Lesson 37: Jesus Christ Teaches the Nephites to Pray

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Lesson 37

Jesus Christ Teaches the Nephites to Pray

Preparation

  • Items needed: chalk and eraser, several small popsicle sticks broken in half (or cut pieces of cardboard), tape, sticky wax, and one cardstock page. Optional: two small toy cars, one poster board.
  • Print the story pictures (or use a laptop or tablet to display the pictures at the appropriate times). Number the pictures in the order they were printed.
  • Print the neighborhood pictures. Cut out the cul-de-sac and the one-way road.
  • Before class starts, post the neighborhood pictures on the board or on a poster board (see the picture above for how they should be posted). The spaces between the pictures are the roads, but you may want to draw in cross walks, train tracks, etc.
  • Print and cut out the road signs, the warning signs, cars, and the boy figure. Glue or tape each road sign to a popsicle stick half. Using sticky wax, attach the road signs to the map in the locations indicated. Attach the red warning signs to a piece of card stock with sticky wax. Glue the matching cars together, back to back. Attach stick wax to each car.

Attention Activity

Show the children the neighborhood map. Point out the street signs, and ask what would happen if someone didn’t obey those directions. Demonstrate what might happen using the toy cars or the car pictures. Be sure to point out the dangers and the safety issues, and point out the benefits of observing and obeying street signs. Explain that just as road signs warn us of physical danger, help keep us safe, and help direct us towards the right ways to go, we have been given a special gift in our lives that gives us guidance and direction and helps keep us spiritually safe.

  • What is the special gift we have been given that warns us of spiritual danger and guides us towards the right ways to go so we can return safely home to Heavenly Father? ( The gift of the Holy Ghost ) (You may wish to relate the Holy Ghost promptings to some of the street signs such as “wrong way,” “stop,” “do not enter,” etc.)
  • What could happen if we don’t listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost? Just like ignoring road signs may put us in harm’s way, if we ignore the Holy Ghost we may find ourselves in spiritual danger.

Explain that in today’s lesson they will learn about the importance of seeking for and obeying the promptings of the Holy Ghost in order to be directed safely back to our heavenly home.

Scripture Account

(Using the visual aids, tell the following story.)

After the Savior completed his first visit to the Nephites, the news of his visit spread among the people all that night. (Point out that the events discussed in previous lessons about the Savior visiting the Nephites all took place during one day.) Before leaving, Jesus had told the Nephites he would return and visit again the following day. Many people strove through the night to be at the place that he would appear (picture #1). Because the group that had gathered was so large, the twelve disciples divided the multitude into twelve groups. They taught the people to kneel down and pray to the Father in the name of the Son (picture #2). After praying, the disciples taught the people the words Jesus had spoken the day before. After instructing the people, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of the Jesus.

Point out that the disciples (the twelve apostles Jesus had selected) prayed before the instruction and after it. Ask the children to think about why the disciples did that as they listen to the next part of the lesson.

Invite a child to read 3 Nephi 19:9 aloud as the class follows along. Tell the children to look for what the disciples prayed for. (The Holy Ghost)

  • Why did you think the disciples sought to be blessed with the Holy Ghost? The disciples knew the Holy Ghost could guide them and help them in their ministry. The Holy Ghost could also touch the hearts of the people they taught and help the people receive a witness of the truth of the disciple’s teachings.

After the disciples had prayed, they went down to the water’s edge and the multitude followed them. Nephi went into the water and was baptized. When he came out of the water he baptized the other disciples that Jesus had chosen (picture #3). (See lesson 33 for why they were baptized even though they had already received that ordinance sometime prior to Jesus’s visit.)  After they were baptized, the Holy Ghost fell upon them and they were filled with the Spirit and with fire. (3 Nephi 19:13–14)

Explain that the phrase “filled … with fire” is symbolic. The influence of the Holy Ghost can change the heart, purifying it by “burning away” the desire to do evil and filling it with a burning desire to do good.

