Monday, July 29, 2013

August 2013 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Christus am Olberg by Josef Untersberger (date not known)
A good tool to use as you prepare for this month is the Prayer Scale in Preach My Gospel (Page 95!!) Just take the quiz and see how you personally are doing when it comes to prayer.

Monthly Theme: Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.
Monthly Scripture: "Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers" D&C 112:10

Week 1 The scriptures teach me how to pray.

* I looked in the Bible Dictionary and decided to do 4 short Reader's Theaters based on examples of prayer from it. The examples/stories include: Hannah, Samuel, The Brother of Jared and How NOT to pray!! If your primary has children who can't read, you could easily have a few adults act it out.
If your primary does have good readers, you could have 4 groups and rotate the scripts between groups. If you need me to email PDF versions, feel free to contact me!

Is there time for all 4 in 15 minutes? Probably not, so pick and choose!

Simple costumes would be extra fun!! Make sure there are scripts for each part and that it is highlighted!!!

* HERE is a fun color by number prayer picture with other examples of prayer from the scriptures, with references, from The Friend.

Week 2 Heavenly Father wants me to pray to Him often- anytime, anywhere.

* Have a bunch of pictures from places all around the world. Whether it's Disneyland or Canada or Brazil.... You could even have pictures of places in a home, like the kitchen or bedroom. Is there any dream place a primary friend would like to go to say a prayer? While we might not be able to head to Jamaica and say a prayer of Thanksgiving on a white sand beach... sigh... we can say our prayers anywhere and anytime!! Have the children draw a picture of a place they can say prayer. If they can write, have them make a list of things they can give thanks for and pray for! Have a couple primary friends come up front and let other children guess where their place is. Have children share their thoughts.

*   Have a small apple and cut it into a few pieces. When you have everyone's attention, taste one and say how delicious they are. These really are great apples. Nice and crunchy, full of flavor.... invite a child up front to see the apple. Isn't it nice? You might stand there for a second. don't you think they'd taste great?? What we're trying to do is get the child to ask for an apple slice. All they have to do is ask!! 
     In the Bible Dictionary, under prayer, it says, " The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."
     Have a picture of an apple tree. What type of work do you need to do to make sure the tree grows? Have paper apples with questions, songs and scriptures about prayer. Let children come up and choose, then answer. When you have a minute left, conclude by going back to the demonstration. Sometimes all we have to do is put in a little work and ask! Bear testimony of the power of prayer.

* Tell the children you have a funny joke for them. It goes, "Knock Knock". They say, "Who's there?" You say "Banana." They say, "Banana who?" You say, "Banana." They say, "Banana, who?" (Do that about 5 more times....) Finally you say, "Orange." They say, "Orange, who?" and you end with "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?"
Is this a repetitive joke or what! What does it mean to repeat? Can anyone think of what commandment has been most repeated from the dawn of time?
      “No divine commandment has been more frequently repeated than the commandment to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Oct. 1979, 20; or Ensign, Nov. 1979, 16).

* Jeremiah 33:3 "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
         Have a cell phone up front. Have an adult sitting by a cracked open Primary door. Prepare that adult before hand with some sort of signal that you're ready for them to call your cell phone... like you scratch your head or say loudly, "Thanks!! On to our next idea." They will call your phone and a primary child has to answer it and answer the question they ask over the phone. Give that person a list of 10 different questions. For example, How does Heavenly Father answer our prayers? Can you name a time Heavenly Father has answered one of your prayers? Please give an example from the scriptures of someone who prayed and was heard. Can you please tell the primary to sing A Child's Prayer (CS pg. 12)

* Bring in a lock and a couple different keys to try to open it. Have a child try the different keys and figure out which one works. "Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees. Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil. And I have learned to conclude all my prayers with ‘Thy will be done’ (Matthew 6:10; see also Luke 11:2; 3 Nephi 13:10).”Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Prayer and Promptings,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 46
      Hand out different hearts with questions on prayer and keys with answers. Let the children walk around and find the matches, then have them share with the Primary. Our love for Heavenly Father and Jesus will grow when we pray often!!

* Ask for 2 volunteers. Have one stand outside the door and knock so we can let them back in.
Have the next one go out but tell them not to knock. Stand there for a 30 seconds or so. How would we know they were even there if they aren't knocking?
Matt. 7: 7 : "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"
     You could have different GAK (Gospel Art Kit) pictures and scriptures having to do with prayer on different doors around the room. The children could pick them and you ask questions or direct conversation about what they've chosen.

* President Monson has said, "Pray with purpose. With God, all things are possible. Remember the prayer of the Prophet Joseph, offered in that grove called sacred. Look around you and see the result of that answered prayer. Prayer is the provider of spiritual strength. Prayer is the passport to peace." (Thomas S. Monson, “Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice: Follow the Signs,” Friend, May 2006, 2–3) 
       Have a large map with prayer cut outs (like a clip art of a little boy and girl kneeling in prayer). On the back of the cut outs can be scriptures, songs, quotes, situations or questions having to do with prayer. (E.g. Can you say more than one prayer at meal time? Can you say a prayer on an airplane if you are scared of flying? What is the difference between a sincere prayer and a repeat prayer?) Have the children come up and choose the cut outs. Also, make some paper clocks with different times and put prayer cut outs by those too... to reinforce the weekly theme.
       Make passports for the children to stamp with their family at home as they read scriptures together about prayer.

