What does it mean to have faith? Faith is believing in something that is real even if we have not seen it (see Alma 32:21).
Joseph Smith wanted to know which church he should join. One evening when he was reading the Bible he read in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth [scolds or criticizes] not; and it shall be given him.”
Joseph believed this scripture and planted its truth in his heart. He knew the Lord would answer his prayer. Joseph prayed in faith, and he received an answer.
To have faith in Jesus Christ means that although we have not seen Him, we believe that He lives and that we can trust Him. When we pray in faith for help to choose the right, we know that our prayers will be answered. When we listen to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, we feel Him close to us and know that He loves us.
How does our faith in Jesus Christ grow? Alma tells us that the word of God is like a seed (see Alma 32:27–43). When we believe that it will grow, we plant a seed in the earth. We then nurture it by keeping the weeds away, by giving it water, and by making sure it has sunshine. If it is a good seed, it will begin to grow.
When we have faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ, we plant true words of God in our hearts. We nurture this kind of seed by praying, by listening to the prophets, by keeping the commandments, and by responding to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. As we do this, the seed of truth will grow within our hearts. Then we will know that Jesus Christ is happy with our efforts.
Alma says that if we continue to nourish the word of God by our faith, we will eventually be blessed with eternal life. What joy our faith will bring!
Activity 1: To make a book to remind you that the word of God is like a seed, mount page 13 on heavy paper. Cut out the four large panels, and punch or cut holes where indicated. Arrange the pages so that the seed is planted and grows into a tree. Fasten the pages together with yarn or string.
Activity 2: To watch the seed grow, cut out the long panels and the heart box. Cut along the broken lines in the heart. Form one long strip by gluing the long panels together where indicated. Thread the strip up through the bottom slit in the heart and down through the top slit. Pull the strip through the heart, and watch the seed grow.
Activity 1: The Word of God Is like a Seed
The Word of God Is like a Seed
(See Alma 32:27–43.)
Plant it: Believe.
Nurture it: Read the scriptures. Listen to the prophets. Keep the commandments.
Tend it: Pray. Listen and respond to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
And it will grow.
“If ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life” (Alma 32:41).
Help the children memorize Alma 32:21. Then read or tell about Alma 32:27–43. Discuss the importance of planting the word of God in our hearts and nurturing it by our faith. Assemble pictures of some gardening aids and put them into a box or bag. Have the children take turns picking an item and telling one thing we can do to nurture the word of God by our faith in Jesus Christ (pray, believe, keep the commandments, obey, and so on.). Label each item with a word suggested by the children.
Hebrews 11 [Heb. 11] contains references to stories of faith. Write the following verse numbers on slips of paper and put them into a container: 5, 7, 8, 11, 17, 22, 23, 24–25, 29, 30, 32–34. (Use pictures of the events referred to in Hebrews 11 for younger children). Have the children sit in a circle with their scriptures open to Hebrews 11. Pass the container around while the children sing “Faith” (Children’s Songbook, 96–97; The Friend, September 1995, 6–7). Stop the singing periodically, and ask the child holding the container to select a slip of paper and read the verse it refers to. Point out that the people described in these verses centered their faith in Jesus Christ.