Primary Manuals
Lesson 19: Heavenly Father Helps Us When We Pray
previous next

“Lesson 19: Heavenly Father Helps Us When We Pray,” Primary 3 (1994), 89–93

“Lesson 19,” Primary 3, 89–93

Lesson 19

Heavenly Father Helps Us When We Pray


To help the children realize that they can receive help from Heavenly Father when they pray.


  1. Prayerfully study 1 Nephi 18:5–23 and 3 Nephi 18:20.

  2. Materials needed:

    1. Chalkboard, chalk, and eraser.

    2. Picture 3-45, Lehi and His People Arrive in the Promised Land (62045; Gospel Art Picture Kit 304); picture 3-46, Jesus Praying in Gethsemane (62175; Gospel Art Picture Kit 227).

  3. Make the necessary preparations for any enrichment activities that you will be using.

Suggested Lesson Development

Invite a child to say the opening prayer.

Follow up with the children if you encouraged them to do something during the week.

Nephi Prayed and Received Help

Attention activity

Draw the following illustration on the chalkboard as you talk to the children:


Tell the children that a father and his married son lived on opposite sides of a very large mountain.

  • How could this father and son communicate without going to the other side of the mountain?

Draw illustrations such as the following to show the children’s suggestions:

communication devices
  • Why is it important for the father and son to communicate with each other? (To keep from being lonely, to show love, to receive and give help, to share ideas.)

  • What would happen if they did not communicate with each other? (They would not feel as close to each other and their love might decrease. They could not help each other.)

Explain that just as we can communicate with each other on earth when separated by great distance, we can also communicate with our Heavenly Father.

  • How do we communicate with our Heavenly Father? (Through prayer.)

  • Why is it important to communicate with our Heavenly Father? (To thank him for our blessings, to show faith in him, to ask for and receive his help and blessings, to increase our love for him.)

Picture, scripture story, and discussion

Remind the children of the lesson they learned about Nephi building a ship. Have the children listen to learn how prayer helped Nephi.

When Nephi’s ship was finished, Nephi’s father, Lehi, was commanded to have his family put seeds, food, and other things on the ship. Then they boarded the ship and set sail for the promised land.

Show picture 3-45, Lehi and His People Arrive in the Promised Land, and point out the Liahona in Lehi’s hand.

Explain that the Liahona was a type of compass. It showed them which direction to travel through the wilderness and where to steer the ship. It worked only when they were righteous.

After the family had been at sea many days, some of Nephi’s brothers began to act wrongly. They spoke rudely to their parents and to the other people on the ship. They had forgotten how much Heavenly Father had helped and blessed them. Nephi was afraid that their wickedness would anger the Lord, so he spoke to them about their behavior. Laman and Lemuel got angry. They did not want their younger brother telling them what to do. They tied Nephi up and continued their wrong ways.

As soon as Nephi was tied up, the Liahona stopped working. Laman and Lemuel did not know in which direction to steer the ship. A great storm arose. For three days the ship was tossed about on the sea so wildly that the people thought they would drown. But Laman and Lemuel still would not free Nephi.

The storm grew worse. Finally Laman and Lemuel realized that they were in danger as a result of their wickedness. They knew they would die in the storm if they didn’t repent, so they untied Nephi.

Although Nephi’s ankles and wrists had swollen and were very sore, he did not complain to Heavenly Father.

After Nephi was untied, the Liahona immediately began to work again. Now Nephi could steer the ship in the right direction.

Nephi prayed to Heavenly Father. The wind stopped blowing and the sea grew calm.

With the storm gone and the Liahona working once again, Nephi steered the ship safely to the promised land.

  • Why wouldn’t the Liahona work while Nephi was tied up?

  • Why do you think Nephi did not complain to Heavenly Father while he was tied up?

  • What can we learn from Nephi’s example?

  • What did Nephi do to save the ship from sinking in the storm?

  • What did Heavenly Father do to help Nephi?

Heavenly Father Helps Us When We Pray

Picture and scripture story

Show picture 3-46, Jesus Praying in Gethsemane.

  • What is Jesus Christ doing in this picture? (Praying to Heavenly Father.)

  • Why did Jesus pray? (He needed Heavenly Father’s help to guide him.)

Explain that when Jesus was on earth he prayed often to Heavenly Father. We can also pray to Heavenly Father when we need help.


