Sunday, May 27, 2012

Prayers are answered in the best way.

In Primary last Sunday, we talked about all prayers ... and being parents - I'll get to that in a tick.

But to kick the lesson off, I sang a song.  I've discovered that out of all the possible ways to get the kids to listen attentively and act as reverent as possible, I sing primary songs.  Every week without fail, I sing as they colour in.  They usually join in.  It works a treat.

So I sang the words to "Quickly I'll Obey", and repeated it with them joining in, watching my mouth and trying to copying the words.

When my mother calls me, Quickly I'll obey.
I want to do just what is best, each and every day.

When my father calls me, Quickly I'll obey.
I want to do just what is best, each and every day.

Heav'nly Father loves me, blesses me each day.
I want to do just what is best, each and every day.

This led right into our discussion about our earthly parents and our heavenly parents, and why we should obey them.  I asked the kids what they thought, and got so many great responses.  It's fun, never knowing what mood they'll be in and if they'll answer with the 'right' kind of answer, or if they'll bounce off the walls and start the trend of being unrighteously cool.

They were spiritually cool this time, and answered that parents and Heavenly Father know what's best for us.

I then told a story about a child that had a bad dream.  I tried to act it out a bit, capturing the feeling of being lost and frightened.  I think it always helps to widen the eyes.

Did you ever have bad or scary dreams when you were young?  What did you do?  Other than cry, of course, we all agreed we'd want our mummies.  One kid jumped right ahead and said they would pray.  We weren't up to that kind of spiritual discussion, but they were dead on.  Prayer is comforting, just like mummy's hugs.

After talking about why we would call for our parents, we swung the discussion towards calling out to Heavenly Father for help.  Of course, that is through prayer.  I mentioned that my Mum lives in a different city to me, and that we have to speak to each other via the telephone or Skype.  My explanation of Skype didn't work so well.  But they totally understood when I said that is what prayer is like.

The point, however, that I repeatedly repeated was that we should be talking to Heavenly Father LOTS.  'How often to you talk to you parents?  Once a week?'  Nooooooooooo.  'Once a day?'  Nooooooooooo.  It is so easy to forget that Heavenly Father is a parental figure for us.  He needs to hear from us, just as much as we chat to our parents.

Here is a great story about Brother John A. Widtsoe, or "Brother John" as I called him in class.  I had one of the boys pretend to be Brother John.  I shook his hand, 'Why hello Brother John!'  He had a whale of a time being Brother John:

John’s father died when he was young, and John’s mother worked hard to support her children.  John wanted to get a job to help her.  It was not easy to find a job he could do after school, but he finally found one.  One day the man he worked for told him he had done a good job for several weeks and paid him with a five-dollar gold piece.

We all imagined a huge gold piece - I indicated a giant coin with my hands almost the size of a gold ball.  This was fun. 

John said: “Five dollars!  That was money!  I was jubilant!  I would give half of it to my mother; I would buy a new book, and save the remainder.  Into the pocket of my trousers went the bright new gold piece, and off I ran to tell my mother of my good luck.

Brother John then pretended to run to his mum.

But, I said,“On the way home, I put my hand in the pocket to feel … the money.  It was not there!  
Go on, pretend to look for it in your pockets.

I felt all through the pocket again.  The gold piece was not there!  Instead, I found a hole in the pocket through which the coin had slipped.  It was terrible!  I was so sorry that I sat down by the ditch bank and cried.”

I don't have to tell you that my little actor proceeded to crumble up on the floor, pretending to be all sad-like.


John walked back along his path, looking for the gold piece.  The sidewalk he had been walking on was made of planks (boards), and he searched the cracks between every plank.  But he could not find the money.  He finally decided the money was lost for good.

Then all of us, including me, got up and pretended to look for the lost coin.  It was a thorough search.  We found some plastic on the floor, a shred of gold glitter paper, and lots of rubbish in the rubbish bin.

