Confession: I'm a religion class junkie! I looked forward to the beginning of Institute this fall like it was a major holiday - but better because it's once a week. YEAH FOR ME! I love everything about it but here's the top three:
1) A rotation of instructors provides different insights and teaching styles to be enjoyed. All the instructors inspire thoughtful reflection and edify.
2) I enjoy the comments shared by classmates who have a vast treasure trove of information gathered throughout their lives' experiences. I love that it's new moms, seasoned moms, and empty nesters all gleaning spiritual guidance for their lives, blooming where they're planted. I learn as much from them as I do from the instructor.
3) Children's class where we rotate tending the children. Free childcare - need I say more?
This year we're studying the Old Testament which I love. Last week's lesson was on The Fall - simply, beautifully incredible! This week's lesson was about the Patriarchs - specifically Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah and on down - men that walked and talked with God. There was a fabulous portion of the lesson on prayer and elements of prayer that can draw us closer to God namely words of worship in how we address our Father, learning to express the desires of our heart as things we are grateful for, embracing repentance and gratitude for our Savior, and commiting to do our part in the kingdom.
An example of the gratitude portion was if you want to ask that your children marry good people, how would you express this in words of gratitude? Answers were plentiful: express gratitude for their leaders and teachers' guidance, gratitude for a child's particular gifts and testimony that will help them make good choices, gratitude for your own selection of someone worthy to take you to the temple and lead your family in the gospel . . . the list goes on.
For the last portion of the prayer to focus on commitment, an example was given. Rather than simply asking for the bishop or leaders to be blessed, you might commit yourself to sustain them and follow their specific counsel to do "a, b, and c" or magnify your calling. Just food for thought for me today.