After they received the Holy Ghost, the twelve disciples were encircled about as if by fire that came down from heaven. Angels came down also and did minister to them (picture #4). Then Jesus came and stood in the midst of them and ministered to them (picture #5).

Have the children look up and read 3 Nephi 19:16-17 and ask them to look for what Jesus’s first instructions to the people were after he ministered to the disciples. (He commanded the people to kneel on the earth, and then he commanded the disciples to pray (picture #6).)

  • Why do you think it is it important to pray before receiving spiritual instruction? One reason is to seek to feel the Spirit during the meeting. When we are taught by the Spirit we may gain an increased understanding and testimony about particular gospel truths, or we may get inspiration concerning a problem we are having.

As the disciples prayed, Jesus went out of the midst of them a little way off and bowed himself to the earth and thanked the Father for giving his disciples the Holy Ghost (picture #7). Jesus asked that the Holy Ghost be given to all who believed in his disciple’s words. (3 Nephi 19:19-21)

Jesus’s prayer teaches that not only should we express gratitude to Heavenly Father for our blessings, but we should also ask Heavenly Father to bless us and others with the Spirit. When we are baptized we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost, but it is up to us to invite the Spirit into our lives.

  • How do we invite the Holy Ghost into our lives? We can pray for the Spirit’s guidance. We can put effort into listening for and feeling his influence and guiding touch. We can follow his promptings.

As we prayerfully invite the Holy Ghost into all aspects of our life, he can guide us and help us avoid the things that are spiritually harmful– those things that will cause us pain and misery.

Jesus taught, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him…for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.”(3 Nephi18:18)

  • How can we pray always? To pray always means we can have a prayer in our hearts at any time or place. (3 Nephi 20:1)
  • What do you think the phrase “Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat” means? Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained these words: “This is an… expression which was clear to the people in that day, more so than to people in our day. In essence… Jesus is saying… Satan wants you in his harvest. He wants to harvest your soul, and bring you into his granary.” He wants us to be under his control and influence.

Jesus said that if we are watchful (on guard or spiritually alert) and keep a prayer in our hearts, we can avoid getting drawn into the traps of Satan.

  • How can we be watchful? If we are familiar with the word of God that is found in the scriptures and in the words of the prophets, then we will know what is right and we will know what things to watch out for.  We can also be spiritually alert in listening for the promptings of the Spirit. The Spirit can warn us through thoughts or feelings if something is not right and is something we should not do.  The Spirit can also help bring to remembrance those things we have learned in the scriptures about what is right.

Do the following activity to help the children see how the Holy Ghost can bring to remembrance scriptures we have read in order to help guide us and warn us.

Story Activity

Remind the children of the map activity at the beginning of the lesson. Explain that you are going to tell them a story using the map. Show the children the signs and explain that they will be choosing a sign at certain points in the story. The signs represent warnings or guidance the Holy Ghost may give to help us go in the right directions.

(Put the figure of the boy on the board at “Jonathon’s house,” and move the figure during the story to each new location.)

Jonathon began his day as usual by reading his scriptures and saying his prayers. He asked Heavenly Father to help him to not make wrong choices.

During breakfast, Jonathon’s sister took the last piece of bacon that he had been reaching for, and she had already had more than him.

  • Which sign represents guidance the Holy Ghost my prompt Jonathon with? (Avoid contention) Jonathon remembered his prayer and a scripture he had read that contention is of the devil, and he didn’t lose his temper with his sister like he usually would have. The Holy Ghost helped him remember his prayer and the scripture he had read.

After breakfast, Jonathon took the bus to school. When he arrived he sat at his desk next to his friend Stewart. The teacher started the day by handing them their graded tests. Stuart asked Jonathon what he had gotten on the test. Jonathon hadn’t studied very hard for the test, and his low score reflected that. He was embarrassed to tell Stuart what his score was. He said a prayer in his heart to help him know what to say.

