“8: Inviting the Spirit As You Teach,” Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching (1999), 45–46
“8,” Teaching, No Greater Call, 45–46
As a teacher, you can prepare an environment that invites the Spirit to attend your teaching. Then the Spirit can bear witness of the truthfulness of the principles you teach. The following suggestions will help you invite the Spirit as you teach.
The Lord has said, “Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing—yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof” (D&C 19:38). Prayer encourages reverence and helps us prepare to learn the gospel. Those you teach should take turns offering prayers before and after each lesson. In their prayers, they may ask for the guidance of the Spirit during the lesson and as they apply the truths they have learned.
As you teach, pray in your heart for the Spirit to guide you, to open the hearts of the learners, and to testify and inspire. Occasionally you might invite learners to pray in their hearts for you as the teacher and for themselves and others who are striving to learn (see 3 Nephi 20:1).
If you teach small children, you can do much to help them feel reverent as they prepare for prayer. You can remind them to sit quietly. You can fold your arms to set an example. You can teach the language of prayer, helping them use the words Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine in place of you and your. Until they learn to use their own words, you can prompt them as they pray. You can thank children for the prayers they have offered and comment briefly and thoughtfully about what they have said.
The teachings in the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets have great power to help us feel the influence of the Spirit (see “The Power of the Word,” pages 50–51). The Lord said:
“These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
“For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them;
“Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words” (D&C 18:34–36).
As you bear testimony of the principles you teach, the Holy Ghost can witness to each person of the truth of what you say (see “Teaching with Testimony,” pages 43–44). Testify whenever the Spirit prompts you to do so, not just at the end of each lesson. Provide opportunities for those you teach to bear their testimonies.
Our testimonies are often strengthened because of experiences we have. Perhaps you have had an experience that has strengthened your testimony that Heavenly Father answers prayers. Or you may have been blessed for obeying a certain commandment. When you share such experiences, you are a living witness of gospel truths, and the Spirit can bear witness to others that what you say is true. In addition to sharing your own experiences, you should encourage learners to share their experiences as they feel comfortable doing so (see “Stories,” pages 179–82).
Music enables us to express spiritual feelings that we may have difficulty expressing through the spoken word. Elder Boyd K. Packer said that “we are able to feel and learn very quickly through music … some spiritual things that we would otherwise learn very slowly” (“The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord,” Ensign, Aug. 1976, 61).
Church hymns and Primary songs teach gospel principles. You can use them in almost any lesson to introduce or summarize an idea. Primary songs allow children to bear their testimonies simply and beautifully. (See “Music,” pages 172–74.)
For ideas on how to use sacred music in Church meetings, in the home, and in your personal life, read the preface to the hymnbook (see Hymns, pages ix–x).
You can express love for those you teach by listening attentively to them and being sincerely interested in their lives. Christlike love has the power to soften hearts and help people be receptive to the whisperings of the Spirit (see “Love Softens Hearts,” pages 31–32).
For more on teaching by the Spirit, see lesson 3 in the Teaching the Gospel course (pages 198–202).