“Sharing Time: Keep the Commandments,” Friend, June 1999, 45
Jesus Christ loves little children. When He lived on the earth, He blessed them. He healed them. He wanted them to come to Him. When He prayed for the Nephite children, the angels of heaven came down and surrounded them (see 3 Ne. 17). When someone loves us that much, we want to love that person right back. How can we show the Lord that we love Him? Jesus told us, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Keeping the commandments helps us be happy and grow closer to Him. And it shows Him that we love Him. Here are some commandments that all of us can keep:
Pray Heavenly Father really does hear our prayers. We can talk to Him in the morning and ask for His help and guidance during the day. We can talk to Him before going to bed and thank Him for the day’s blessings. We can pray to Heavenly Father in Jesus Christ’s name anytime, anywhere. We show our love for Heavenly Father when we pray. We grow closer to Him as we thank Him for blessings and ask for His help.
Keep the Sabbath Holy The Sabbath is a special day. It is holy to Heavenly Father, and it should be holy to us. How can we keep the Sabbath holy? We could make a long list of things that are good to do on the Sabbath. We could also think of things that are better to do on other days. One bishop said that if you wear your good clothes and don’t spend any money, you’ll be on your way to making the choices that will help you keep the Sabbath holy. We should do only those things that help us feel close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on the Sabbath.
Go to Church and Take the Sacrament One of the best commandments we can keep is the one to attend church and take the sacrament. When we go to church, we can worship the Lord. With other Saints, we learn about Him and His gospel, we sing praises to Him, and we take the sacrament to help us remember that He shed His blood to atone for our sins and died so that we can have eternal life. When we say “amen” to the sacrament prayer, we promise to keep His commandments and always remember Him. He promises us that if we do, we will always have His Spirit to be with us. What a great promise!
With the help of His Spirit, we are able to keep the commandments even when it is hard. The scriptures promise that He will provide a way for us to keep the commandments He has given. Like Nephi and Daniel, we will find courage to choose the right and the strength to do it always. We will find joy when we pay tithing. We will find comfort and direction as we read the scriptures. Our faith in Jesus Christ will grow because keeping the commandments brings us closer to Him. He gave us commandments because He loves us and wants us to come unto Him and Heavenly Father. When we keep the commandments, we show that we love Them.
Instructions: (1) Mount this page on heavy paper, then cut out the large box and one of the figures; make slits by cutting along the dotted lines within the picture. (2) In the box, under each commandment, write the correct scripture reference from the list below. (3) Fold the picture up along the top solid line and down on the bottom solid line so that it will sit on the edge of your desk or dresser (see illustration). (4) Place your figure in the first set of slits, and anchor it by folding the top tab over.
As you keep each commandment listed in the boxes, move your figure a step closer to the Savior.
“If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments” (John 14:15).
Study the Scriptures
Attend Church and Take the Sacrament
Keep the Sabbath Day Holy
My faith in Jesus Christ grows when I keep His commandments.
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook)
1. Sing “Keep the Commandments” (CS, pp. 146–147). Talk about the importance of knowing what the commandments are so that we can keep them. Have a scripture “scavenger hunt” to “collect” some commandments. Post the following scripture references (but not the words in parentheses) against the chalkboard: Alma 13:28–29 (pray); D&C 1:37 (study scriptures); Ex. 20:8–11 (keep the Sabbath holy); D&C 59:9–12 (attend church and take the sacrament); D&C 119:4 (pay tithing). Also prepare these objects: a picture of a child praying, a book of scripture, a calendar with Sabbath days circled, a picture of a meetinghouse and a sacrament cup, a tithing envelope. Ask a child to choose a scripture reference. Have all the children look up the scripture. Ask which commandment it is talking about, what we should be doing about it, how often we should do it, etc. Have the child choose the object matching the scripture and place it next to the reference. Repeat the activity until all the commandments are “collected.” Remove the objects, rearrange the references, and see if anyone can replace the objects correctly. Ask: “Is it always easy to keep the commandments?” Talk about the need to be strong when we are in difficult situations. Tell, or have a child tell, the story of Nephi going to get the brass plates (see 1 Ne. 3–4), emphasizing that the Lord provides a way to keep His commandments (see 1 Ne. 3:7). Nephi had experience in keeping the commandments long before he went for the plates. As we keep the commandments, our faith in the Lord grows and we strengthen our ability to choose the right. Sing “Nephi’s Courage” (CS, pp. 120–121).
