Sharing Time: Count Your Blessings


Sydney S. Reynolds
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5).

Count Your Blessings

What are some of the blessings we receive because of our faith in Jesus Christ? One of the greatest blessings is answers to our prayers.

When Jim was a little boy, he loved to ride his horse. He had a pair of spurs that made him feel like a real cowboy. One day when he came in from riding, he was disobedient and his mother sent him to his room in the basement. He was so angry that he threw his spurs down the stairs. Later he repented and told his mother that he was sorry. The next time he wanted to ride his horse, he couldn’t find the spurs. He looked everywhere. Finally he knelt and prayed to Heavenly Father to help him find them. When he finished praying, he started looking again—and found them. This was the beginning of Jim’s testimony that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. Now he is a stake president. He teaches the children in his stake that praying every night and morning will bring them great blessings all the rest of their lives.

Praying sincerely to Heavenly Father morning and night makes it easier to hear the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter that Jesus Christ promised to all who keep His commandments. The Holy Ghost can teach us, guide us, and help us feel peace in our hearts. These blessings come when we have faith in Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we need strength because life is hard for us. Christy wanted to memorize the articles of faith and earn her Gospel in Action award. It was extra hard for her because she has cerebral palsy. Christy had faith that the Lord would help her. She listened to the song tapes of the Articles of Faith over and over. She practiced until she could sing them all—and earned her award. Her family and friends were blessed by her good example.

When we count our blessings, we can say, “My prayers are answered, I receive guidance and comfort, I can receive strength to overcome trials.” Yes, faith in Jesus Christ blesses our lives.

Activity: Use page 13 to record some of the blessings you are thankful for, such as your family, the scriptures, your friends. Then, on the other three booklet pages, record any experiences in which you or someone in your family received an answer to prayer, were guided by the Holy Ghost to choose the right, or received strength and comfort when they were really needed. The experiences can be in the past or in the present. You can make a thank-you book by cutting on the broken lines, punching the holes, assembling the pages, and tying the holes together with ribbon. If you have a loose-leaf journal, you can mount this page on heavy white paper, trim it, and punch holes in it to fit your journal. Or, if you use a bound journal, you can glue this page on the next blank page in your journal.

Counting My Blessings

My name is _______________________________.

I am _________ years old.

Today is ______________________. (Date)

These are some of the blessings I am grateful for:

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Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers. (See Morm. 9:21.)

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The Holy Ghost guides me and helps me choose the right. (See John 14:16, 26.)

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I receive strength and comfort when I have trials. (See Alma 36:3.)

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Sharing Time Ideas

(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook)

1. Read Enrichment Activity #1 in Primary 2 manual, Lesson 18. Select a panel of 3 or 4 children to pretend that they are “expert parents.” Give each one large cards that say Yes, No, and Not now. Ask the panel to decide, individually or as a unit, what is best for a child in certain situations, hold up their answers, and tell why they answered as they did. Other children might draw the situations out of a container, or you can present them. Use the situations from the manual, construct your own, or use some of the following: • My father has been out of work and is finally offered a good job in a new city. I’m 8 years old and want to stay here. Should I be willing to move? • My friends want to play, but I haven’t done my homework and have a big spelling test tomorrow. Should I play? • It’s a hot day, and my chores are not done. My friends are going swimming at the local pool, and I want to go with them. What do I tell them? When the panel has finished, explain that parents want to do what is best for their children. Heavenly Father knows what is best for us. He always answers our prayers, and He answers them in ways that are best for us. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no, and sometimes “not now.” Share a story or personal experience of receiving an answer to prayer. Remind the children that when we have faith in Heavenly Father, we are willing to trust His answers—we know that He knows best and that He loves us. From the front of the My Achievement Days booklet, have the children recite with you, “I can pray to Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere.” (Or write it on paper and have them draw borders around it in several different colors.) Sing “Heavenly Father, Now I Pray” (CS, p. 19) or another song about prayer.

2. Make large, simple puzzles, each in a different color, from outline drawings of a home, a family, the earth, and a church. Put the pieces under chairs. Discuss some of the things we are thankful for. Have color cards of the colors used in the puzzles. While you sing songs about gratitude, home, family, church, and/or this beautiful world, shuffle the cards in front of the children. When the pianist stops, ask a child (or two) with a puzzle piece the same color as the card you hold up to name something he/she is thankful for, then post the piece. Continue until all the puzzles are assembled. Have older children look up and recite D&C 59:7. What are some of the ways we make known our thanks? (By saying “thank you,” writing thank-you notes, having a positive attitude, thanking Heavenly Father in prayer, doing good things for others.) Let the children draw pictures of things they are thankful for; suggest that they can make their pictures into puzzles at home and do this activity for family home evening.

3. Who are some of the people in the scriptures who received strength to overcome trials because of their faith in the Lord? Have each class choose a story from the scriptures or from Church history and plan a brief skit to dramatize it. Give each class a large card on which to write the scripture reference for their skit. Possible stories: • the people of Alma / Mosiah 24:8–15 • the sons of Helaman / Alma 57:heading, 19–27 • Ruth and Naomi / Ruth 1:1–17, 22; Ruth 2:1–2, 7–12 • Daniel and his friends / Dan. 1:3–17 • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego / Dan. 3 • David and Goliath / 1 Sam. 17:39–51. See the 1998 CSMP/Sharing Time Outline for other stories. Read together Alma 36:3; share your own witness that the Lord will support those who trust in Him. Sing “Nephi’s Courage,” especially v. 3 (CS, pp. 120–121).

4. Hide these wordstrips in the room: Keep the Commandments, Read the Scriptures, Pray, and Choose the Right (or use the CTR symbol). Sing v. 1 of “The Holy Ghost” (CS, p. 105). Talk about the importance of being ready to hear the Holy Ghost. In a whisper, direct a child to find a wordstrip. When he finds and posts it, ask all the children why doing what it says makes it easier to hear the Holy Ghost. Ask if they know a song about that wordstrip (examples from the CS: “Keep the Commandments,” pp. 146–147; “Search, Ponder, and Pray,” p. 109; “I Pray in Faith,” p. 14; “If with All Your Hearts,” p. 15; “The Still Small Voice,” pp. 106–107), and sing the song. Repeat the activity until all the wordstrips are found, discussed, and sung about. Congratulate the finders on being able to listen so well. Tell a story or a personal experience about blessings received when we listen to the Holy Ghost. You might invite, in advance, some of the children to be prepared to share an experience of their own. Conclude by reading “The Holy Ghost Speaks Softly” (Friend, July 1997, p. 15) and singing v. 2 of “The Holy Ghost.” For younger children: Instead of having the children find the wordstrips, you might have them find some of the “treasures” that come from listening to the Spirit: wisdom, good health, answers to prayer, kindness, faith, love, joy (see Gal. 5:22–23).

5. Other Friend resources: • adapt “Treasures,” Aug. 1998, pp. 24–25, to play as a game • Sharing Time Ideas—Sep. 1998, pp. 12, 26; Nov. 1998, pp. 14, 23; July 1997, pp. 36–37 • “Going to Father for Help” Sep. 1998, pp. 8–10 • “We Can Pray to Heavenly Father,” Sep. 1998, pp. 28–29 • “The Gift of the Holy Ghost,” July 1995, IFC.

[photos] Photos by Superstock, Micheal Schoenfeld, and Craig Dimond

[illustration] Storytime in Galilee by Del Parson