Being Spiritually Ready to Teach

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2000

There are many ways we can prepare ourselves to be spiritually ready to teach.  These are:

·        Seek the gift of charity.

·        Seek the spirit.

·        Develop a personal plan for studying the gospel.

·        Live what you teach.

·        Be called, set apart, and magnified

Seek the Gift of Charity

Why do we need the gift of charity?  The Apostle Paul answers this question in

1 Corinthians 13:1-3.  He states:

1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity,  I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

We obtain charity by:

·        Praying to filled with love.

·        Giving service.

·        Look for the good in others

·        See:  Charity, What is It and How to Develop It

Click here à

Seek the Spirit

What we are hoping to obtain is the Spirit to be with us, not only during our lessons, but throughout our lives!  We can best do this by:

·        Keeping the commandments.

·        Being clean in mind and keep our physical temples clean.

·        Remembering the Savior throughout the day.

·        Repenting of our sins.

·        Seeking out things that are “virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy.”

·        Study the scriptures daily.

·        Attend church and the temple, and participate in the sacrament.

·        Avoid anything that will cause the Spirit to leave.

Seek to Obtain the Word

Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men. D&C 11:21

Study the scriptures and the words of the prophets.  “…treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.”  D&C 84:85 

Have faith that the principles you study are true.  “…thou shall not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God-”  D&C 19:25

Live the principles that you have studied.  John 7:17  “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”

We as teachers are not only responsible for the lesson we are to teach each week, but we have a responsibility to ourselves to read our s daily.  We are also to read our adult Sunday School lesson material, and the material being covered by the Relief Society or  Priesthood lesson.  We are to find time during each month to read the Ensign.

Not only do we need to read these things, but must take time to ponder them to allow the Lord to enlarge our knowledge of these things.  If we choose to only read the material and leave it at that, we only gain the basics and never receive the meat or greater understanding the Lord has promised us if we will but ponder or think these things through in our minds after we have read them.  If we do these things the Lord is able to bring to our remembrance the information we have gained to help us teach our learners. 

As our knowledge is enlarged by the Lord through our ponderings, we also receive a testimony of that information, therefore our testimony of the church and its teachings are also enlarged and we are able to testify to our learners that we know that these things are true.  

The most important benefit we receive from pondering the scriptures and our lessons with the Lord is gaining a closer relationship and knowledge of the Lord.  We come to know how He thinks and feels about these things.  Best of all, we grow a personal relationship with Him as we are taught the gospel principles, one-on-one, by Him.

Develop a Personal Plan for Studying the Gospel

What to Study…

Standard Works

·        Read and try to understand a book of scripture.

·        Study a subject in each of the standard works.

·        Do a combination of the two above.  Read one of the standard works cover-to-cover and study subjects in depth as they come up in the reading.


Lesson Manual

·        This is your main source of material for the lessons and must be studied early in the week to be able to ponder it and gather ideas as how to benefit the learners in  class. 

·        As you read about the gospel principles presented in each lesson, consciously immediately begin to practice them in your life.  Ask the Lord to help you do this!


When to Study…

·        There is no set time to do this.  Do it whenever it is best for you.

·        Many people find that starting the day just a half hour earlier to study the scriptures, gets their day off on a good start.

·        Others find time during work breaks or lunch.

·        Some people like to study the scriptures just before going to bed.


How to Study...

·        Pray for insight.

·        Ponder what you read.

·        Look for a correlation of it in your life.

·        Listen for and hearken to the promptings of the Spirit.

·        Use the Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, excerpts from the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible, and the maps to better understand the scriptures and your lesson material.

As you read ask yourself…”What gospel principle is being taught in the passage and how can I apply it in my life?”

In a notebook, record how you can apply the principles in your life, then set goals to do so.  Record your progress.  Read:  How to Set Goals and Attain Them.

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As you study, record you insights and feelings in your notebook.

Frequently review the thoughts you have recorded.

Review the chapter headings to give you some idea of what you will be reading about.

Mark and annotate your scriptures.

Memorize verses which are meaningful to you.

Substitute your name in a verse of scripture to make it more pertinent to you.

After studying, offer a prayer of thanks for what you have learned.

Share what you have learned.


Work Around Your Limitations

Often we have expectations of how things should be in a perfect world.  Then we impose that picture on our lives.  When it doesn’t match what our lives truly are, then we feel we are failures. 

For example… One sister tried many times to follow a specific program for scripture study, but found it very difficult to do so as she tried to raise her family, fulfill her Church callings, and be a good wife too.  She always put herself down for this failure.

One day her mother was at her home.  She saw her daughter’s desk covered with church material and among them lay the scriptures open.  The mother commented…”I love the way you always seem to be reading your scriptures.  They always seem to be open wherever you are. 

At that moment the daughter saw herself in a different light.  She had been chastising herself for not keeping up with the program she had proscribed for herself, but failed to realize that she was continually reading her scriptures researching them for information for one project or lesson after another. She had been studying her scriptures and instantly realized the blessing she had received from doing so.

Remember, whatever your circumstances, work around them.  Ask the Lord to help you to do so!  He will help you do your best.  When you are doing your best, no one, not even yourself can expect more. 

Remember too, that your best today may not be the same or as good as yesterday’s best, but this should not deter you from being happy with your efforts! 

Live What You Teach

“But this is not all.  It is more than believing and knowing.  We must be doers of the word and not hearers only….”  Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 45-46.

Our actions speak louder than our words and can have a positive influence on our learners and those around us.  Not doing the things that we preach also has great influence on our learners and others.  Alma stated:  “How great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe my words.”  Alma 39:11  Nor will your learners believe your words if you are living opposite them.  Let your example help you teach your lesson!

You do not have to be perfect in each of the principles of the gospel that you teach, but you should be trying to change your behavior to match them.  Remember… you are a work in progress!


Be Called, Set Apart, and Magnified

You have been called by Jesus Christ Himself to teach your learners.  If you haven’t been set apart and given the special blessings Christ has in store for you to do this magnificent job, then do so.  You will need the keys and blessings that will be given you at that time,  to do the job right!

What is left, then, is to magnify your calling.  This means you are to enlarge, make clear, and bring closer the gospel principles for your learners and then strengthen them. 

There are many who have more teaching experience than you, however, you are the one the Lord has called. President Thomas S. Monson said, “… who the Lord calls, He qualifies.”    This means that if you will be humble, faithful, and diligent in your calling, the Lord will make you an instrument in His hands and you will become a great teacher. 

President Ezra Taft Benson promised all teachers and leaders, “There can be no failure in the work of the Lord when [we] do [our] best… He will not permit us to fail if we do our part.  He will magnify us even beyond our own talents and abilities when necessary.”


Note:  The major content of this article was taken directly from pages 12-20 of  Teaching No Greater Call, listed below.



Christ-Centered Counseling for A Better Life (1999).  Annette Nay, MS.  Silverdale, WA: Discovery Publishing.

Teaching No Greater Call (1999). Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Salt Lake City, Utah:  Church of Jesus Christ of   Latter-day Saints.

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Annette Nay Homepage

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