The Guidance of the Spirit

The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual Religion 150, (2004), 7–10


Because there are many false voices clamoring for our attention, we need to recognize personal revelation from God. Properly preparing ourselves to receive the Spirit is essential to spiritual communication. The Holy Ghost gives comfort, peace, and direction to our lives in both temporal and spiritual matters. Help your students understand the role of the Holy Ghost and how to recognize the promptings of the Spirit. As we learn to recognize and follow the guidance of the Spirit, we can avoid those areas that are a waste of time or of little importance.

Family prayer

Principles to Understand

  • The Holy Ghost can bring comfort, peace, and direction to our lives.

  • The guidance of the Holy Ghost is available to all worthy members of the Church.

  • Prayer is a means to receive the guidance of the Spirit.

Teaching Suggestions

The Holy Ghost can bring comfort, peace, and direction to our lives.

Divide the following scriptures among the students. Have them read the scripture and share with the class what it teaches about the Holy Ghost. List their responses on the board under the title Functions of the Holy Ghost.

Invite students to share a personal experience that illustrates one of the roles of the Holy Ghost.

Read 2 Nephi 32:5 with the students. Write on the board “The Holy Ghost … will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:5). Give students one minute to memorize the phrase and the reference. Then erase the phrase and allow two or three volunteers to quote the phrase and give the reference.

Have students list in the “Notes and Impressions” section of their student manual three or four of the most important decisions they face in their lives. Read Doctrine and Covenants 90:24 and have them summarize what they should do to receive help from the Spirit of the Lord in each of the decisions listed.

Share the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“[The Holy Ghost] is a revelator and teacher who conveys information to our spirits with far more certainty than is possible by our natural senses. He can guide us in every choice and decision and never will deceive or mislead us. He is a comforter who brings peace to our souls in times of need” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 100; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 76).

Ask: What did Elder Wirthlin say about the certainty of the information we can receive from the Holy Ghost?

The guidance of the Holy Ghost is available to all worthy members of the Church.

Share the following teaching:

“The power of the Holy Ghost can come upon a person before baptism and witness that the gospel is true. But the right to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, whenever one is worthy, is a gift that can be received only by the laying on of hands by a Melchizedek Priesthood holder after authorized baptism into the true Church of Jesus Christ” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Holy Ghost,” 113).

Ask: What is the key to having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost? (Worthiness.)

Invite students to read Elder Henry B. Eyring’s statement on page 8 of the student manual.

Ask: What can we do to be worthy of the influence of the Holy Ghost?

Have a student read the last two paragraphs of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin’s statement on pages 8–9 of the student manual. Then ask:

  • What did Elder Wirthlin say can hamper the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives?

  • What have you found that you must do regularly to invite the Spirit? (Responses may include such activities as righteous living, scripture study, prayer, following the living prophets, keeping baptismal covenants, charity, and disciplining our thoughts. Invite students to list responses on the board. Encourage them to explain the importance of each suggestion as it is made. Encourage them to make notes from the discussion in the “Notes and Impressions” section of their student manual.)

Prayer is a means to receive the guidance of the Spirit.

If you used the final question of the previous teaching suggestion, you may want to refer students to the list of practices they suggested would invite the Spirit into their lives. Read with them the statement from President James E. Faust on page 9 of the student manual. Ask:

  • What practice did President Faust emphasize in both his third and fourth point?

  • Was prayer on your list of actions that invite the Spirit? Why, or why not?

Have a student read the following statement from President Heber J. Grant:

“The minute a man stops supplicating God for his spirit and directions just so soon he starts out to become a stranger to him and his works. When men stop praying for God’s spirit, they place confidence in their own unaided reason, and they gradually lose the spirit of God, just the same as near and dear friends, by never writing to or visiting with each other, will become strangers. We should all pray that God may never leave us alone for a moment without his spirit to aid and assist us in withstanding sin and temptation” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1944, 9).

Ask: Why is prayer important to one who desires the guidance of the Spirit?

Share the following statement from President Ezra Taft Benson regarding the relationship between prayer and the Spirit. As you read this prophet’s counsel, invite students to listen for each question he asks and think about how they would answer.

“When you pray—when you talk to your Heavenly Father—do you really talk out your problems with Him? Do you let Him know your feelings, your doubts, your insecurities, your joys, your deepest desires—or is prayer merely an habitual expression with the same words and phrases. Do you ponder what you really mean to say? Do you take time to listen to the promptings of the Spirit? Answers to prayer come most often by a still voice and are discerned by our deepest, innermost feelings. I tell you that you can know the will of God concerning yourselves if you will take the time to pray and to listen” (“To ‘the Rising Generation,’” New Era, June 1986, 8).

(Note: The following teaching suggestion emphasizes the value of learning to hear the Spirit in order to recognize the Lord’s response to our prayers. Because of its length, it may take the majority of class time. Elder Richard G. Scott’s counsel is especially pertinent to young adults because they are arriving at many crossroads where they face decisions that will have lasting impact on their lives and on the lives of their future families. Help your students learn confidence in recognizing the Lord’s answers to their prayers so that daily they will humbly turn to Him.)

Prior to class you may want to write on the board the first two or three subtitle questions inserted in Elder Richard G. Scott’s general conference address (see student manual, pages 10–12). Ask students if they have ever pondered these questions.

Use Elder Scott’s conference address as a resource to answer the ten subtitle questions inserted throughout the talk in the student manual. You may want to divide your class into groups and have each group search for answers to one or more of the questions. Invite the groups to share what they learn with the rest of the class. As you progress through the questions, add them to those already listed on the board.

Suggested Student Assignments

  • Have students review the “Application and Examples” section of the student manual and answer the questions listed there.

  • Invite students to ponder how they can invite the Spirit into their lives. Ask them to record their thoughts in the “Notes and Impressions” section of their student manual.