5 Highlights for “Pray, He Is There” by Sister Susan H. Porter

by | Apr 27, 2024

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5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions

See also Teaching Helps

Sister Porter addressed the primary children at the general conference in a sweet, simple style, but every message was also for adults. For this lesson, I’ve included companion quotes by the prophets and apostles for some added depth. It should make a great lesson experience for your class.

You can find her full talk here. Unless you opt to spend a lot of time on a particular quote, try to pick around 2 questions per quote. Choose the questions that resonate the most with you and make a meaningful discussion for your group of personalities. These highlights and questions fit with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.

All blue quotes by Sister Susan H. Porter (unless otherwise noted).

Lesson Prep

At least a week ahead of time, I would assign 2 to 3 people to read a quote from the lesson and be ready to share their thoughts on that quote in class. Try to ask people who don’t speak up all the time. The discussion quality often increases when you give people time to think about the quotes and/or questions.

Please do not worry about covering every quote! Quality discussion makes a lasting impact; sometimes, your group needs to discuss one topic more than another.

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Quote #1 (often)

Possible engagement tool: Tell your class that we will read three quotes. Please listen to how they are similar.

Possible discussion questions: What counsel stands out for you from these three quotes? How has prayer been meaningful for you – what are your feelings about prayer? Have your prayers ever felt like an open and honest conversation? Where is your favorite place to pray? Can we pray too much? What does it mean to “pray always”?

Quote #2 (alone)

Optional 2nd Quote

Possible discussion questions: Have you ever had someone you know unexpectedly answer a prayer? Has anyone ever told you that you were an answer to a prayer? Why is it essential to act on promptings? Why would God sometimes use people to answer each other’s prayers rather than angels? (Accept all reasonable answers and acknowledge/validate attempts to participate – because it increases our experiences, capacities, and love for one another.)

Quote #3 (what)

There’s a big difference between “Why me, Lord?” and “What now, Lord?” One closes the soul down, and the other opens the heart up to inspiration and strengthening experiences.

Optional 2nd Quote

Possible discussion questions: Why is asking the Lord how to move forward more effective than asking why something wrong happened to us in the past? Why is it important to open our hearts and minds to different answers than the one we want? (Because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know the best outcome for you and know much better than we do about what we need.)

Optional – Deepen the Understanding

First, ask: Do bad trials and tragedies happen to very righteous people?

Then read:

Possible discussion question: By a show of hands, has anyone ever had an experience where they knew the Lord was with them during a sore trial? Does anyone mind sharing what happened?

Quote #4 (grow)

Optional 2nd Quote

Often, when faced with big problems, disappointments, overwhelming tasks, and humbling setbacks, I pray to be made equal to or greater than what I face. Problems don’t disappear, but my capacity to tackle them is noticeably increased, and the burden is made much lighter than it would otherwise be.

Possible discussion questions: (Accept all reasonable answers and attempts to participate.) Are we allowed to ask for help with self-improvement? How does God work with us individually? Can prayer help us overcome fear, self-doubt, or worry? Have you ever partnered with God through prayer to become stronger or better? Does anyone have an experience with praying for these things that they would like to share? (Be prepared to share something if you don’t get immediate responses.)

—Just last week, I prayed to have better thoughts about a group of difficult people, and a speaker at a fireside went into great detail about Alma and Amulek in prison and how they responded to their mortal enemies (silence and incredible patience). It sank deep into my heart and was my answer. Then the Spirit strongly prompted me to reread Elder Soares’s recent talk. Again, a quote jumped out and sank deep into my heart. It was just what I needed to hear. I posted several quotes from the fireside and Elder Soares on my office wall and have read them almost every day for the past week. It is a great strength for me. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know us…right to the core of our soul. They want to strengthen and help us – we need to ask and put the work in…but they send plenty of aid.)

Optional – Deepen the Understanding

I wrote this 11 years ago to help people understand the principle Lorenzo Snow taught in the quote above.

Consider Alma 26:12:  “Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.”

“What do you suppose Alma meant when he describes himself as “nothing”? 

Although our eternal potential is great, our current mortal state is especially humble in comparison. We need the Savior’s power and His gospel teachings to strengthen us and make us better individuals than we could be on our own.

“The Savior is an inspirational example of the strength and vigor that comes from honorable and honest humility. Christ is all-powerful, all-knowing, and made worlds without number even before He was born into this world (Hebrews 1:2). The Savior was also the God of the Old Testament. Yet, He describes Himself as meek and lowly of heart (Matt 11:29). We might ask ourselves, “How can someone with so much power and with a vast history of stellar accomplishments be lowly of heart? How do these two qualities exist in the same great Being? 

“Jesus Christ knows all that He has, and all His capacity to act is a gift from the Father. Although the Savior’s stature is infinite and immense, He knows the opportunities, the power, and the abilities He exercises were gifted Him from the Father (John 5:18-20John 17:7-8,24Matthew 28:18). 

“How does that apply to us? First, we come to realize all that we have, the power to be, to act, our talents, and the capacity to develop skills, are gifts given and that by ourselves, we could have affected nothing, not even the ability to exist as a mortal (Mosiah 2:21, 25). With this understanding, we can grow in confidence as we comprehend where to turn as we need more ability, capacity, gifts, understanding, and power to overcome and succeed in this life (D&C 46: 10-14Moroni 10:8-18). And what originally seems like a very humbling idea – “man is nothing” – becomes an exceptionally powerful principle when we follow the Savior’s example (Revelations 3:20-21)” (Shawnie Cannon – July 2013)

Quote #5 (others)

Optional 2nd Quote

Possible discussion questions: Can we ever pray enough for our family members? Why is it important to work on our home life and relationships with family and friends? What has helped you recently with family relationships? Do you have any traditions or customs in your family that strengthen the bonds with each other? What is your best advice about family matters?

Summary

Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Sister Porter’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.

Final Comment

Sister Porter is an exemplary lady. Thank you for studying her talk and preparing yourself for a great discussion with your group. I am grateful for our sister General Conference speakers and the perspectives they bring to the podium.

Teach with confidence, and if you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.” May the Spirit bless and guide your efforts.

PDFs for Download – click the blue word links to view online.

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5 Comments

  1. Mickey

    You are the BEST!! Your site is always my first stop in my lesson preparation.

    Reply
  2. Mickey

    Thank you so much for all you do! It has been a big help in my calling. I was wondering if you’d consider “Pillars and Rays” after Elder Uchtdorf’s talk? Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      Great talk! I’m planning on it after Elder Uchtdorf’s talk, which is mostly done.

      Reply
      • Ashley

        I teach Uchtdorf’s on Sunday! Can’t wait to see it!
        You are amazing! Thank you!

        Reply
        • Shawnie Cannon

          Ashley, it’s up. Good luck with your lesson.

          Reply

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