Gordon B. Hinckley Chapter 6: How Mighty a Thing Is Prayer is such an excellent reminder about a simple gospel principle. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminded us last General Conference, we sometimes take the most important and sacred things and begin treating them as commonplace. This chapter reminds us of what a wonderous gift prayer is and just how powerful it can be.
President Hinckley repeatedly stated throughout this chapter how powerful prayer can be. He said, "Believe in the power and majesty of prayer." Prayer is amazing! We do it every day, every meal, at every activity so we may start to forget to notice just how powerful it can actually be. We forget to see with our spiritual eyes and start to overlook the small answers to our prayers and eventually the larger ones. We forget to write down the answers when we do notice them and eventually if we aren't careful, we start to wonder if prayer works like we used to believe it did. Take advantage of the opportunity in this chapter to remember how amazing prayer is and notice again all the answers you do receive as a result of your faithful prayers.
Questions to Ponder
Some of these questions are from the manual, others are ones that I thought of- use them in your preparation, lesson, or to help you think of your own.
- How has prayer helped you grow closer to Heavenly Father?
- When has prayer helped you find "wisdom beyond [your] own"?
- How has prayer brought you "comfort and consolation"?
- Why should some of your prayers be "conversations of thanksgiving"? (see section 1)
- How has your family been blessed through praying together?
- What are some obstacles to consistent family prayer? How can you work with your family to overcome these obstacles?
- How can President Hinckley's teachings in section 3 help you make your prayers more meaningful?
- What are some ways Heavenly Father has answered your prayers?
- How does prayer bring us "into partnership with God"?
- How does remembering who we are impact the way we approach God in prayer?
- How can you increase your faith in prayer?
- What does, "Pray to the Lord with the expectation of answers" mean to you? (section 3)
- Why do you think God answers prayers in different ways?
- How can prayer save the world?
Here are some articles and other things to study as you continue to prepare for your lesson. They should NOT replace the manual but rather help answer questions and strengthen your own testimony so that it is easy to teach with confidence and answer questions that arise during your lesson.
"Priesthood and Personal Prayer" by President Henry B. Eyring
"Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer" by Elder Richard G. Scott
"Sweet Power of Prayer" by President Russell M. Nelson
"Prayer and Promptings" by President Boyd K. Packer
"The Privilege of Prayer" by Elder J. Devn Cornish
"Pray Always" by Elder David A. Bednar
"Prayer" by President Henry B. Eyring
"The Power of Family Prayer" by Elder John H. Groberg
"Ask in Faith" by Elder David A. Bednar
Prayer (about 4 minutes)- One woman's example of how prayer can work miracles.
The Hope of God's Light (about 7 minutes)- Is God giving us small but obvious answers?
Sermon on the Mount: The Lord's Prayer (about 2 1/2 minutes)- Bible Video
Wrong Roads (about 4 minutes)- Don't jump ship when something doesn't seem to be going right.
Prayer (about 4 minutes)- Clip from a General Conference talk from President Thomas S. Monson
These are my ideas. Every class is different and needs different things so I try to provide a few different ideas in hope that as you read through, you will find some inspiration of your own.
- Begin your lesson by writing common problems that many are looking for answers to on the board- start with an idea of your own then ask your class for some. Examples: How can I have a more peaceful home? How can I overcome this temptation? How in the world am I going to pay the next bill? How can I help Kathy who is struggling with doubts about the church? Prayer will solve these problems. The problem won't go away as soon as you say "Amen" but if you listen you will get inspiration on how to fix these problems.
- Do you remember the story about the Israelites being plagued with fiery serpents? You can find it in Numbers 21. Essentially the Israelites get in trouble again and fiery serpents are sent. The Israelites eventually come to Moses and ask what they can do to make things right again. Moses prays and the Lord tells him to make a fiery serpent of brass and put it on a pole. Those that are bitten can then look on the pole and live. We find out in 1 Nephi 17:41 and Alma 33:18-22 that there are many who will not even look because they don't believe it will work- it is too simple. They don't even try! President Hinckley says in Chapter 6, "How mighty a thing is prayer." Prayer is powerful and the above handout is true- prayer can save the world. In section 2, President Hinckley says, "We could not expect a miracle in a day, but in a generation we would have a miracle." Prayer is a simple thing to do but it is mighty. Will you dismiss prayer or try it? Then talk about why prayer is the answer (section 2).
- This year's youth theme is James 1:5-6. President Hinckley talks about this scripture in section 3 as well. You can tie in the theme and many great resources that are available with this lesson. The Red Headed Hostess has an entire Teach the Theme packet with posters, activity, bookmarks, etc. You definitely wouldn't use all of it for this lesson but if you have youth, it'd be great to use for Family Home Evenings this year as well. Alexa Z Designs has this simple but great poster of the scripture too. Or play the youth theme video or song in your class.
- Discuss these 5 Ways to Make Your Prayers More Meaningful and challenge your class to use the Prayer Thoughts notepad for 1 week. Even better- challenge a few people beforehand to use the notepad the week or two prior to your lesson and share their results in your class (or find someone that already does this). Prayer is mighty when we allow it to be.
- Trusting the Lord is part of the power of prayer. Ask your class to fill out one of these sticky notes as they enter the classroom and stick their answer on the board. Begin your lesson discussing the answers and how Proverbs 3:5-6 relates to this chapter.
- Use this booklet version of the scripture found in Alma 37:37 to divide into groups. Give each group part of the verse and have them discuss its meaning and why it's important. Don't like groups? Give the assignment to individuals ahead of time and ask them to share their thoughts with the class instead.
- One of my favorite scriptures is in D&C 10:5. Use the free poster to go with this scripture in your class.
- Compare a mother waiting for an email from her missionary child every week to how we might approach prayer. Do we have the same sense of excitement, worry, anticipation, eagerness, etc.? Does the mother ever forget to read the email? Does she read it and say, that's nice but not respond? Does she share the email with others? How can we change our attitude towards prayer so that it becomes something we do not want to be without? What other comparisons can you draw?
- Listen to four more ideas in the video above including a different way you can use my free handout above. You can use my Prayer Thoughts free printable for the journaling idea.
- In D&C 25:12 it says, "The song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." This lesson would be a great opportunity for a special musical number. There are several great hymns about prayer as well as the youth theme album and even this song from Hilary Weeks. Need help figuring out when you want to use your musical number? See this post for ideas.
- "The marvelous thing is you don't have to be a genius to pray." (see section 3). Ask some talented or well educated people in your class what they had to do in order to know what they know now- schooling, practicing, tests, etc. Then ask what do we have to do in order to pray. We just need to know the basics- how to open it and close it preferably using polite language. There is no test to pass, no real things to memorize, and if our personal prayers are not perfectly worded, it doesn't even matter. What matters is the intent in which it is given.
- I've got more ideas! Tune in to my Live Facebook video soon!
See hymns listed under the topic of Prayer.