  • Which sign represents something the Holy Ghost might prompt Jonathan with? (honesty) Jonathon was honest and told Stuart he hadn’t done very well, but that he planned to study hard and do better on the next test.

The rest of the school day Jonathon continued to be watchful and to be careful to choose the right. After school, Jonathon went to play at Jared’s house. Jared’s mom wasn’t at home. Jared showed Jonathan his parent’s liquor cabinet and then said they should try a sip just to see what it tastes like.

  • Which sign represents something the Holy Ghost might prompt Jonathon with? (Avoid strong drink) Jonathon remembered a lesson and a scripture he had heard in Primary about the Word of Wisdom. He explained to Jared that he did not want to drink alcohol, and he explained why, and then he suggested something else they could do instead.

After playing at Jarod’s house, Jonathon went with his mom to the library to get some books. His favorite books were action adventure stories. He found a book that looked interesting, but when he flipped through some of the pages he realized it had some inappropriate language in it.

  • Which sign represents guidance the Holy Ghost my prompt Jonathon with? (Swear not) Jonathon felt yucky when he read the words in the book. He knew that reading the book would not be a good choice because he didn’t want those types of words in his thoughts, so he picked out some other books instead. The Holy Ghost had warned him through his feelings and thoughts.

After the library, Jonathan and his mom stopped by the neighborhood market to pick up some things for dinner. At the market, Jonathon asked his mom if he could get some cookies. She said no, but Jonathon thought that if he put them in the cart maybe his mom might go ahead and get them.

  • Which sign represents the warning the Holy Ghost my prompt Jonathon with? (obey parents) Jonathan realized that Satan was trying to tempt him to be disobedient, so he put the cookies back on the shelf.

Jonathon’s day had been full of times when Satan had tempted him, but he had been prayerful, watchful, and on guard against temptation, and because he listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, he was able to avoid going in wrong directions that would have led to spiritual harm and unhappiness.

Prayer was one of the safeguards Jonathon took. He said a prayer in the morning and he said a prayer in his heart and mind during the day when he needed additional help with specific problems.  As we continue with the next part of the scripture story we learn about something important that should be included in our prayers.

Scripture Account Continued

When Jesus had finished his prayer, he went to the disciples and he found them praying without ceasing. In 3 Nephi 19:24 it says: “they did not multiply many words for it was given unto them what they should pray.”

  • What does this scripture mean? Elder Bruce R. McConkie explains: “Perfect prayers are those which are inspired, in which the Spirit reveals the words which should be used.” The Holy Ghost can guide us to what we should pray for.
  • How can this help us resist temptation? The Holy Ghost can help us see areas in our life that need improving, areas where we are weak. He can help us know what to pray for, such as for help with changes we need to make and help to know how to strengthen our defenses.

When Jesus saw his disciples praying with the Spirit, “his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus.” (3 Nephi 19:25)  The word countenance refers to a person’s behavior or to the way a person’s face expresses his or her character.

Jesus went a little way off and bowed himself to the earth again (picture #8) and thanked the Father for purifying his disciples, and he prayed for them and for those who would believe in their words that they would also be purified through their faith. (3 Nephi 19:28)

As we pray in faith and seek for and obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost, our lives can be purified, and we will be able to return safely home to our Heavenly Father.

Weekly Reading Assignment

Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week: 3 Nephi 18:18–25, 3 Nephi 19:1-36, and Alma 13:28–29

***(Note: Be prepared to explain the scripture 3 Nephi 19:18 if needed: “After Jesus had commanded the Nephites to kneel and pray, they prayed to Jesus calling him their Lord and their God.”)

Jesus had specifically  taught the people the day before to pray to the Father  in Jesus’s name, but in this unique instance the disciples prayed to Jesus Christ because he was with them in person as a representative of the Father (see 3 Nephi 19:22)

 

(The neighborhood pictures are based off a coloring page from the Crayola website.)