*    Have a bell. Bring one child to the front turned away from the primary, covering one ear with their hand. Choose a child to ring a bell from a corner of the room. Have them sit down and have the child in front point to where they were ringing the bell. Repeat a couple times. Tell them that no matter where we are, God always hears our prayers and knows where we are and what we need.
       Matt. 6: 8, "For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." He never makes a mistake, he always knows where the bell is ringing.
     Have questions, scriptures and songs about prayer. Invite a child to ring the bell after each turn where they pick a question, etc. and have another primary friend who was closing their eyes guess where the sound came from.

Week 3 and 4 Answers to prayer come from Heavenly Father in many ways.

* HERE is a great sharing time from The Friend. It has step by step pictures on how we can receive answers to prayers then gives many case studies/examples for children to decide what step was used.

* If I have an important decision, for example who I should marry, should I do this? Invite a friend to come up and hold up a fist. You also hold up a fist and then use your other hand to point to each hand back and forth as you say, "Engine Engine Number Nine, going down Chicago line, if the train should lose it's track, do you want your money back? Yes, No, Maybe so."
     Important decisions need prayer!! Just like our rhyme, Heavenly Father can answers our prayers with a Yes, No, or Maybe So.
     "When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.
       When He answers no, it is to prevent error.
       When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act." Elder Richard G. Scott Oct. 1989 General Conference Learning To Recognize Answers Prayer
     Share some experiences and let the children share experiences of when they have received a yes, no or maybe so. What were the feelings they had?  If you need experiences, click on the above talk!!
* Have 2 children come up front. Invite one to say Hello to the other. Could they hear that? What if the child went to the back of the room and said hello? What if they left the room? Our ears are pretty good, but definitely not as good as Heavenly Father's!! Where and when can He hear us? Have about 5 different paper ears with scriptures having to do with "how" Heavenly Father answers our prayers. Divide into groups and read the scripture and share experiences. Then after 3 minutes invite a group leader to come up and share what they talked about.

* Invite to children to come up front and have a conversation about how their day is going. Give them a secret instruction that you're going to try to get in the conversation too, but they are to IGNORE YOU!!
Has anyone in the room ever been ignored by raise of hands? How does it make you feel? Do you think Heavenly Father is pretty busy and maybe sometimes ignores us?
     1 John 5:14 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us"
      Point out that God always will hear our prayers, but He might not answer the way we want. He's NOT ignoring us. He just knows more than we do, and that's a good thing!

* Divide the children into groups of 3 or 4. Ask them to find out some interesting things about each other. Then have them come up to the front, introduce each other and say one thing they learned about each other. Ask them if they know each other better now? After everyone has shared, ask them if they think they know someone in the room really well... perhaps a brother knows his younger brother really well.
     How do you get to know a person? You need to talk to them and spend time with them. Heavenly Father has done this and knows each one of us better than we know ourselves!! When we talk and spend time praying to Him, He will answer our prayers in ways that are best for us.
      Read Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

* If I cut some strawberries, is that a fruit salad? Not really. What if I just put some bananas? Hmmmm..... We have to have a bunch of different fruit for a fruit salad!!! Like a fruit salad has more than one fruit, Heavenly Father answers prayers in more than one way. He answers in many ways. Make a fruit salad for the Bishop. Invite a couple children up front at a time to answer questions about prayer, or read scriptures... then have them carefully cut up the fruit to put in the bowl. Please be aware of food allergies!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Some personal thoughts of late.....

I'm the wife of an African American man. I’m the mother of 4 Black children. They have medium toned skin, a deep golden color that never burns... 2 have green eyes, 1 has brown and 1 had bright blue eyes. I’m the mother of 4 Greek children. My youngest requests Feta cheese with anything, at anytime and any place. We get weird looks at restaurants sometimes.

I don’t define my children by their earthly heritage and race. They are children of God. I define them by their kindness, their compassion and their diligence to our Heavenly Father. With that said though, I am also so very grateful for their rich earthly heritage and race. It’s part of who they are and there are deep traditions and histories to be found to benefit them as children of God.

Recently, so much strife has been resurfaced in our nation because of the media and the trials they choose to focus on. I’m not trying to be political and I don’t care to hear your opinion on the trial. Sorry. That’s why I’m not on Facebook. Comments will be deleted that aren’t Christ centered because this may be America, but it’s my blog. I’m not trying to be a brat, I’m trying to be a missionary. I also received a comment in July about a story that I posted by one of the apostles. In the story, the hard topic of history and racism was center to the story as well as priesthood blessings. I’m a firm believer that children are close to the spirit and are quick to understand. I’m a firm believer in talking with our children and helping them discover right and wrong. I shared the story with my children at home and enjoyed a spirit filled discussion. Their insight was uplifting. We bore testimony to each other and were edified by the experience. Are there some topics that are a little delicate, absolutely? I’ll be frank. Blacks and the priesthood and polygamy are subjects we don’t delve deeply into. Milk before meat as my eldest is only 8. I never post things on this blog that I feel are too complicated for young minds. Talking about racism with children can be a very positive experience.