Relate the following true story of a young girl who prayed for the needs of someone else:

Mary was in bed asleep one night when she was awakened by a noise. As she listened, she discovered that it was her four-year-old brother crying and complaining that his stomach hurt. She could hear her mother tenderly comforting him, trying to help him feel better; but her brother kept crying. She lay there feeling sorry for him. She knew her mother was doing all she could for him, but still it troubled her to know that her brother was so sick. Finally she decided there was something she could do.

  • What do you think she did?

She quietly slipped out of bed and knelt to pray. She asked Heavenly Father to please make her little brother well so he could go back to sleep. In just a short time, her brother had fallen asleep. The next morning she asked her mother how he was, and she replied, “Just fine. He fell asleep last night and seems to be well now.”

Invite the class members to tell of or share an experience when they or a family member prayed for help. Have them stress how Heavenly Father answered their prayers.


Tell the following story about someone who prayed for help, or tell a story of your own:

One summer Jamie was given a baby lamb. He named the lamb Boots and fed and cared for him lovingly. Jamie and Boots often played together in the fenced-in field where Jamie’s father kept his horse. Jamie and Boots were playing in this field late one afternoon, when Jamie’s mother called him to supper. Jamie ran to the gate and quickly slammed it behind him.

After dinner Jamie went out to play with Boots again. But when he reached the gate, he found it swinging open. Boots and the horse were gone. Jamie had shut the gate so quickly that it had not latched.

Jamie didn’t know where to start looking. He remembered his father telling him that when he was a little boy, he had been lost on a mountainside. His father got down on his knees and asked Heavenly Father to help him. Soon a sheepherder on his way back to camp found him and helped him get home.

Jamie knelt down in the grass, closed his eyes, and prayed: “Heavenly Father, I need your help. I’ve lost Dad’s horse and Boots because I didn’t shut the gate. Please help me find them.”

Jamie found animal tracks on the road. He started to follow the tracks uphill, holding on to bushes to keep his footing. At last he heard Boots cry. Jamie scrambled up the hill and soon found the little lamb caught in a bush. The horse stood nearby. Jamie untangled Boots’s legs from the thicket. When Boots tried to stand, he toppled over. Jamie could see that one of Boots’s legs was broken.

Again Jamie asked Heavenly Father to help him. He used his jacket to make a sling to carry Boots and started back down the mountain. The horse followed, carefully picking his way down the steep trail. Boots was heavy, and Jamie stumbled all the way down the trail.

As the three neared home, Jamie’s parents ran out to help. As Jamie’s dad cared for the injured lamb, he said, “Good thing you got him here before he lost much more blood. He might have died from shock.”

Jamie’s mother asked, “How did you know where to find them?”

“I did just what Dad would have done,” Jamie answered.

“What’s that, son?” Dad asked.

“Remember when you were lost? You prayed to Heavenly Father for help, and that’s just what I did. I prayed, and Heavenly Father helped me” (see “The Open Gate,” Friend, Apr. 1977, pp. 28–30).


Chalkboard activity

Review the lesson by asking the following questions. After a child answers a question, have him come up to the chalkboard. Trace around one of his hands and write his name inside the outline.

  • Where were Lehi and his family going? (To the promised land.)

  • Did the Liahona work all the time? (No. It worked only when the people were righteous.)

  • What did the Liahona show Nephi? (Which direction to steer the ship.)

  • What happened after Nephi was tied up? (A terrible storm arose. The Liahona stopped working.)

  • What happened after Nephi was untied? (The storm ceased. The Liahona worked again.)

  • Why did Nephi pray for Heavenly Father’s help?

  • What should we do when we need Heavenly Father’s help? (Pray with faith that he will help us.)

Continue asking questions about the stories in the lesson until each child’s hand has been traced. Thank the children for all their helping hands.


Bear your testimony of Heavenly Father’s love for us and his desire to help us if we will pray for his help.

Invite a child to give the closing prayer.

Enrichment Activities

Choose from the following activities those that will work best for your children. You can use them in the lesson itself or as a review or summary. For additional guidance, see “Class Time” in “Helps for the Teacher.”

  1. Teach the children a short rhyme about prayer, and demonstrate the actions.

    Our arms we fold, our heads we bow,

    Our eyes we close, we’re ready now.


    We fold our arms and bow our heads

    and listen while the prayer is said.

  2. Give a crayon or pencil and a copy of the following handout to each child. Have the children write their names on their handouts. Tell them to color in the spaces that have stars to see what the lesson is about. When they have finished, have them say the word together. Collect the pencils and handouts. Return the handouts to the children at the end of the class time.