Lesson 15 – Alma and Amulek in Ammonihah

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Lesson 15
Alma and Amulek in Ammonihah

Preparation
• Items needed: a variety of fishing lures with hooks (or you can use the provided pictures of fishing lures), a nut in a shell placed in a small paper bag, chalk and eraser, a paper towel, a dry erase marker, tape or magnets, and two page protectors.
• Print and cut apart the scripture story visual aids. (The scripture story visual aids are from chapter twenty-two of Book of Mormon Stories. ) Also print and cut out the activity visual aids. Put the picture of the fishing pole and the picture of the children in the page protectors.

Attention Activity
Show the children the fishing lures (or the picture of fishing lures), and ask the children if they know what the items are used for.

Explain to the children that fishing lures are designed to attract and catch fish. Some lures are sparkly and shiny and some look like food (like bugs or small fish), but they are all traps. The lures are always attached to a hook. (Show the children the hooks.) When a fish takes the lure or bait they become hooked and can’t get away. Their lives are destroyed and they are devoured.

Satan also uses lures. His lures are appealing to people, and they are meant to entice us to sin. Many times we don’t see the danger or harm in his lures, and then we take the bait. When we take the bait and allow the hook to be set, then we’re caught. In today’s lesson we will learn about some of Satan’s lures and the destruction and damage that his traps can cause.

Scripture Story
Tell the following story using the scripture story visual aids.

As King Mosiah grew old he needed to decide who would replace him as king. His sons were the rightful heirs, but none of them wished to be king. They desired to go on a mission to the Lamanites and teach them the gospel. Instead of having a king, King Mosiah recommended to the people that they set up a system of judges. He gave them many reasons why judges would be better than having a king. The people were convinced of the truth of King Mosiah’s words, and they elected judges. Alma the younger was appointed to be the first chief judge in the land. He was also the leader over the church. His father had grown old and had conferred the leadership upon him. Alma the younger had become a strong and righteous leader in the church.

There was peace in the land for awhile. The members of the church were righteous and they prospered for a time, but then the members began to be lifted up in pride because of their riches.

• How does Satan try to lure people to sin because of riches?

o He tries to get people to think they were better than others because of their riches.
o He tries to get people to be selfish and not use their riches to help others.
o He tries to get people to think they received their riches because of their own ingenuity and not through the blessings of the Lord.
o He tries to tempt people to spend all their time seeking after riches instead of spending their time doing good things for others.

When Alma saw the problems that were occurring in the church, he selected a righteous man to take his place as chief judge. He then went among the people to preach the word of God. He wanted to help them remember their duty, and he wanted to expose Satan’s traps. After he got the church in Zarahemla in order, he began to travel to other cities to preach the word of God. One of the cities he went to was called Ammonihah. Satan had a great hold on the hearts of the people in Ammonihah, and they would not listen to Alma.

The people in Ammonihah had once been obedient members of the church, but they had allowed themselves to be influenced by the teachings of Nehor. Nehor was a Nephite that introduced priestcraft to the people. Priestcraft is when men preach to get gain and the praise of the world. They teach false and enticing things to attract people to follow them. The followers of Nehor taught that God redeems all men, and that he will give everyone eternal life regardless of what they do on the earth.

• Why do you think this type of preaching appealed to people? It meant that people could give into temptation because according to Nehor they could sin and still be saved. The people of Ammonihah allowed Satan to lure them with this false doctrine, and his hook and hold on them was great because of their desire for sin.

The people of Ammonihah reviled against Alma and cast him out of their city because the things he preached were in opposition to what they wanted to do.

Alma was very sorrowful because of the wickedness of the people of Ammonihah. As he travelled towards another city, an angel of the Lord appeared to him. The angel told him to return to the city of Ammonihah. He was to preach to them and warn them that if they did not repent they would be destroyed.

• Do you think it would be hard to go back to a place where you had been treated cruelly? How did Alma react when he heard the news he needed to go back? (Read Alma 8:18) Alma returned speedily to Ammonihah.

