Possible scriptures: ; Matthew 7: 7-11; (; ; ; ); (); (; ); (; ); ; ; 2 Nephi 32:8-9; (); ; ; Doctorine & Covenants 88:63-65; Doctrine & Covenants 120:10
Possible Songs: “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” Hymns 142; “How Great Thou Art,” Hymn 86; “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer,” Hymn 26; “Be Thou Humble,” Hymn 130; “I Pray In Faith,” Children’s Songbook page 14; “A Child’s Prayer”, Children’s Songbook page 12.
Possible Materials: Wordart for the quote by Elder Peterson; Picture of David O. McKay; a picture of a girl pioneer (I like this one or this one, even though it’s a handcart); A picture of Hannah (I had to make my own!); A picture of Oliver Cowdery and Joseph translating. Picture of Joseph Smith in Carthage (I love this one but I think it’s copyrighted). Index cards of 7 ways Heavenly Father answers our prayers.
Preparation: Begin with prayer. Consider if your family members feel comfortable going to Heavenly Father in prayer. Reflect on your own experiences of receiving answers to prayer. Read the suggested scriptures and any articles listed in Resources.
Children: Listen to the story “Shoes,” From the June 1997 Friend and the story of David O. McKay from the August 2004 Friend. Watch the first two minutes of the video “Samuel,” and the story of Alma and Amulek.
Introduction: Watch the video “O Remember, Remember,” then share this quote by H. Burke Peterson:
“I want you to know that I know that whenever one of Heavenly Father’s children kneels and talks to him, he listens. I know this as well as I know anything in this world—that Heavenly Father listens to every prayer from his children. I know our prayers ascend to heaven. No matter what we may have done wrong, he listens to us.
“I also believe he answers us. I don’t believe he ignores his children when they talk to him.” (“Prayer—Try Again,” Ensign, June 1981, p. 73.)
Discussion: Ask if the members of your family believe Heavenly Father answers Prayers. Does he listen to everyone’s prayers, even when someone has made mistakes? Does he always answer the way we would like him to? Ask, “What are some ways Heavenly Father answers our prayers?” Read Resource story one, then discuss each of these topics in turn…
1. He grants our prayer (Read Church History story on shoes).
2. He gives us something better (Read Resource story 2).
3. He makes us wait, and then our prayers are granted (tell the story of Hannah)
4. He grant’s comfort and peace through the Holy Ghost (Read Church History story David’s Prayer).
5. He sends people to help (Share the story of Alma and Amulek).
6. We learn his will through scriptures or the words of the prophet (Tell the story of Joseph in Carthage).
7. A thought enters our mind, or we just “know.” (Tell the story of Oliver Cowdery)
From the Resource Book: Read story one (found below) and ask, “Did the father of this story listen to everyone? Did he always answer the way his children would like him to? What were some of the answers he gave (Yes, no, wait, and comfort)? Why do you think the children went to their father? How is this story like prayer?
Activity: Role play. Give each child a role in the story and have them act out the parts.
From Church History: Read, “Shoes,” from the June 1997 Friend (here is a summarized version for younger children). Discuss how sometimes our prayers take time to answer.
From the Resource Book: Read story two (also found below) and ask, “At first, did it seem like the family’s prayers were being answered? Sometimes we do not recognize the answers to our prayers because we need to gain more knowledge to help the answers become clear.
From the Old Testament: Read Samuel 1:1- 2:11. Tell the story of Hannah. Talk about how Hannah cried unto the Lord, how he blessed her, and how she thanked Him and kept her promise. Does it sound like Hannah simply prayed and got what she wanted? Or is it more likely that this had been a continual prayer for her, and it took some time?
Activity: I made a picture of Hannah where her arms are closed in prayer and open to show a baby.
From Church History: Read “David’s Prayer,” From the August 2004 Friend. Discuss how sometimes answers to prayer are just a feeling of comfort.
From the Book of Mormon: Read Alma 8:14-27. Do you think Alma prayed that he’d find someone to help him? How was Amulek and answer to Alma’s sorrows?
From Church History: Read Doctrine and Covenants 121. Explain that although God didn’t take away the problem, peace, understanding, and answers came from relating to the scriptures.
From Church History: Read Doctrine and Covenants 8:1-3. Tell the back-story of how Oliver Cowdery desired to translate.
Further discussion: What difference does it make to know that Heavenly Father will really listen to your prayers? Do we talk to strangers differently than our friends? It is the same with prayer. Share how much peace it brings knowing that each member of the family can call upon God when they need help, even when they think they’re alone.
Challenge: Encourage each family member to make their prayers more meaningful this week with the knowledge that Heavenly Father loves them and will answer each prayer.
Resources: Family Home Evening Resource Book, Lesson 7; Gospel Principles Chapter 8 (End); Come, Follow Me Sunday School lesson on seeing the Lord’s hand; “O Remember, Remember,” By Elder Henry B. Eyering; “Shoes,” Friend , June 1997; David’s Prayer,” Friend, August 2004. See also: “But If Not…” by Elder Dennis E Simmons of the Seventy, and, “Hannah,” from a Bible Study by Vickie Kraft on Bible.org (it made me cry).