Lesson 22: Counseling with the Lord

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 82–84


Objective

Each young woman will seek to draw closer to her Father in Heaven by counseling with him in all things.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Bring paper and pencils for the class members.

  2. 2.

    Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

Each Young Woman Can Counsel with the Lord in All Things

Story

Tell the following story as an example of how a young woman counseled with the Lord:

“As a young girl I saw many sad things happen around me because of alcohol. Our family didn’t belong to the Church. In fact, I had never heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I was twelve years old, I started praying each night that Heavenly Father would help me find someone I could marry who would not have a drinking problem.

“Years later, after I finished nursing school, I got my first job working in a small hospital in a remote town. A few weeks later, a young doctor came to work at the same hospital. From the beginning there was something different about him. One of the other nurses suggested that this doctor was not one to get interested in because he was a Mormon! I asked, ‘What is a Mormon?’ She told me they were a strange religious group who did not use coffee, tea, alcohol, or tobacco. We finished our coffee and went back to work. That was the last cup of coffee I ever drank. I could hardly wait to find out more about the Mormons. The gospel message was what I had been looking for all my life. Within a month I was baptized, and later the young doctor and I were married. My prayers had truly been answered, and life had new meaning.”

Scripture discussion

Have the young women read Alma 37:37. Write “Each young woman can counsel with the Lord in all her doings” on the top of the chalkboard.

  • What do you think it means to counsel with the Lord? (To pray, study, ponder, and listen with your mind and your heart.)

  • How did the young woman in the story counsel with the Lord?

  • What things could you counsel with the Lord about? (Discuss this in detail. Emphasize the need to pray about small, daily challenges as well as serious long-range decisions.)

Teacher presentation

Explain that to counsel with the Lord is to discuss things with him. We tell him the desires and feelings of our hearts and then wait for an answer. We are often so busy that we pray and rush off before there is time for an answer. Sometimes answers do not come immediately or in the way we expect them to come. Sometimes an answer comes, but we don’t accept it because it isn’t the one we want to hear.

Scripture discussion

Have the young women locate and read Doctrine and Covenants 101:7–8.

  • Why was the Lord slow to answer the prayers of the early Saints when they were in trouble?

  • Why are some people more likely to counsel with the Lord when they are in trouble?

  • When something nice happens to you, whom do you tell? Do you suppose your Father in Heaven would like to hear about these things?

Teacher presentation

Point out that our earthly fathers are pleased when we bring them reports of what we are doing, expressing thanks and pleasure as well as seeking guidance about problems. Our Heavenly Father also delights to have us talk and counsel with him.

A Young Woman Needs to Know How to Communicate with the Lord

Activity

Pass out paper and pencils to class members. Ask them to write at the top of their papers: “How to Pray and What to Pray For.”

Explain that our Church leaders have given us some excellent instructions about how we should pray and what we should pray for.

Ask the young women to jot down important ideas from the quotations as they are read. After the reading, discuss what they have written. You may wish to prepare questions that will bring out the important points in the quotations.

Quotations and discussion

President Ezra Taft Benson has suggested some ways to improve our communication with our Heavenly Father:

  1. “1.

    We should pray frequently. We should be alone with our Heavenly Father at least two or three times each day: ‘… morning, mid-day, and evening,’ as the scripture indicates. (Alma 34:21.) In addition, we are told to pray always. (2 Nephi 32:9; D&C 88:126.) This means that our hearts should be full, drawn out in prayer unto our Heavenly Father continually. (Alma 34:27.)

  2. “2.

    We should find an appropriate place where we can meditate and pray. We are admonished that this should be ‘in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.’ (Alma 34:26.) That is, it should be free from distraction, in secret. (3 Nephi 13:5–6.)

  3. “3.

    We should prepare ourselves for prayer. If we don’t feel like praying, then we should pray until we do feel like praying. We should be humble. (D&C 112:10.) We should pray for forgiveness and mercy. (Alma 34:17–18.) We must forgive anyone against whom we have bad feelings. (Mark 11:25.) Yet, the scriptures warn, our prayers will be vain if we ‘turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart [not] of [our] substance. …’ (Alma 34:28.)