• Why did Alma speedily return? He was always obedient to the Lord’s commandments, and he wanted to help the people of Ammonihah. He knew that if they did not repent they would be destroyed, and they would also suffer eternal consequences because of their sins.

When Alma entered into the city of Ammonihah, he was hungry because he had fasted many days for the people. He saw a man and asked him for food. The man said he knew that Alma was a prophet of God. The man had seen an angel in a vision, and the angel told him to receive Alma into his house. The man’s name was Amulek. He fed and took care of Alma at his house for many days.

• What might have taken place during the many days Alma stayed with Amulek? Amulek was probably being taught by Alma.

The Lord told Alma that Amulek also needed to preach and warn the people to repent. Amulek was a wealthy man with high standing in the community. He had many friends and family. He knew the ways of the Lord but had hardened his heart against them until the angel appeared to him. When the people heard Amulek’s story and heard him preach, they were astonished because there was more than one witness against them.

  • Ask the children if they think having more than one witness helped strengthen Alma’s message. Illustrate this concept by doing the following object lesson:

Object Lesson

Reach into the bag you brought and grab the nut. Show the children your closed hand. Explain to the children that there is something in your hand that can be eaten, but the thing that can be eaten has never been touched by human hands. Ask the children if they believe you. Show one of the children what is in your hand without letting anyone else see it. Have that child verify to the class that your statement is true. Ask the class if they believe you now. Show the class the shell covered nut.

• Point out that having more than one witness helped the children believe what you had told them.

Alma and Amulek warned the people that if they did not repent they would be utterly destroyed by the Lamanites. (Read Alma 9:18)

In Ammonihah many kinds of sins were being committed, including greed and corruption in the system of judges. The judges and lawyers often stirred up the people to rioting, disturbances, and all manner of wickedness because they were paid according to the amount of time they worked. They stirred up the people against Alma and Amulek so they might get more employ and more money. A man named Zeezrom was one of their most cunning lawyers. He, and other lawyers, tried to trick Alma and Amulek into saying contradictory things. Alma and Amulek had the spirit with them so they knew the thoughts of those trying to deceive them, and they could not be tricked.

Zeezrom was convinced of the power of God because Alma and Amulek had the power to know his thoughts and intents. Alma and Amulek talked to the people about the judgments of God after death. They told the people that they would be judged according to their works, words, and thoughts. After hearing Alma’s and Amulek’s preaching’s, Zeezrom began to tremble because of his guilt.

Activity
• Zeezrom was guilty of many sins. What kind of sins does Satan try to get people to commit? To use profanity, watch bad movies, disobey parents, cheat, steal, lie, listen to bad music, dress immodestly, use drugs, drink alcohol, to smoke, etc.

Explain to the children that Satan uses lures to try to get people to commit these sins. Put the tackle box on the board and the cut out cards of the lures below the tackle box. Put the fishing pole on the board, and have a child write one of the sins on the fishing line with the dry erase marker. Have the child then choose one of the lures that Satan might use to entice someone to commit that sin.

Tell the children that just as fishing lures are not what they appear to be, Satan’s lures are deceitful and false. They are lies meant to entice people into his traps so he can capture and hook them. (Discuss the ways that the lure is a lie.)

• When a person decides to commit a sin how do they become hooked? Their thoughts may dwell on the sin. They may want to try it again. Each time they do the sin it becomes easier to keep doing it. It then becomes a habit and a regular part of their life. They are hooked, and if they try to pull away it can be physically and emotionally difficult and painful.

Satan wants people to get caught and hooked in his traps so he can destroy their lives.

• In what ways does sin destroy and damage lives? ( (Put the picture of the children on the board next to the fishing pole. With the dry erase marker, have the child write a way that the sin might damage or destroy someone’s life on the picture of the children.) Answers may include: People may not trust them anymore. They lose the guidance, safety, and protection of the Holy Ghost. They may hurt those they care about with their actions and words; their relationships become broken and damaged. Their bodies can become damaged if it is a Word of Wisdom problem. They may end up having their freedoms taken away, such as being put in prison. They will lose the opportunity for eternal life unless they repent.

