You will make many important choices in your life. You will be able to choose to keep the commandments. You can choose to obey your parents. You will choose your friends and the activities you participate in. It will be your choice to accept a call to go on a mission. You decide how to treat others, and whether or not to obey the law. All these choices are important, and you are accountable for them.
Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to make right choices because they will bless your life and help you be happy. He wants to help, but He will never choose for you or force you to make a choice. He has given you the precious gift of agency, which is the power to make your own choices.
When you have an important choice to make, you can study it out in your mind. (See D&C 9:8.) Think carefully about your options. You might ask your parents and other leaders for their help and guidance. Find out what Heavenly Father has already told you about this choice in the scriptures. Study what the prophets have said about it. Imagine what the consequences of each option might be and make a list of all the good and bad consequences.
When you feel that you understand what the best choice is, pray to Heavenly Father. Explain to Him why this choice is important to you. Tell Him the feelings of your heart and the reasons for your choice. Ask Him to help you understand if your choice is a good one for you.
After sincerely praying, think about how you feel. You may have a warm peaceful feeling come into your heart. You may feel as though you should go forward with your choice. If you feel confused or uneasy about it, you should consider your choice again. These kinds of feelings come to you from your Father in Heaven. (See D&C 9:8–9.)
In the starting box of the maze on the following page, write a choice you have to make. Follow the instructions as you go through the maze. Then, in the finish box, write the choice you have made.
1. Prepare these eight word strips: “Thee,” “Thy,” “Thine,” “Thou,” “Heavenly Father,” “I thank Thee,” “I ask Thee,” and “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Review “The Language of Prayer,” (Ensign, May 1993, pp. 15–18). Place the word strips on the walls around the room. Show the children a picture of the Savior praying and tell them that He is our example in all things. Explain to them that Jesus Christ taught us how to pray. Review Matthew 6:6–13 and discuss the pattern of prayer. Have the children help you find the appropriate word strips and place them in their correct order. Explain that when we address Heavenly Father, we use language that shows our love, honor, and respect for Him. Display together “Thee,” “Thy,” “Thine,” and “Thou,” and have the children practice using them in sentences instead of you, your, and yours.
2. Place pictures of different types of prayers (personal, family, congregational, blessing on the food, special needs, and sacramental) around the room. Clear the chairs from the room and allow the children to sit on the floor. As you discuss each type of prayer, let them move to sit under that picture. Encourage them to respond and to discover for themselves the differences, similarities, and importance of each type of prayer by asking these questions: “What type of prayer is this?” “What are some of the reasons for offering this kind of prayer?” “Have you ever offered this type of prayer? When?” “What things would you express gratitude for in this type of prayer?” “What are some of the blessings you might ask for in this type of prayer?” “Why is this type of prayer important?” “How is this type of prayer different from and the same as other types of prayer?”
3. Explain that many of the songs we sing in Primary are actually prayers. In these songs, we ask Heavenly Father to bless us and help us. Have the pianist play a few measures from one or more of the following songs. Let the children guess what the title of the song is, have them sing it, then mention the blessings they asked for in the song. Draw attention to the use of the words “Thee,” “Thy,” “Thou,” and “Thine.” Examples: “I Thank Thee, Dear Father,” p. 7 (“Help me to be good, kind, and gentle today, And mind what my father and mother shall say. Bless me and keep me thy child”); “Heavenly Father, Now I Pray,” p. 19 (“Guide and guard me ev’ry day. Help me feel thy love for me”); “Father Up Above,” p. 23 (“Bless us with thy love”); “Reverently, Quietly,” p. 26 (“Let thy Holy Spirit dwell in our hearts today”); “Help Me, Dear Father,” p. 99 (Help me forgive, repent, and live nearer to Him).
4. Display different kinds of telephones and communication equipment. Mention how the equipment has changed over your lifetime. Tell the children that Heavenly Father has provided a way of communicating with Him anywhere at any time: prayer. Point to the phrase “I can pray to Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere” on the front of My Achievement Days booklet. Discuss the attitudes that are important as they pray: faith (see James 1:5–6); love of God and all mankind (see Matt. 15:8; Alma 34:28); humility, sincerity, repentance, and thanksgiving (see Alma 7:23–24; Moro. 10:4). Give each child a piece of paper and have him or her write prayer in the middle of it, then use brightly colored crayons to circle prayer over and over until the paper is filled with a colored “rainbow” surrounding the word.
5. Invite an adult to share times when prayer has helped him/her make correct choices. Prepare a slip of paper for each child to give to his/her parents. On each slip write: “In Primary we are learning about prayer. Share with me a time when prayer has helped you make a difficult choice correctly.”
6. Explain that through prayer, Heavenly Father helps His children make correct choices. Show a picture of the First Vision. Discuss Joseph Smith’s desire to join the right church and how Heavenly Father answered his prayer. Divide the children into three groups. Give each group a slip of paper with the name of a prophet and a scripture reference. Have each group read and discuss its story to find out what difficult choice or problem the prophet had, and God’s answer through prayer. Each group’s spokesman shares with all the children what his/her group found out. Examples: Alma—Mosiah 26:1–15, 29, 36–37; Mosiah—Mosiah 28:1–8; Captain Moroni (through Alma)—Alma 43:15–17, 23–24.
7. For additional help on the topic of prayer, see the following from the Friend: “Alma and Amulek Teach the Zoramites to Pray,” Feb. 1992, p. 12; “Inner Compass,” Mar. 1994, p. 40; “The Choice,” July 1994, p. 8; “Fire on the Mountain,” Nov. 1995, p. 8; “Marty’s Muddy Shoes,” Apr. 1996, p. 32. See also: Attention Activity in “Jesus Christ Teaches about Prayer,” Primary 7 manual, p. 37; “Heavenly Father Answers Our Prayers,” Family Home Evening Resource Book, pp. 27–30.