Can you think of someone you know who loves you very much? It might be your parents, your grandparents, or even a favorite Primary teacher. That person would always want you to know when something wonderful was going to happen. They would also warn you about things that might hurt you. Whenever we really love another person, we want them to be happy, to be safe, and to feel our love for him or her. Heavenly Father loves us very much. He wants us to know the things that we can do to be truly happy and safe in this life and to return to Him someday. One way He helps us know what to do is by calling prophets to speak and act for Him here on earth.
In the scriptures, we read the words of many prophets. They told the people of their times the things the Lord wanted them to know and do. Some people listened and were blessed. Others didn’t, and their lives were not as happy. Noah, an Old Testament prophet, warned the people of his day to repent. Only his family listened and obeyed. Because they did, they were safe on the Ark when the floods came and destroyed everyone else.
Joseph, who was sold into Egypt by his brothers, told Pharaoh that Egypt should save food during the coming seven years, when food would grow in abundance, because in the seven years following them, there would be a famine. Pharaoh listened to Joseph, and all of Egypt had food to eat during the famine.
Abinadi, a Book of Mormon prophet, warned wicked King Noah and his people that they needed to repent of their sins. Alma listened and obeyed. He repented and helped others to learn the gospel as well. Their lives were happier because they listened to and followed the prophet. Those who didn’t listen were destroyed or captured by their enemies.
Because of the great love Heavenly Father has for us, He has sent a prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, to teach and guide us today. Like the people in the scriptures, we, too, can choose whether or not to listen to his words and do the things he asks us to do. If we do listen and follow his counsel, we will be blessed. Our lives will be happier, we will be safer, and one day we will return to and live with Heavenly Father.
Remove page 31 from the magazine and glue it onto a piece of heavy paper. When it is dry, cut out the figures along the broken lines and glue a piece of flannel or sandpaper to the back of each one. Using a flannel board, retell the story of Noah warning the people to repent, building the Ark, and gathering his family and the animals into the Ark. Explain that when the floods came to cleanse the earth, Noah, his family, and the animals were safe because they had followed the counsel of the prophet (see Gen. 6:9–7:10, Gen. 7:17–8:22; Moses 8:18, 23–24). Share this story in family home evening.
(CS = Children’s Songbook; GAK = Gospel Art Kit)
1. Choose several stories from the scriptures in which prophets prophesy or lead the people according to God’s will. Divide the children into groups. Assign each group a story. Have an adult prepared to tell them the story and help them make simple puppets (see Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 176–177) to use in retelling the story. Examples: Joseph tells Pharaoh to store grain for the famine / Pharaoh obeys, and the Egyptians have food (Gen. 41); Moses leads the children of Israel out of bondage / Israel follows him to safety beyond the sea (Ex. 14); Samuel the Lamanite prophesies about the coming of Jesus Christ / the believers are saved when the prophecy is fulfilled (Hel. 14, 3 Ne. 1:19–21); Brigham Young leads the Saints to the Salt Lake Valley / many Saints follow him to safety (D&C 136). After the groups have made their puppets, have them take turns telling their stories to the rest of the children. Sing a song that teaches a principle taught by the prophet each group tells about. Examples of songs from CS: Joseph—“Dare to Do Right” (p. 158); Moses—“Follow the Prophet,” verse 5 (pp. 110–111), Samuel—“Book of Mormon Stories,” verse 7 (pp. 118–119), Brigham Young—“Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked” (p. 214).
2. Prepare a matching game by writing the letters P, R, O, P, H, E, C, and Y on separate pieces of paper. On the back of each paper, ask which prophet gave certain prophecies. (See examples below.) Display the pictures of the prophets who gave the prophecies. Put them in order so that when all the letters have been matched with the prophets, they spell out prophecy. Hide the letters around the room. Have the children search for them. Those who find the letters read the prophecy, match it to the prophet who gave it, and hang the letter below his picture. Ask what the children think happened after the prophecy was given. Tell them what did happen. Continue until all the letters have been posted.
