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FHE: Prayer

Shauna Gibby - February 14, 2010

No matter who you are or what you may have done, you can always pray. Prayer is your personal key to heaven.

Conference Talk: For more information on this topic read "Prayer and Promptings," by Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov 2009, 43-46.

Thoughts: One of the adversary's sharpest tools is to convince us that we are no longer worthy to pray. No matter who you are or what you may have done, you can always pray. Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil.

(Boyd K. Packer, "Prayer and Promptings," Ensign, Nov 2009, 43-46.)

Song: "I Pray in Faith," Children's Songbook, p. 14.

Scripture: Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:63)

Lesson: Begin by asking the following questions:

  • Think of a time when you had a challenge or trial that seemed overwhelming. How did you endure it?
  • Where did you turn for help?
  • How can the Lord help us at those times?
  • What is the best way to get help from the Lord?
Explain to your family that they will be reading about the time when Judah was surrounded by their enemies, and King Jehoshaphat feared he had no way of winning the battle on his own. Have them read 2 Chronicles 20:3-9 to see what happened. Ask:
  • What did the people do to obtain help? (Prayed, fasted, and went to the temple.)
  • When have you found these righteous practices helpful in your trials?
Explain that when the different nations came out to battle with Judah, they fought among themselves and eventually destroyed one another so that Judah did not have to fight them. The Lord not only delivered Judah from a battle, but also provided so many spoils from the war that it took the people three days to collect all the goods. Share your testimony that the Lord will comfort, strengthen, and bless us in our trials if we are faithful to Him. Allow time for any of your family to share an experience where they felt the Lord strengthened them during a trial.

(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010], p. 142.)

Story: In 1963, Mary Ellen Edmunds and Carol Smithen became the first missionaries to work in Quezon City in the Philippines. Later the city would become the headquarters of an entire mission, but at the time it was part of the Philippines Zone of the Southern Far East Mission. Eventually Sister Smithen received a new companion, and Mary Jane Davidson was assigned to work with Sister Edmunds.

Early the next year, Sister Edmunds and Sister Davidson were going door to door "tracting," and they were not doing very well. They really weren't in the mood to work that morning, and they knew what that meant: they didn't have the Spirit. So they stopped on the street, each said a silent prayer, and then they approached the next house. When they rang the doorbell, an eye soon appeared in a little peephole. The sisters told the man on the other side of the peephole that they were missionaries and would like to visit with him for a few minutes.

"I am Cat-o-leek," the man said. At that time, the missionaries did not learn the Filipino languages as they do now. Most people did speak at least some English, but the sisters could tell that this man did not speak a great deal. They both felt strongly prompted, however, to keep trying, and finally he agreed to let them come in.

The man told the sisters that his name was Felixberto S. Ocampo. He was a somewhat older man with an impressive appearance and dark, graying hair. That hair, along with his kindly manner, reminded the sisters of President David O. McKay. [They began teaching him.]

During one visit, the sisters asked Mr. Ocampo whether he prayed. "Oh, yes, sisters," he said (pronouncing the word "seesters"). "I pray every day." So they taught him the principles of prayer and, from that time on, asked him to pray at the beginning or end of their meetings. He asked each time if it would be all right if he prayed in Tagalog, his own language. They said that was fine. They didn't understand much of what he said in these prayers, but they felt his good spirit.

Mr. Ocampo received all the missionary lessons with the same spirit, and he accepted baptism. One Sunday soon after he was baptized, the branch president asked him to pray in Church, but Brother Ocampo said he couldn't. The sisters were surprised. When they visited him the next time, he explained. "I want to pray the way you pray," he said, and it was only then that they discovered he had been saying memorized prayers, not speaking to the Lord in his own words.

The sisters repeated for him the elements of a prayer, and this time he understood. The idea that he could actually talk with his Heavenly Father was wonderful to him. "I'll be the one to pray this time," he told the sisters. "I'll use English. If I say something wrong, you can tell me."

They knelt together, and then he paused for a very long time as he considered what he wanted to say. This was no ordinary event, the sisters realized; this man of faith was about to converse with the Lord for the first time. He wanted to choose the right words. Both sisters were weeping before Brother Ocampo even began to pray.

He worked hard for the right English words as he began, but the sisters felt no need to correct anything he said. Now and again he would stop and say, "Sisters, this is very beautiful, no?"

They would nod, tears streaming down their faces. This was clearly the most beautiful prayer either had ever heard.

"If I am slow, will He wait for me?" he asked at one point.

"Yes," the sisters told him. "Take all the time you want."

And finally he asked, "Sisters, does Heavenly Father know Tagalog?"

They assured him that the Lord knew every language, and in response Brother Ocampo asked whether he could finish in his own language. They said he could, and then they heard him pour out his feelings fluently, in his native tongue, and they understood the spirit of what he said.

Brother Ocampo was a steadfast member of the Church until he died. His faith was a power to all who knew him. And Sister Edmunds and Sister Davidson were better people for having met him. They had . . . heard a man speak with God with such pleasure and intimacy that their own prayers would be changed forever.

(Tom Hughes, Dean Hughes, We'll Bring the World His Truth: Missionary Adventures from Around the World, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995].)

Activity: Create two sets of game squares by writing words on small sheets of paper or index cards.

Set A Fold Kneel Close Bless Heavenly Morning and Thanks for Ask for Prayers are

Set B Arms Down Eyes Food Father Night Blessings Needs Answered

Shuffle the A cards and lay them face down in a row on the floor or table. Then shuffle the B cards and place them face down in a second row on the floor or table.

Every card in group A matches a card in group B. The object of the game is to make as many matches as possible.

Divide the family into two teams and have team one choose a card from group A and one from group B. If the words match, team one receives a point and team two takes their turn. If the words do not match, turn the cards back over and team two takes a guess. (Notice that even if a match is made, only one guess can be taken each turn.)

Play alternates until all nine of the matches have been made. The team with the most matches wins. The matching words are listed below.

Fold Arms Kneel Down Close Eyes Bless Food Heavenly Father Morning and Night Thanks for Blessing Ask for Needs Prayers are Answered

(Max H. Molgard and Allan K. Burgess, Fun for Family Night: Book of Mormon Edition, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], p. 63.)

Refreshment Traditional Corn Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Grease round pan, 9 x 1 1/2 inches or square pan 8 x 8 x 2 inches. Mix all ingredients; beat vigorously 30 seconds.

Pour batter into pan. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with butter and jam, honey butter, or drizzled with maple syrup.

(Betty Crocker's Sunday Dinner Cookbook, [Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing and Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2007], p. 12.)

Click here to download the PDF version of this lesson.

© Photo by Dez Pain/sxc.hu.