“Sharing Time: I Pray for Others,” Friend, Aug. 1996, 14
Have you ever seen a picture of children who look very hungry and need something to eat? Did you want to send them food?
When people are left without homes because of a storm or an earthquake, do you wish you could help them?
Has a family member or friend been sick? Did you wish you could make him or her better?
How do you feel when you see someone who is hurt or treated unkindly by others? Even though you want to help, you might feel that you can do little for people who suffer. Yet there is a way you can help those who are suffering from war, from need, or from other evil or hurtful things. No matter what your own circumstances are, one of the most powerful ways you can help is to pray for them.
Heavenly Father hears the prayers of His children. He understands the feelings in your heart. The feelings of love and concern that you have for others come from His spirit. These feelings and desires come because you are His child. As you ask Heavenly Father to bless those who are suffering, remember that He knows best how to answer your prayers. Listen carefully. He will let you know if you can help. Maybe He will prompt others to help or, in His great wisdom, answer in other ways. He loves you, and He loves the person you are praying for. When you pray for others, you are helping them in a very real and powerful way.
To make a booklet about praying for others, mount page 15 on heavy paper, then cut along the solid lines. Draw someone you would like to pray for on the blank page and fill in the blank. Punch two holes in the side of each page, put the pages in order with the title page on top, thread string or ribbon through the holes, and tie the ends in a bow.
1. Invite four priesthood brethren to each portray a different prophet from the Book of Mormon and to explain how he, as that prophet, prayed for someone or was blessed when someone prayed for him. Divide the children into four groups and have them move from “prophet” to “prophet.” Possible selections: Enos (see Enos 1), Alma (see Mosiah 27:8–15), Ammon (see Mosiah 28:1, 5–9; Alma 19:22–23), Nephi (see 3 Ne. 1:11–15).
2. Explain that Heavenly Father and Jesus are pleased when children pray for the members of their family. Praying for family members invites the Spirit of the Lord, increases love, and develops unity in the home. Tell the children about the life of the prophet Mormon and his son Moroni. Read and discuss Moroni 8:1–3 [Moro. 8:1–3] with the children. Have each child fold a sheet of paper in fourths and fill each square with the name or a drawing of a family member. Let the children think about the needs of these family members and about how they could be remembered in prayer; then discuss some ideas with them. Suggest that the children share these lists with their parents.
3. Divide the children into four discussion groups. Have each group discuss how they as children can help one of the following: people who do not have enough to eat, people whose homes have been destroyed in storms or floods, people who are sick, the prophet, and the missionaries. Write each group’s suggestions on a chalkboard. Discuss with the children the power of prayer in helping people. Teach the children that praying for others is a powerful way of helping and that we must always pray that Heavenly Father’s will will be done (see Matt. 6:10).
4. Sing the first verse of “Help Me, Dear Father” (Children’s Songbook, p. 99). Define trespass for the children (to hurt, offend, or wrong someone). Jesus wants His followers to forgive those who trespass against them (D&C 64:10). Invite a child to come to the front of the room, and place a backpack, a large cloth bag, or a large paper sack in his arms. Explain to the children that feeling resentment against another person stops us from becoming like the Savior. As you explain, fill the backpack with large rocks or bricks. Explain that carrying resentment or hard feelings is like carrying a heavy burden. When we forgive others, the Lord will forgive us and lighten that burden. Where possible, take the children outside to select a rock as a reminder. Suggest that the children share this object lesson with their families.
5. Prepare a script for several of the children to dramatize the unmerciful servant (see Matt. 18:23–35). Discuss the lesson this parable provides on forgiveness. Let each child take home a script to share with his or her family.
6. Help the children make paper-bag puppets of the prodigal son and his father (see Luke 15:11–24). Help the children understand and practice telling this parable. Encourage them to use the puppets to share this parable at home.
7. Read or tell one of the following stories from the Friend, then discuss how the principle of forgiveness blessed the lives of the characters in the story: “Hand-painted Tie,” June 1994, pp. 30–32; “Incident at Raven’s Roost,” July 1994, pp. 40–43.