Relief Society Lesson 2: Pray Always

Due to a scheduling snafu (my bad) this lesson was due to go up next week, but I’ve learned that many Relief Societies are teaching this lesson tomorrow. So, I wanted to throw up a few thoughts, quotes, and links gathered from the collected input of Exponent bloggers on the subject of prayer, in the hopes that something here might be useful. We would love your input as well! Please comment if you have ideas on how to teach this lesson. Let’s use this post as a chance to share thoughts and approaches.

EmilyCC suggests that a great place to go for thoughts about how to teach on prayer is the Exponent archives. This is what I’ve found.

Rachel:

I read the manual version today, and was interested in ETB’s remark that “After making a request through prayer, we have a responsibility to assist in its being granted. We should listen. Perhaps while we are on our knees, the Lord wants to counsel us.” It reminded me of something the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said about the lily in the field:

“But the lily who is the teacher is profound. It does not enter into conversation with thee, it keeps silent, and by keeping silent it would signify to thee that thou art before God, that thou shouldst remember that thou art before God—that thou also in seriousness and truth mightest become silent before God.”

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RS Lesson #1: Love the Lord

Chapter 1: The Great Commandment—Love the Lord
Click for French Translation/Traduction en français
Click for Spanish Translation/Traducción española por Denisse Gómez

President Benson defined loving God as, “To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—to a love of the Lord.

The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one’s life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord. “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord,” said Alma, “yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36).”

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Visiting Teaching Message January 2015: The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Obedient Son

Guest post by Hope
This is Hope’s first guest post at the Exponent. She is an Alaskan girl who loves the adventure of living in New England. In her spare time, she likes to go on adventures, eat good food, and read good books. She is currently on a quest to organize her whole apartment before her next semester begins.

 


The formal Visiting Teaching Message for January 2015 can be found here.

 

“And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” (Moses 5:6)Praying woman handsI have always loved this story. It is simple in the way I wish obedience really were. A few years ago, I realized that in the depths of this highly independent, warrior-feminist heart, lived a very obedient soul. I was even more surprised to find that I didn’t know what that meant.We talk about obedience as the first law of heaven. Our scriptures are littered with examples of staunch, unwavering, seemingly senseless obedience. We pose impossible situations to ourselves and one another, routinely testing the theoretical limits of our own convictions. Would I, like Abraham, sacrifice my son? Would I share my husband? Would I build a boat? Would I kill Laban?
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Relief Society Lesson: The Life and Ministry of Ezra Taft Benson

A challenge with all of the Presidents of the Church manuals is to relate male life and leadership experiences to the life of the sisters in a local and modern day Relief Society.  The overview of the life of President Benson provided in the manual contains sufficient information for multiple lessons. In an attempt to manage the extensive material and relate it to the lives of women I have highlighted favorite stories from most subsections of the overview and have also provided links and summaries to supplemental lesson resources that provide additional insight into the marriage partnership of Flora and Ezra Benson.

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Visiting Teaching Message December 2014: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Prince of Peace

Click for French Translation/Traduction en français

In what ways does the Savior bring peace to your life?

ww2-warbonds-christmas-adThis is the question posed at the end of the formal December 2014 Visiting Teaching message. Most often the end questions don’t seem to apply to me or the women I visit teach, but I appreciate the idea of inquiry, and the admonition to “seek to know what to share” that is included in the precursory section of each Visiting Teaching message. So I read them, and think about them even if I end up not using them. But…. I thought about that query…. and I thought about Christmas…. and I thought about women through the ages.

I also have a thing for history. I love it. Drawn to the Egyptians as a child, I grew curious about the World Wars as a teen as I wondered about George Santayana’s statement “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I grew to believing Santayana, so began a life-long love in seeking the wisdom, hindsight and experiences of those gone before me. Indeed, it surprises no one who knows me that I listen to a collection of dated audio recordings, including my Christmas favourite, Bing Crosby’s 1944 Live Christmas Broadcast.

There is something nostalgically sad, yet hopefully longing and strangely beautiful  to me about Christmas in wartime.

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On Welcoming.

Welcoming

A few years ago, my friend called me up and told me about the beautiful testimony meeting she had just experienced, that left her feeling the spirit more strongly than ever before. The one detail I remember now is that a lesbian sister spoke from her pain and her faith. I was surprised to discover later that the same meeting that meant so much to my friend, caused other members to walk out of the chapel, audibly voicing their distaste. I thought of these things again after a somewhat unfortunate series of events re-demonstrated that words that may be a balm for some may be a source of discomfort, fear, or anger for others. It has made me wonder if this will always be the case, and how a real unity–allowing for real differences–may be developed. It also made me remember something that I wrote here before, about belonging.

In that previous post, I wrote about a friend who was confident of God’s love, but didn’t quite feel like she belonged in her ward, because she was over a certain age, with a PhD, but without a husband or child. I wrote too, about another dear person to me, who had a husband and many children, but similarly felt the not-belonging feelings because she was older than many in her ward. And then I wrote about me, and how I have felt the feeling before, too, including during the period when I biked to church alone, and didn’t know who I would sit by, because my husband was in another state, with a relative who was not well. In my own instance, a dear women literally made room for me by scooting over, and inviting me to sit with her family. I felt the welcome.

So when I was recently asked to speak to the women in my ward about fellowshipping, I wanted to speak to all of these things. There are a myriad of reasons why someone might not feel like they belong. One of them is that they may feel like their truest thoughts and feelings don’t belong. It is why I was so grateful for President Uchtdorf’s remarks in his talk, “Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth” at this last General Conference.

The printed version includes the subject heading “There Is No Litmus Test.”

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