But what I really want to talk about is love and respect because those 2 principles are paramount to defeat racism. If we can’t learn from history, our tomorrow will be beyond bleak. We all have family ties to greatness. The spirit of Elijah turns us to our beloved ancestors and helps us to see history. Sometimes history is full of pain. Sometimes history is full of wrongs. Always history shows us of examples who were willing to persevere, to have faith, to sometimes fight, and who trusted in their Maker. We should share with our children these examples of courage and truth, and encourage our children to appreciate righteous individuals who helped to make the world a better place. These individuals came from many different cultures, many different countries, many different races and religions. How many of these history makers do our children know?

God doesn’t want His children to hate each other. God doesn’t want us to fight. God doesn't want us to put others down. And yet, so many people use filthy words to be condescending, judgemental and to "prove a point". Do you sometimes look at people's facebook posts or letters to the newspaper editor and wonder why? We need to carefully heed the words of the scriptures:

Job 6:25  “How forcible are right words!”

Colossians 3:8  “Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” 

James 1:19–20 “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

James 3:2 “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” 

Mosiah 2:32 “Beware lest there shall arise contentions among you.” 

Alma 12:14 “For our words will condemn us.” 

3 Nephi 11:29 “He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention.”

Doctrine and Covenants 20:54 “And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking.”

The world was created by God’s word. Undeniably, words are of great importance. God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. How carefully do we watch and monitor our speech? How much time is taken to think before our lips move or perhaps before the keys are typed?

Life is sacred. We’re commanded to mourn with one another. I’m not aware of any baptismal covenant that commands us to shoot off our mouth, put others down, discriminate, be rude, be offensive, be uncaring and unsympathetic and deny our fellow brothers and sisters of love or respect. People die and it’s sad. It’s one less person in this world who had a chance to make it a great place.

We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. God is our only judge. Be careful of blanket statements. Not everyone is a certain way for the most part. When we speak, let us follow the example of The Savior. Let us think, is this something He would say?

Blanket statements like “All blacks are…. Or all whites are…. Or All Hispanics are….” Or even “Blacks are…. Whites are…. Hispanics are….” are lies. Yes, that’s a strong statement but I stand by it. Not 100% of everyone can be defined in one lump sum or phrase… for the most part. If we want to make blanket statements, we can say that we’re all beggars upon God’s mercy. We’re all in need of the atonement. We all will kneel before our Savior and confess He is The Christ. Stereotypes are blanket statements, so beware. I find it interesting that in the dictionary a synonym for stereotype is vulgarize.

 My plea is that we will love each other a little more each day. That we’ll watch what we think and say. That we’ll strive to be compassionate and less critical of each other. My plea is that we’ll teach our children of Christ, of Christ like people, and how our children too can strive to be like The Master. There are many who make incorrect blanket statements about us, as members of The Church. There are blanket statements that say we’re racist, that we’re ignorant about other cultures, that we’re judgemental… these blanket statements are lies. Let us not fuel falsehoods by saying things that we haven’t really thought about.
I bear testimony I know Heavenly Father loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is our best friend. They want us to return to them and I know that the only way back is because of The Lord’s great sacrifice and through our own personal obedience to His great commands. I know that love, respect, and understanding of one another are essential to our joy. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ice Cream Family Themed Summer Singing Time

Since July is all about families in Primary, I decided to do this simple singing time. You could easily adapt to have children choose songs from the popsicles instead of answer questions. We also enjoyed this activity as a family home evening!
If you have a cereal box, cover it (glue guns are your best friend) with a paper bag from the grocery store then embellish with scraps you have. The box is just a fun prop to look at or you could have a child "drive" (hold it and pass it to another friend) who was also a fabulous singer.
On the back of the popsicles I had these questions:
What is a favorite family vacation you've taken?
What is a fun holiday tradition you have in your family?
Why do we want our families to be eternal?
Can you think of 5 families from the scriptures?
What is your favorite family game to play?
How can you show love to someone in your family?
What are choices you have when someone is bothering/annoying you in your family?
Name 3 reasons/things you love about someone in your family.
Ask the children if they've ever been in this type of pickle. The ice cream man is coming, you hear his wonderful music playing, you look in your piggy bank and there is no money!! You ask your mom and she says she doesn't carry cash!! BUMMER!!! Well, today we don't have to worry about that. All you need is excellent singing to buy these delicious popsicles. What?? you say?? But they are made out of paper!! (take a fake lick of a popsicle) They taste dreamy to me! When we sing, I'm looking for the following:
1. Bold singing - not shouting!! Just nice and loud!!
2. Smiles!!
3. People actually singing!! Moving mouths with sound coming out!!