Exceeding Great and Precious Promises by David A. Bednar Lesson Plan

Here is the the paragraph of instruction that the Church provides on lds.org, regarding Elder Bednar’s Talk, Exceeding Great and Precious Promises.

To help members of your Relief Society or quorum discuss Elder Bednar’s message, you could put pictures on the board to represent the Sabbath, the temple, and our homes. Invite members to read the corresponding sections of Elder Bednar’s message and write on the board how the Sabbath day, the temple, and our homes help us focus on God’s promises to us. What things in our lives might pull our attention away from these promises? What steps can we take to make sure that we remember them?

Bednar’s talk starts,

“One of the great challenges each of us faces every day is to not allow the concerns of this world to so dominate our time and energy that we neglect the eternal things that matter most.”

I am using this as the thesis of this lesson: working on focusing on eternal matters and relationships and not being distracted by less important items that eat our time.

The title of this talk comes from 2 Peter 1:3-4,

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

In these verses, Peter tells us that we are given exceeding great and precious promises through knowing Christ. This is what we should focus our spiritual life on.

How do we know Christ? Are you growing your knowledge of Christ? How? Do you know more of Him today than yesterday? A year ago? Is your relationship with Him more intimate? Is there evidence of continued growth? What does that look like in your life?

Bednar speaks about sacred time and sacred space. He puts the Sabbath in the “sacred time” category, the temple in the “sacred space” category, and our homes in both categories. This feels very naturally Venn Diagram-like. As a class activity, I’d probably draw a couple of large overlapping circles on the board and ask the class to help fill them in.

In each circle, the class could list other kinds of sacred time/space in the circles. For example, holidays, family events like baptisms, or daily personal prayer might be considered sacred time.

Where and when do you work on developing a relationship with Christ? Has that changed throughout your life? 

I will not spend any lesson time here on Sabbath because we’ll be getting a lesson dedicated solely on the Sabbath every month for the next while. I don’t think the class will mind.

The Temple

Concerning the “great and precious promises” Peter speaks of in the verses above, President Bonnie D. Parkin states,

“Covenants—or binding promises between us and Heavenly Father—are essential for our eternal progression. Step-by-step, He tutors us to become like Him by enlisting us in His work. At baptism we covenant to love Him with all our hearts and love our sisters and brothers as ourselves. In the temple we further covenant to be obedient, selfless, faithful, honorable, charitable. We covenant to make sacrifices and consecrate all that we have. Forged through priesthood authority, our kept covenants bring blessings to fill our cups to overflowing. How often do you reflect that your covenants reach beyond mortality and connect you to the Divine? Making covenants is the expression of a willing heart; keeping covenants, the expression of a faithful heart.”

How has the temple been a sacred space for you? Do you have an experience to share when you’ve felt closer to Christ in the temple? Do you reflect on your covenants made there?

The Home

I think I’d want to spend more lesson time here, after all, we typically have more opportunities to be at home than we do at the temple.

Chieko Okazaki stated,

“There is great diversity in LDS homes. But all of these homes can be righteous homes where individuals love each other, love the Lord, and strengthen each other.”

How do you make your home a sacred space? What distractions exist there? How do you cut through those distractions?

When I first read “eternal things that matter most” at the beginning of the talk, my thoughts went straight to our relationships: family, friends. Those relationships are what will help us in the hard times in our life and what we’ll carry with us to the next.

How do you improve your relationships with your family and friends. Has there been a time when you’ve had to really work to repair a broken relationship? How did you do that?

Photo by Keith Rawley. Used under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Other related lesson plans on sacred space, time, and Christ in our archives:

TopHat

TopHat is putting her roots down in the Bay Area with her husband and three children. She loves the earth, yarn, and bicycling.

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1 Response

  1. Kelly says:

    Thank you for this – I was assigned to lead the discussion for this talk and am grateful for the help! Are you planning on lesson helps with the talks from this month’s conference? I look forward to reading through them!

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