Erase the sin on the fishing line and have another child write a different sin on the line, choose a matching lure, discuss how the lure is a lie, and then write a consequence on the picture of the children. Continue in this way until all the children have had a turn, or all the lures have been used.

Conclusion
Sin always causes misery and unhappiness, and Satan wants us to believe that once we are caught by his lures and hooks there is no way to escape. But the Lord has provided a way we can escape: it is called repentance, and it may be painful and difficult. Imagine how a fish feels having a hook removed from its mouth. It can be very painful. But imagine how the fish feels if it is set free, back into the water. Removing the hook of sin from our lives may be difficult, but the wonderful feeling of being free from its destructive hold is worth the effort. But it is better if we never allow ourselves to be caught in the first place.

• What do we learn from the story of Alma concerning ways to prevent being caught in Satan’s traps?

o Alma preached the word of God to help expose the traps of Satan to the people. We need to learn the word of God by reading the scriptures and listening to the prophet so we can see and avoid the traps of Satan.
o When the wicked lawyers of Ammonihah tried to trick and tempt Alma and Amulek, the Holy Ghost warned and helped them and Alma and Amulek were not deceived. We need to seek for and listen to the guidance of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will warn us of danger.

Bear testimony that God provides guidance and help, but we need to seek for and follow His direction in order to avoid the destructive traps that are set by Satan.

Weekly Reading Assignment

Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week: Alma 8:8–32, Alma 10:31-32, Alma11:20-25, and Alma 12:1-7


Sabbath Day: Lesson Item 2

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“To Keep Ourselves Unspotted From the World”

Materials Needed:

  • Girl and boy figures and dirt spots (Friend, February 2002, For Little Friends).  Put the girl and boy figures into a page protector, and cut out the individual dirt spots.
  • A Doctrine and Covenants for each person
  • Tape to attach the spots
  • A CD player and a CD of General Conference

Activity

In life Satan tries hard to tempt us to sin.

Show the picture of the girl, the boy, and the dirt spots. Tell the children that the dirt spots represent sin.

  • What are some sins that Satan tries to tempt us to make in life?  (Answers might include: lying, disobeying a parent, fighting with siblings, cheating, stealing)  Have a family member put a dirt spot onto the girl or boy figure for each answer they give. You may need to help or direct their answers so that everyone has a turn.

Satan doesn’t want us to excel and succeed in life. He wants us to live lives that are full of degradation and worldly thoughts and actions such as greed, selfishness, and pride.

Heavenly Father wants us to live upright, clean lives so that we can gain exaltation, and he provides ways for us to achieve this.

  • Have the children look up and read the first phrase of D&C 59:9, and ask if they know what it is saying.  (In order to keep ourselves unspotted from the world we need to go to church, take the sacrament and renew our covenants on the Sabbath.) Take a spot off the girl or boy figure for each item mentioned: going to church, taking the sacrament and renewing our covenants.
  • What other things does D&C 59:9-14 say that we should do on the Sabbath in order to keep ourselves unspotted from the world? (devotions and worship of God, resting from our labors, oblations (which is service to God), confessing and repenting, preparing food with singleness of heart, fasting and prayer)  Take a spot off for every item mentioned.
  • Why would doing these things help keep us clean and unspotted from the world?  (Because we are spiritually and physically strengthened and renewed, and we are not as susceptible to worldly thoughts, temptations, and sin.)

 

Object Lesson

Turn on a general conference CD (or DVD).  Also turn on some other items that make noise such as a TV, radio, hand vacuum, blender, etc.

  • Is it difficult to hear and listen to the conference CD with all the noisy distractions?

We would have to turn off all the competing noises in order to hear and focus on the conference CD. That is why Heavenly Father has given us the Sabbath Day, so we can turn off all competing influences and focus on things that will strengthen us spiritually and keep us unspotted from the world.