2. Ask: “What are some of your favorite stories of prayers being answered?” (Possible answers: Joseph Smith, Enos, Daniel, Nephi, and, hopefully, the children’s own prayers or a family story.) Make the following wordstrips with the corresponding questions on the backs: • WHO? / Who needs to pray? To whom do we pray? In whose name do we pray? Who answers our prayers? • WHAT? / What is a prayer? What different prayers might you hear today? (e.g., prayer in a congregation, personal prayer, family prayer, sacrament prayers, blessing of a baby, blessing of a sick person, setting apart of someone) • WHEN? / When should we pray? (see Alma 32:17–27 and My Achievement Days booklet, front cover) • WHERE? / Where should we pray? (see Matt. 6:6 and My Achievement Days booklet, front cover) • WHY? / Why do we pray? (to talk to Heavenly Father, to find out His will, to thank Him, to ask for blessings) • HOW? / If someone didn’t know how to pray, how would you teach him/her? (see “I Pray in Faith,” CS, p. 14), What special language do we use when we pray? (see Friend, Apr. 1991, pp. 36–37). Distribute the wordstrips among the classes, then have them determine the answers and choose a panelist to make a brief presentation. After all presentations, let the other children ask any related questions; direct them to the appropriate panelist. Sing a song about prayer with which the children are familiar (see “Prayer” in the CS Topics index). Share a personal experience and/or invite one or two children to share a personal or family story about an answer to prayer. For younger children: Using pictures from the library, tell stories of prayer from the scriptures. Teach the children that we begin prayers by addressing Heavenly Father and end them in the name of Jesus Christ. Sing “I Pray in Faith” (CS, p. 14). Talk about when and where they can pray. Have them repeat the statement on the front cover of the My Achievement Days booklet—“I can pray to Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere.”
3. Read together Ex. 20:8–11. Tell the children that this is one of the Ten Commandments and that it’s very important to keep the Sabbath holy. For some religions, Saturday is the Sabbath; for others, it is Friday. Our Sabbath is Sunday. Ask: “What do you like best about Sunday?” (Possible answers: going to church/Primary, seeing friends, being with their families, having a change from the rest of the week.) Say that first we’ll talk about all the things we can do on Saturday so that we won’t need to do them on Sunday. Have everyone hum “Saturday” (CS, p. 196). Stop at random intervals and have a child pantomime a Saturday activity. Have the others guess what the activity is. List it on the chalkboard under “Saturday.” Continue until you have a good list. Say, “Saturdays can be great, right? Now let’s talk about Sundays.” Have everyone hum along to familiar prayer songs from the CS. Continue the music game, this time asking, “What are some things that we know are good to do on the Sabbath?” To encourage a more reverent atmosphere, stop the music only at the end of a phrase. Make another list under “Sunday” on the chalkboard. (Possible answers: go to church, take the sacrament, read the scriptures, pray, sing hymns, visit with their families, visit the sick and the lonely, write letters to missionaries and others, write in journals.) Remind the children that Saturdays are great for Saturday things and that Sundays are special when we do only Sunday things. We risk losing the Sunday spirit when we do Saturday things on Sunday. Sing “When I Go to Church” (CS, p. 157—see actions for younger children in Primary 2 manual, Lesson 37, Enrichment Activities, no. 1). If we truly want a happy feeling, we will keep the Sabbath holy. Tell an experience regarding keeping it holy, e.g., “Sabbath on the Ranch” (Ensign, June 1998, pp. 57–58), “Sowing before Sunday” (Ensign, Apr. 1998, pp. 48–49), or one of your own experiences. A story younger children could relate to is “Sunday Morning Problem” (Friend, Mar. 1998, p. 31). Conclude with the Lord’s promises for those who keep His commandments, especially keeping the Sabbath holy, from D&C 59:12, 15–16, 23–24.
