To help family members understand that:
1. True prayer comes from the heart
2. Prayers are ineffective if they are vain repetitions and do not
come from the heart.
3. Sincere prayer takes a little more time and effort
· Letter in an envelope
· Postage stamp
1. Ask, “Are there any prayers that Heavenly Father doesn’t hear or doesn’t really listen to?”
a. Read Moroni 7:9 with your family. Ask, “According to this verse, why are some prayers not received by Heavenly Father?” (they are not said with real intent)
2. Invite your family to read Matthew 6:7 and look for things Jesus
encouraged us not to use in our prayers.
a. Ask (or explain) what ‘vain repetitions’ are (things that are repeatedly said but without meaning).
3. Object lesson: Have a letter placed in an envelope. Have an address written on the outside, but no postage stamp on the envelope. Ask your family why the mail carrier won’t deliver this letter. (no stamp)
a. Read Alma 33:11. “Why was the prayer of Zenos heard?”
b. Compare the postage stamp to sincerity. Sincerity is the ‘postage’ that delivers our letter to Heavenly Father!
4. You may want to share one of the following stories and ask why they think Heavenly Father heard these little girls’ prayers.
The Lord Sent Me a Shepherd
By Janice Card
Janice Card, “The Lord Sent Me a Shepherd,” Ensign, Sept. 1995, 65–66
When I finally looked up from the game we were playing, I realized that it was past five o’clock and I was going to be late getting home. I hurriedly said good-bye to my friend Susan, and then I rushed out the door.
Since I was only eight years old at the time, I knew I would be in trouble when I got home. At the moment, however, I was more worried about walking several blocks alone in the approaching darkness of a fall evening in San Mateo, California. The streets seemed deserted.
As I walked along the sidewalk in the shadows, fear overcame me and I began to panic. A prayer filled my mind: Please, Heavenly Father, help me get home safely.
Suddenly I sensed movement behind me. I whipped around and saw a large German shepherd came out from between two houses. I had once been chased by a big boxer, so I was terrified. But the dog simply trotted up beside me, wagging its tail. I kept walking, and the German shepherd continued along at my side.
At the first corner we came to, the dog stepped in front of me so I had to stop. When he could see that all was safe, we crossed together. He repeated this routine at every street.
All fear left me, and I rested my hand on my companion’s back as we traveled swiftly and safely. Forgetting that I was late, I started hoping to convince my parents that this dog was the pet I’d always dreamed about. However, when we reached the sidewalk in front of my house, my guardian looked up at me with friendly eyes and then continued down the street as if we had never met. I saw the dog on several occasions after that, but he never again paid me any particular attention.
Since this childhood experience, I’ve thought many times about the dog. Had he been trained at an obedience school or as a Seeing Eye dog? One thing is certain: when the German shepherd joined me on that dark evening, it was an answer to my prayer. Heavenly Father’s answers come in all shapes and sizes—this one happened to have four legs.
“Go Check on Wendi!”
By Darlene Joy Nichols
Darlene Joy Nichols, “‘Go Check on Wendi!’,” Ensign, Feb. 2001, 63
When our oldest daughter, Wendi, was five, she attended morning kindergarten class. One day I sent her to school, then readied our two younger children to go shopping. I felt rushed because it usually took over two hours to do my grocery shopping, and I wanted to be done in time to pick up Wendi from school. So with my shopping list in one hand and my two preschoolers in the other, I set off for the store.
About 20 minutes later I had a clear thought interrupt me: Darlene, go check on Wendi. I thought to myself, How silly! Wendi is fine at school. I dismissed the thought and went about my shopping. A short time later the thought came back again. Darlene, go check on Wendi. The thought came so clearly that I stopped in the middle of a grocery store aisle.
Looking at my shopping list and at my two young children, who would not be patient much longer, I reasoned to myself, This is silly! I’m sure Wendi is fine. I continued down the aisle and turned the corner when the words came forcefully yet again: Darlene, go check on Wendi!
I told a clerk I’d be back for my groceries and rushed from the store. As we left, I noticed a severe thunderstorm had come up. Wendi was terrified of thunderstorms. Still, I knew she was safe at school. Nevertheless, I began to worry that something terrible might have happened. I hurried to the school only to find everything calm. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and even the storm was passing. I was confused and thought perhaps I wouldn’t go inside after all. But after making the effort to get there, I decided I should at least walk to the classroom and reassure myself that all was well.
I turned the corner to Wendi’s classroom and saw the door was open and Wendi standing in the doorway. How odd! Why wasn’t she at her desk? As I approached her she seemed just fine and had a smile on her face.
I didn’t know what to say, so I just bent down and gave her a hug.
“Mommy, I knew you’d come!” she said.
With that her teacher came over to us and said, “How did you know to come?” Then she explained that the thunder and lightning storm had upset the class. As she tried to gather the children to sit together on a carpet, she noticed Wendi at her seat praying. When Wendi finished, she told her teacher that she was all right, that she had asked Heavenly Father to send her mommy to her, and could she please wait by the door. I could not stop my tears as I realized the prayer of faith of a five-year-old had literally moved me from a grocery store five miles away to be at her side. I am deeply grateful to Heavenly Father for this experience, for we both learned divine lessons about faith and trust that day.
5. Share the following quote from President Ezra Taft Benson: “When you pray—when you talk to your Heavenly Father—do you really talk out your problems with Him?
Do you let Him know your feelings, your doubts, your insecurities, your joys, your deepest desires—or is prayer merely a habitual expression with the same words and phrases? Do you ponder what you really mean to say?” (Ensign, Nov. 1977, 32).
6. Explain that sincere prayers often take a little more time and effort, but are rewarded by the peace of knowing that the prayers are being heard.
7. Challenge your family to never say anything in their prayers that they really don't feel. Testify that Heavenly Father really does hear the prayers that come from our hearts.
I have a testimony of prayer. I have always loved the story of Alma the Younger and his conversion. I have often thought about Alma as a father praying for his wayward son. I can picture the fervent prayers, night after night for his son and the sons of Mosiah. I do have a testimony that the Lord not only hears our prayers, but will answer our prayers according to our faith. I also believe it is so important to always give gratitude to our Father in Heaven for all that we have been given. It is also so important to teach our children gratitude as well. They need to know that every prayer we give, that we always give gratitude first.
Families in Zion Touching Hearts and Homes