Lesson 37

Jesus Christ Teaches the Nephites to Pray

“Lesson 37: Jesus Christ Teaches the Nephites to Pray,” Primary 4: Book of Mormon (1997), 132–34


To encourage the children to pray so they will not enter into temptation.


  1. Prayerfully study 3 Nephi 18:15–25; 19; 20:1. Then study the lesson and decide how you want to teach the children the scripture account. (See “Preparing Your Lessons,” p. vi, and “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.)

  2. Additional reading: Alma 13:28–29, Matthew 26:41, and Doctrine and Covenants 31:12, 61:39.

  3. Select the discussion questions and enrichment activities that will involve the children and best help them achieve the purpose of the lesson.

  4. Materials needed:

    1. A Book of Mormon for each child.

    2. Pictures 4-47, Jesus Praying with the Nephites (62542), and 4-50, Family Prayer (62275).

Suggested Lesson Development

Invite a child to give the opening prayer.

Attention Activity

Share the following story from Elder Rex D. Pinegar about a special family prayer:

“One morning several years ago I was driving with my family [on a vacation]. Our four young daughters were excited as we approached the turnoff to [a] famous park. The laughter and happy chatter stopped suddenly, however, as our rented station wagon sputtered and chugged to an unexpected stop on the exit ramp. Many cars sped by us in the rush-hour traffic as I tried to get the car running again. Finally, realizing there was nothing more we could do, we got out of the stalled car and huddled together off the road for a word of prayer.

“As we looked up from our prayer, we saw a smiling, handsome man and his son maneuver their … car through the lanes of traffic and pull off the road beside us. For the remainder of the morning and into the afternoon these men cared for our needs in many kind and helpful ways. They took us and our belongings to the … park. … They helped me locate a tow truck for the stranded car; they drove me to the rental agency to get a replacement vehicle. … They bought refreshments for my family and waited with them until I returned several hours later.

“We felt that these men were truly an answer to our prayer, and we told them so as we said good-bye and tried to thank them. The father responded. ‘Every morning I tell the good Lord that if there is anyone in need of help today, please guide me to them’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, pp. 54–55; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, p. 39).

Invite the children to share experiences they have had with personal and family prayer.

Scripture Account

Using the pictures at appropriate times, teach the children the account of Jesus Christ’s teaching the Nephite multitude from 3 Nephi 18:15–25; 3 Nephi 19; 3 Nephi 20:1. (For suggested ways to teach the scripture account, see “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.)

Discussion and Application Questions

Study the following questions and the scripture references as you prepare your lesson. Use the questions you feel will best help the children understand the scriptures and apply the principles in their lives. Reading the references with the children in class will help them gain insights into the scriptures.

  • Why does Jesus want us to pray always? (3 Nephi 18:15, 18.)

  • To whom do we pray? In whose name do we pray? (3 Nephi 18:19; 3 Nephi 19:6–8.)

  • As we pray in faith for what is best for us, what promise do we have? (3 Nephi 18:20.) Help the children understand that Heavenly Father always knows what is best for us. Sometimes this is different from what we want.

  • Why is family prayer important? (3 Nephi 18:21.) How can you help your family have regular family prayer?

  • What did Jesus Christ say we should do for those who are not members of the Church? (3 Nephi 18:22–23.)

  • What does it mean to “hold up your light that it may shine unto the world”? (3 Nephi 18:24.) How can we help others understand the importance of prayer?

  • What did the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ teach the Nephites who were gathered? (3 Nephi 19:6.) When do you kneel and pray? How does kneeling show respect for Heavenly Father? What are some other ways we can show reverence while praying in our homes and classrooms?

  • As the disciples prayed, what did they desire the most? (3 Nephi 19:9.) How was this gift given to them? (3 Nephi 19:13–14.)

  • What did Jesus say when he prayed to Heavenly Father? (3 Nephi 19:20, 28.) Why do you think expressing thanks is such an important part of our prayers? What are some things you are thankful for?

  • How can we pray unceasingly? (3 Nephi 20:1.) Why should we always have a prayer in our hearts? (3 Nephi 18:15, 18.) How can prayer help us avoid temptation?

Enrichment Activities

You may use one or more of the following activities any time during the lesson or as a review, summary, or challenge.

  1. Write the following scripture references on pieces of paper, and give them to the children either individually or in small groups. Have the children read the scriptures, looking for the things Jesus Christ taught about the blessings that come to us through prayer. Then have the children report what they have learned to the class.

  2. Find stories from Church magazines or conference addresses about praying, and share them with the children.

  3. Read and discuss the following statement from President Ezra Taft Benson, thirteenth President of the Church:

    “There is a great tendency for us in our prayers and in our pleadings with the Lord to ask for additional blessings. But sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received” (God, Family, Country, p. 199).

    Invite the children to mention in one minute as many things as they can think of for which they are thankful. Summarize their answers on the chalkboard.

  4. Discuss and help the children memorize part of Alma 13:28: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit.”

  5. Discuss the basic parts of a prayer:

    1. Address our Heavenly Father …

    2. Thank him for …

    3. Ask him for …

    4. Close in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    Write on the chalkboard “I thank thee for …” Invite the children to tell what they thank Heavenly Father for and summarize their comments on the chalkboard. Do the same for “I ask thee for …”

  6. Sing or read the words to “A Child’s Prayer” (Children’s Songbook, p. 12), “Children All Over the World” (Children’s Songbook, p. 16), “Family Prayer” (Children’s Songbook, p. 189), or “Love Is Spoken Here” (Children’s Songbook, p. 190).



Bear testimony of the importance of daily prayer and that if we pray as Jesus taught, we will be protected from the influences of Satan.

Suggested Family Sharing

Encourage the children to share with their families a specific part of the lesson, such as a story, question, or activity, or to read with their families the “Suggested Home Reading.”

Suggested Home Reading

Suggest that the children study 3 Nephi 18:18–25 and Alma 13:28–29 at home as a review of this lesson.

Invite a child to give the closing prayer.