4. Sing “Before I Take the Sacrament” (CS, p. 73). Show a picture of the Last Supper and explain that just before His Crucifixion, Jesus gave His Apostles the sacrament so that they would have a way to always remember Him and His sacrifice and so that they could have His Spirit to be with them. The sacrament is such an important ordinance that during a solemn assembly in the temple, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles administer the sacrament to the congregation. In our wards, the Aaronic Priesthood is responsible for administering the sacrament. In advance, invite a deacon, a teacher, and a priest (counsel with the bishop/branch president) to come to Primary to give short talks about their duties relative to the sacrament and how they came to understand the importance of it. (See Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s general conference talk, “This Do in Remembrance of Me” [Ensign, Nov. 1995, pp. 67–69]. You might share excerpts of it with the Aaronic Priesthood as you ask their help.) Ask them to be prepared to answer some questions about their duties. Have the priest read from Moro. 4:3 the prayer on the bread. Before he starts, ask the children to listen for the three things we promise, or witness, when we take the sacrament that we will do (take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, always remember Him, keep His commandments). Discuss their responses. Ask: “What does the Lord promise us?” Have the priest again read, “that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.” Share your own testimony of the importance of having the Spirit with you and the blessing that it is to take the sacrament. Thank the young men for helping and for their parts in administering the sacrament. Sing “Help Us, O God, to Understand” (CS, p. 73). For younger children: Choose pictures of the life of Christ and talk about Him and how He loves little children. Sing “To Think about Jesus” (CS, p. 71). Tell the children that we think about Jesus during the sacrament. Sing the song again and show the pictures while you are singing. Practice thinking about Jesus by showing the pictures again while everyone is as reverent and quiet as can be. Tell the children that it is a joy to see them growing up and learning to control their thoughts and actions, that learning to think about Jesus during the sacrament will bless their lives.
5. Explain that tithing is one-tenth of our income. Choose three children who are good at math to each pull out a handful of real or play-money coins and figure how much it is and the correct tithing on it (round up to the nearest cent). Show a real tithing envelope and slip, and an enlarged slip. Let several children each fill out a line on the enlarged tithing slip so that everyone can see how it is done. Ask: “To whom do we give our tithing?” (to the bishop/branch president or one of his counselors). What is done with the tithing? (It is counted carefully, recorded, put in the bank, and sent to Church headquarters.) What is tithing used for? List responses on the chalkboard, or show pictures, if possible (temples, Church buildings, mission offices, schools, welfare programs, and other Church expenses). Tell the children that when we pay our tithing, we help build the Church all over the world. We also receive many personal blessings. Invite the bishop/branch president to share with the children the importance of learning to pay tithing while they are young and the blessings that come to us individually as we do so. Teach “I’m Glad to Pay a Tithing” (CS, p. 150, especially v. 2).
6. For additional Friend resources on studying the scriptures, see: “Sunday Birthday Party” (July 1998, pp. 40–41), “Scripture Wheres” (May 1998, pp. 24–25, 31), “Gospel Scholar Activity” and Sharing Time Ideas (Feb. 1998, pp. 36–37, 46), “Easter” (Apr. 1998, pp. 18–19), Scripture Mobile (Jan. 1998, pp. 13, 19), “Old Testament Scripture-Story Grab Bag” (Feb. 1998, pp. 24–25), “A Growing Experience” poster (Mar. 1998, pp. 24–25), “Let the Word Fill Your Hearts” (Mar. 1996, IFC). For additional Friend resources on keeping the commandments, see “Keep the Commandments” (Oct. 1997, IFC), “Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper” (May 1997, IFC), “We Have a Work to Do” (Aug. 1997, IFC), Sharing Time Ideas (Nov. 1996, pp. 12, 38), “Prayer” (Apr. 1996, IFC).