed his disciples to go with him to Bethany, the city in Judea where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived ( John 11:6–7).
When Jesus returned to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days (
John 11:17). What did Martha do when she heard that Jesus was coming? (See John 11:20.) What impresses you about Martha’s testimony of the Savior’s divine mission? (See John 11:21–27.)
What did Jesus do when he saw Mary and many others weeping? (See
John 11:33–35.) How does this account influence your feelings about Jesus?
Despite her strong testimony, Martha’s faith seemed weak when Jesus asked that the stone be removed from Lazarus’s tomb (
John 11:39). How did Jesus help her? (See John 11:40.) What can we learn from this about what the Lord expects of us?
What can Jesus’ prayer before he raised Lazarus teach us about his relationship with his Father? (See
John 11:41–42.) How can we follow Jesus’ example in our personal and family prayers?
Display the picture of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and invite a class member to read
Jesus had already raised two people from the dead (
Mark 5:22–24, 35–43; Luke 7:11–17). How was raising Lazarus from the dead different from the two previous instances? (The daughter of Jairus and the son of the widow of Nain were raised from the dead soon after their body and spirit had separated. They had not been placed in tombs. Lazarus had been dead for four days, and his body was already in a sepulchre.)
How was the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead a witness of the Savior’s divine mission? What effect did this miracle have on the people who witnessed it? (See
John 11:45–46.) How does this miracle strengthen your faith in the Savior?
Explain that the principles taught in the accounts you have discussed can strengthen our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. After briefly reviewing the accounts, read the following statement by Elder Thomas S. Monson:
“The passage of time has not altered the capacity of
the Redeemer to change men’s lives. As he said to the dead Lazarus, so he says to you and me: ‘… come forth.’ ( John 11:43.) Come forth from the despair of doubt. Come forth from the sorrow of sin. Come forth from the death of disbelief. Come forth to a newness of life. Come forth” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 72; or Ensign, May 1974, 50).
Encourage class members to look for ways in which they can strengthen their faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.