“Sharing Time: Juan Learns to Pray,” Tambuli, Feb. 1992, 9
When the missionaries came to Juan’s house to teach his family about Jesus, Juan listened carefully. Each time they talked about Heavenly Father and Jesus, Juan felt quiet inside.
Before the missionaries left, they said they would like to teach Juan’s family how to pray. They knelt down and prayed to Heavenly Father. They told Juan’s family that prayer is a way of talking with Heavenly Father. Juan kept thinking about this. He thought about how much Heavenly Father and Jesus loved him. Each time Juan thought about these things, he had the same quiet, reverent feeling. He was happy that he could learn to pray as the missionaries did.
Juan and his family learned that they could pray anytime or in any place. They could pray silently in their hearts or out loud. They did not have to wait until they went to church on Sunday to pray.
The missionaries read scriptures to Juan’s family. In the Book of Mormon Jesus said: “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed” (3 Ne. 18:21).
Juan’s family learned that they could pray quietly as they walked to market or when they were all alone. A Book of Mormon prophet said: “Ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and … let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you” (Alma 34:26–27).
The missionaries taught Juan how to pray in the same way Jesus prayed: We begin by saying, “Our Heavenly Father.” Then we thank him for the blessings he sends. We ask him for the things we need. Then we always close in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Juan knew how to pray! He would pray each morning and night. He would pray with his family. He would pray in his heart whenever he wanted to.
That night when Juan knelt down, he began by saying, “Dear Heavenly Father.” Then Juan thanked Heavenly Father for sending the missionaries to his family. He thanked Heavenly Father for the quiet, reverent feelings he had in his heart.
Then he asked Heavenly Father to bless his family. Juan’s father needed a job and Juan’s little sister was sick. Juan asked Heavenly Father to help them. He asked Heavenly Father to help him know how he could help others.
Juan finished his prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
When Juan went to sleep that night, he had that same good, reverent feeling in his heart. At last, he knew how to talk with Heavenly Father. It is the way you can talk with Heavenly Father, too.
Color the pictures below. Add your own ideas either in words or pictures of things you are thankful for and blessings you might ask for. Then mount the pages on heavy paper and cut them out on the dotted lines. Punch holes where shown. Fasten the pages together with yarn or string, and tie a bow or knot. You will have a flip chart to help you remember how to pray.
Divide the older children into small groups, giving each group one of the following scripture references: 3 Nephi 18:19–21; 3 Nephi 19:20–21; Enos 1:4; 1:9; 1:15–16; 3 Nephi 13:9–13; Alma 34:17–26; Moroni 7:26; Colossians 3:17; Luke 11:1–4. Ask them to look for any of the four steps of prayer in the scripture passage and then report to the group. The leader should give an example with one scripture before the children begin.
Ask the younger children to draw pictures of things they are thankful for and blessings they might ask for. Have the children cut out these pictures and paste them onto a large chart.
Ask several children to be a “panel of experts.” Tape questions about prayer to the other children’s chairs. For example, When can we pray? How do we close our prayers? Let them ask these questions to the panel members. Let the audience help the panel answer the questions.
Invite several older members of the ward to tell the children about specific times they have had their prayers answered.