Primary 4 Lesson 37: Jesus Christ Teaches the Nephites to Pray
3 Nephi 18:15-25; 19; 20:1
With just a few weeks left with out primary class, we wanted to tie this lesson into the Plan of Salvation because our kids still don’t seem to understand it. To start out this lesson, we had the kids take turns drawing different parts of the Plan of Salvation on the chalk board. They LOVED getting chances to draw on the chalk board, so this kept them really engaged. When we asked the students where we were before we were born, all the kids called out “heaven!”
When we asked them to draw how we come to earth, they decided to draw a zipline instead of someone being born, which was hilarious! We got a kick out of that one. After drawing Earth, we asked the kids where we go after we die. All they could answer was “heaven.” We tried to get them to think a little harder about what happens before we go to heaven, but they honestly didn’t know.
We explained the spirit world and had them read Alma 40:11-13. This week while I was reading this chapter, I realized something – that a lot of times when we draw pictures of the Plan of Salvation with lots of circles and lines and drawings of stars and suns and stars. However, we seem to never draw in the fact that right after we die, every single person goes to meet God. I know I didn’t teach this on my mission – maybe because it’s not a bold section in Preach My Gospel, maybe because I didn’t realize it. Anyways, as I was reading these verses I realized that the state of “peace” verses the state of “weeping” and “wailing” in the spirit world are probably result of seeing God again; the difference between a wicked person like Cain meeting God, and a righteous person like Enoch meeting God would seem to result in emotional states like those described in the spirit world in Alma 40. Someone without the Holy Spirit would not have a pleasant experience when being in God’s presence, yet a righteous person who had the Holy Spirit with them would have a glorious, happy, peaceful reunion with the God they know so well.
The kids believed us, but one girl looked at me quizzically and said, “How do we know this??” It was pretty funny, but a very good question. We looked closer at Alma 40:11, and learned that an angel taught the prophet these important things.
We explained to them that the spirit world was a result of our meeting with God, and that made a lot of sense to the kids. We explained how people can repent while in the Spirit World, and that there are “missionaries” in a state of peace that will teach them. We went through the rest of the Plan of Salvation, and got to final judgement. When we went over the three kingdoms, they asked if God would come visit you if you didn’t live in the Celestial Kingdom. We said no, and they were really surprised. One student asked if it was mean to keep people away from God. We read with them Mormon 9:3-4 and discussed what happened the first time each person met God – what would happen the second time if they had not repented of their sins? Answer: the exact same thing. As a result, being in God’s presence would be worse than hell.
One of the amazing things about this lesson was that the children were engaged the entire time – they were calling out questions, and were totally interested. One girl was so concerned about her personal salvation that she wrote everything down and took her notes home. She pleaded with us to know what the commandments were so she would be able to follow them and as a result live with God some day. We told her to talk to her parents about that this week, and next week we would explain that. She accepted that, but obviously was concerned about knowing what she needed to do.
This was probably my favorite lesson to date in our class! It reminded me of being a missionary again – is this what being a parent is like?? It also reminded me of how Christ told us to be child-like – these kids were so engaged, and believed everything we said! I never had a lesson where the investigator was so engaged on my entire mission, probably. If all of us learned the gospel with such hunger, I think that wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Obviously this discussion lasted the entire class, so we didn’t do our planned lesson about prayer. If you want a lesson about prayer, though, feel free to use the craft below:
Goal: Help kids understand the importance of prayer, and help them remember to pray daily.
- Rubber Cement or glue
- Prayer Cut Out
- Print off the prayer cut out, and have kids trace it onto the cardboard. Cut out the cardboard.
- See this awesome website for instructions on how to make the craft.