So now what do we do?  They totally knew where I was going with this ...

John said: “Then I remembered that the Lord knew where that gold piece was, and that if he would help me, and wanted me to find it, it could not be lost for long.

“So I got down on my knees [in] back of a big tree, and told the Lord all about my trouble, and asked him, if he thought it was the best thing for me, to help me find [the gold piece].  When I got up I felt so much better.  I felt sure the Lord had heard my prayer.

“[It was getting dark].  One could not see anything on the ground very clearly, especially a small piece of gold.  But I walked right on, not so slowly this time, for I knew the Lord was helping.  About half way up the second block, there in the grass lay my lost five dollar gold piece. … I almost shouted with joy.  How glad my mother would be, and how I would enjoy that book I had planned to buy.  I leaned up against the fence and said, ‘Thank you, O Lord, for finding my money for me. 

“Since that time I have known that the Lord hears prayers.”  [1]

I like how John offered a second prayer - a prayer of thanks.

Have you had any experiences like this one?
When you ask for help, Heavenly Father will hear you.


The real lesson to be learnt is this one : prayers are answered in different ways.




Looking at a black and white picture of Zacharias and Elizabeth holding their baby boy John, I told the story found in Luke 1:5–17 - that they were both righteous people, and that they had prayed lots and lots for a baby.

One day, an angel visited Zacharias in the temple, and said:

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
(Luke 1:13–14)

And you know what?  The angel's message did happen, and Zacharias and Elisabeth had a baby boy.
So Heavenly Father had heard all of Zacharias and Elisabeth’s prayers all along.  It just hadn't been the right time for their child to be born.  This was because, of course, baby John would grow up to be a great prophet, born at that specific time to prepare many people to believe in Jesus Christ.  And baptise him.


Can you see that sometimes we pray for something that is really really good, but it turns out it's just not the right time?  Heavenly Father hears all our prayers and answers them in the ways and times that are best for us.

This is when we talked about our parents - sometimes we ask them for something, and they say 'no' because they know it it not good for us.  Or perhaps 'not yet' or 'not now'.

To illustrate this point - and I was sure this exercise would backfire - we played a game.  I had each kid take turns at pretending to be a parent.  I would give them the scenario (I ended up being the child), and they had to decide what was best for me.

As it turns out ... these kiddies are going to make great parents.  They were all spot on, for the most part.  We did have some fun ...

Here are some examples:
Q:  Your child is hot and hungry, and wants to eat an ice cream bar.  And it’s almost dinnertime.  What do you say?  Why?

Q:  Your child wants to wear a swimming suit out to play.  It is a cold, rainy day.  What do you say?  Why?

Q:  Your children have finished all their work.  They ask if they can go play outside.  What do you say?  Why?
Q:  Your children are not very careful with their toys or books.  Rather than take care of them, they want to buy new ones.  Then, at the store, they see one of their favourite books and ask if they can have it.  What do you say?  Why?

So guess what, boy and girl bloggers.  Parents want what is best for their children, and so does Heavenly Father.  Heavenly Father always answers our prayers, and he answers them in ways that are best for us.  Just as our parents sometimes say 'yes', sometimes 'no', and sometimes 'not now', our Heavenly Father may answers our prayers with a 'yes', with a 'no', or sometimes with a 'not now'.
I honestly believe that Heavenly Father knows what is best for each of us, and that he always answers our prayers in the best way.

You should accept Heavenly Father’s answers to your prayers, even when the answer is “no” or “not now.”


Clearly adapted and quoted and practically copied from Primary CTR lesson #19.

[1]  Taken from John A. Widtsoe, “The Lost Gold Piece,” Children’s Friend, Sept. 1947, p. 369

3 comments:

  1. Freja, thank you so very much for posting this interpretation of lesson 18! I have to teach the 4 year-olds tomorrow, and your interpretation made it come alive and hang together. Thank you so very much.

    - Heather in Los Angeles, California

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