“Chapter 2: Receiving the Guidance of the Spirit,” The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual Religion 150 (2017)
“Chapter 2: Receiving the Guidance of the Spirit,” The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual
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 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.
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.
Divide the class into six groups and assign each group one of the following scriptures. Ask each group to read their assigned scripture and share with the class what it teaches about the Holy Ghost.
Write Functions of the Holy Ghost on the board. Then ask students to list their responses under the heading.
Invite students to share a personal experience that illustrates one of the roles of the Holy Ghost. Remind students not to share experiences that are too sacred or private.
Ask a student to read 2 Nephi 32:5 aloud. 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.
Ask students to list in their class notebooks or study journals three or four of the most important decisions they face in their lives. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 90:24 aloud. Then ask students to summarize what they should do to receive help from the Spirit of the Lord in each of the decisions they listed.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) 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” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Deep Roots,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 76).
What did Elder Wirthlin say about the certainty of the information we can receive from the Holy Ghost?
Ask a student to read aloud 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,” scriptures.lds.org).
What is the key to having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost? (Worthiness.)
Invite a student to read aloud the statement by President Henry B. Eyring under the section “The guidance of the Holy Ghost …” in the student manual.
What can we do to be worthy of the influence of the Holy Ghost?
Ask two students to take turns reading aloud the last two paragraphs of the statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin under the section “The guidance of the Holy Ghost …” in the student manual.
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 righteous living, scripture study, prayer, following the living prophets, keeping baptismal covenants, practicing charity, and disciplining our thoughts.) Ask students to list responses on the board, and encourage them to explain the importance of each suggestion as it is made. Invite them to take notes from the discussion.
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. Ask a student to read aloud the statement by President James E. Faust under the section “Prayer is a means …” in the student manual.
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?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Heber J. Grant (1856–1945):
“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” (Heber J. Grant, in Conference Report, Oct. 1944, 9).
Why is prayer important to one who desires the guidance of the Spirit?
Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) regarding the relationship between prayer and the Spirit. Invite the rest of the class to listen for each question President Benson 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” (Ezra Taft Benson, “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 to complete. 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 a lasting impact on their lives and on the lives of their future families. Help students learn confidence in recognizing the Lord’s answers to their prayers so that daily they will humbly turn to Him.
Invite students to turn to Elder Richard G. Scott’s general conference address, “Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer,” under the section “Prayer is a means …” in the student manual. There are ten questions inserted throughout the address for students to consider. You may want to write the first two or three questions on the board and then ask students if they have ever pondered them.
Invite students to use Elder Scott’s address as a resource to answer the ten questions. You may want to divide your class into groups and ask each group to search for answers to one or more of the questions. Invite each group to share what they learn with the rest of the class.
Ask students to review the “Application and Examples” section in 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 their class notebooks or study journals.