Examples: •P—This prophet prophesied a great flood would cover the earth if the people did not repent / Noah, GAK 102; •R—This prophet, who had been sold into bondage by his brothers, warned the Egyptians to save food for a coming famine / Joseph, GAK 109; •O—This Old Testament prophet told of the birth of Jesus Christ, saying, “For unto us a child is born” (Isa. 9:6) / Isaiah, GAK 113; •P—This prophet warned the people to repent and be baptized so that the Savior could give them the Holy Ghost / John the Baptist, GAK 207; •H—This Book of Mormon prophet warned the people of Jerusalem to repent or their great city would be destroyed / Lehi, GAK 300; •E—This prophet spoke from a tower and prophesied that the Savior would come and that His mother’s name would be Mary / King Benjamin, GAK 307; •C—This prophet was put to death when he prophesied that if they didn’t repent, King Noah’s people would be conquered by their enemies / Abinadi, GAK 308; •Y—This prophet promised us health and wisdom if we lived the Word of Wisdom / Joseph Smith, GAK 400.
For younger children: Show them the pictures of some of the prophets as you tell them of a prophecy they made and what happened. Have them draw a picture of one of the events you have talked about.
3. Have a child read Mal. 3:10. Explain that Malachi was an important Old Testament prophet who taught the people to pay their tithing. If they did, he said, the Lord would open the windows of heaven and pour out great blessings upon them. Tell the story of Lorenzo Snow and how he taught the people to pay their tithing. (See Primary 5 manual, pp. 274–276, GAK 510.) Give each of ten children an apple and have them hold it up as if they were apple trees. As “I’m Glad to Pay a Tithing” (CS, p. 150) is sung, have another child “pick” each of the ten apples and put them into a basket. When the song is finished, ask how much of the fruit they would give to the bishop for tithing. Explain that today, tithing is generally paid with money but that if we were living in pioneer times, we might have paid our tithing with whatever we grew on our farms. Give five children different amounts of money and ask them how much tithing they would pay on that amount. You may want to do the math for younger children. Show a tithing receipt and envelope. Explain that we fill out a receipt, put it with our tithing into the envelope, and give it to the bishop or branch president, or his counselors. Then it is sent to Church headquarters, where it is used for many things. Have children come and pick from a box objects or pictures of things that tithing helps pay for (temples, hymnbooks, chalk and eraser, lesson manual, meetinghouse, Conference Center, etc.). Bear your testimony about the blessings that come from paying tithing. Explain that the Lord blesses not only us but the whole Church when we pay our tithing.
4. Prepare simple road signs, including Stop, Slow, Caution, Go, and View Area. On the backs of the signs, write some of the things that the prophets have prophesied would happen if we do certain things. For example, if we pay tithing, the windows of heaven will be opened to us (Mal. 3:10); if we keep the Word of Wisdom, we will have wisdom, knowledge, and stronger bodies (D&C 89:18–21); if we keep the commandments we will prosper (Jarom 1:9); if we pray, the Lord will answer our prayers (James 1:5); if we study the scriptures, we will be wise and have faith in Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 3:15).
Place the road signs around the room. Explain that some road signs warn us of danger ahead, while others help us appreciate where we are. If we follow the road signs, we will be much safer as we travel and enjoy the trip. Just like the road signs, when we follow the prophets’ directions, Heavenly Father will protect and bless us on our journey through life. Divide the children into groups and have them take a “trip” around the room, from one road sign to another. Explain that they will discover how the Lord blesses those who follow the prophets’ teachings. Have a leader at each road sign explain (or with older children, have them discover by reading the scripture reference) what we are promised if we follow the prophets’ direction. Have the leader tell a short story about a time when they or another person were blessed for their obedience to that principle. Or they might do a simple activity such as show how much a tenth is or what foods we eat to be healthy. After the children have finished their trip to as many signs as time allows, choose some to hold the Stop, Go, Slow, and Caution signs. As the music leader leads songs that reinforce the prophets’ teachings, have the children hold up their signs when she taps them on the shoulder. The singing will then “stop,” “go,” “slow” down, or be sung softly (“caution”). Possible songs from CS: “I Want to Give the Lord My Tenth” (p. 150); “The Lord Gave Me a Temple” (p. 153); “Dare to Do Right” (p. 158); “Seek the Lord Early” (p. 108); “Search, Ponder, and Pray” (p. 109). Have the children draw their own road signs and write how they will follow a direction from one of the prophets during the coming week. Have them take the signs home and put them up in their rooms to help them remember to heed the words of the prophets.
5. Additional Friend resources: “All Things Shall Be Revealed,” June 1990, pp. 12–13; “God Tells His Prophets,” Jan. 1998, pp. 12–13 (Sharing Time Idea #2); “Noah’s Ark Game,” June 1998, pp. 24–25, 27, 39; “About Tithing,” Feb. 1999, p. 23; “Prophets and Prophecies,” May 1999, p. 11; “What Would the Prophets Want Me to Do?” Sep. 1999, pp. 36–39.