  4. “4.

    Our prayers should be meaningful and pertinent. We should not use the same phrases at each prayer. Each of us would become disturbed if a friend said the same few words to us each day, treated the conversation as a chore, and could hardly wait to finish in order to turn on the TV and forget us” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Improving Communication with Our Heavenly Father,” in Prayer [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], p. 111).

President Spencer W. Kimball instructed us on what we should pray about: “We should express joyful and sincere gratitude for past blessings. The Lord has said, ‘And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with.’ (D&C 46:32.) A wonderful and assuring spirit comes over us as we express sincere gratitude to Heavenly Father for our blessings—for the gospel and the knowledge of it that we have been blessed to receive, for the efforts and labors of parents and others in our behalf, for our families and friends, for opportunities, for mind and body and life, for experiences good and helpful throughout our lives, for all of our Father’s helps and kindnesses and answered prayers.

“We can pray for our leaders. …

“The all-encompassing missionary work should be the constant object of our prayers. We pray that the doors of nations will be opened to receive the gospel. We pray for opportunity and guidance to share the glorious gospel news with others. …

“We pray for the frustrated, the disturbed, the sick, those in need, the sinful. We pray for that person we felt was an enemy. … Can anyone long have an enemy when he prays for persons around him about whom he may have hard feelings?

“We pray for wisdom, for judgment, for understanding. We pray for protection in dangerous places, for strength in moments of temptation. We remember loved ones and friends. We utter momentary prayers in word or thought, aloud or in deepest silence. We always have a prayer in our hearts that we may do well in the activities of our day. Can one do evil when honest prayers are in his heart and on his lips?

“We pray over our [families], our neighbors, our jobs, our decisions, our church assignments, our testimonies, our feelings, our goals. …

“But is prayer only one-way communication? No! … At the end of our prayers, we need to do some intense listening—even for several minutes. We have prayed for counsel and help. Now we must ‘be still, and know that [he is] God.’ (Ps. 46:10.)” (“Pray Always,” Ensign, Oct. 1981, pp. 4–5).

The Lord Blesses Us According to Our Needs—Not Always According to Our Wants

Teacher presentation

Explain that although prayers are often answered exactly as we ask them to be, sometimes prayers are answered “no” or in ways we may not understand.

Story

Relate the following true story told by Barbara Perry Haws, daughter of Elder L. Tom Perry:

“One day I received a long-distance call from my brother. I could tell something was wrong because his voice was serious and my brother is rarely serious. He told me that our mother had just suffered a stroke and was in the hospital. The fear I felt was heightened because I was a long way from home. The only thing I could do was pray. After I prayed, I felt such a warmth go through me that I knew everything would be all right. But a few minutes later I received another call. It was my dad; my mom had passed away. At first I could not believe it because the feeling that all was well was so definite. I later realized that everything was as it should be; my mother had lived rather comfortably with cancer for almost four years—long enough to see my father be called to the Council of the Twelve. But that fourth year the cancer was beginning to cause a lot of trouble. She died calmly thirty minutes after the stroke hit. She had lived a full, beautiful life. When I prayed for her I did not know about the expectation of her death or the trouble she was having. So my prayer was definitely answered and everything was all right.”

  • What blessings did this young woman receive because of her prayer?

  • Why is it a blessing that the Lord does not always answer our prayers in the way we expect?

Scripture

Reread Alma 37:37 aloud.

Conclusion

Personal experiences and testimony

Read Doctrine and Covenants 88:63, 83, and consider the wonderful promise made in these verses.

Ask the young women if they have experienced answers to prayers that they would like to share with the class. Conclude by bearing your testimony of the importance of counseling with the Lord regularly and sincerely. You may want to share with the class a brief experience that you have had with prayer. Assure the young women that their Heavenly Father cares greatly for them and desires to help them, but they need to ask him for his help.

Lesson Application

Suggest that the young women make greater efforts to draw close to their Heavenly Father through prayer.