Lesson 40: Worshiping at Church

Primary 3, (1994), 197–202


Purpose

To strengthen the children’s desire to worship at church.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Exodus 20:8 and Doctrine and Covenants 25:12.

  2. 2.

    Prepare a four-pointed star as illustrated. Place it in the paper bag for use in the game.

  3. 3.

    Prepare to help the children sing or say the words to “When I Go to Church” (Children’s Songbook, p. 157).

  4. 4.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      A Doctrine and Covenants.

    2. b.

      A paper bag.

    3. c.

      Picture 3-25, Going to Church; picture 3-59, Passing the Sacrament (62021); picture 3-64, Praying at Church; picture 3-65, Singing at Church; picture 3-66, Listening at Church; picture 3-67, President Spencer W. Kimball.

    4. d.

      Chalk, chalkboard, and eraser.

  5. 5.

    Make the necessary preparations for any enrichment activities that you will be using.

Suggested Lesson Development

Invite a child to give the opening prayer.

Follow up with the children if you encouraged them to do something during the week.

Sunday Is a Special Day

Attention activity

Help the children sing or say the words to “When I Go to Church.”

I always have a happy feeling
When I go to church.
The organ plays so soft and sweet;
I tiptoe softly to my seat.
My teachers and my friends I greet
When I go to church.
I like to raise my voice in singing
When I go to church.
I fold my arms and bow my head,
Then listen while the prayer is said;
I do not talk but think instead
When I go to church.
I learn about my Heav’nly Father
When I go to church.
I thank him for each flow’r and tree,
For home and friends and family,
For all the lovely things I see
When I go to church.

Explain that Heavenly Father knew we needed a time each week when we could learn more about him and Jesus Christ. He made Sunday a special day for us, a day when we go to sacrament meeting and Primary. He wants Sunday to be a happy day, one that we look forward to. When we choose to go to church, we are choosing the right.

Church Is a Special Place

Story and discussion

Tell the children about a boy who had a problem that almost made him stop coming to church. His name was Vaughn Featherstone, and he later became a General Authority. Introduce the story by explaining that when Vaughn Featherstone was young, his family was quite poor and couldn’t afford much clothing.

“I had a pair of shoes that I’d wear to church. They weren’t the best shoes. They had holes in the bottom sole, so I’d cut out pieces of cardboard [from a cereal box] and slide them in as an insole. When I went to church I would sit with both feet flat on the floor; I didn’t want to raise one leg and have someone see [the printing on the cardboard from a cereal box] across the bottom of my shoe. I’d go off to church that way, and everything was fine until those shoes wore out. Then I didn’t know what I would do. I remember it was Saturday, and I thought, ‘I’ve got to go to church. Over at church I am somebody. They really care about me.’ I remember thinking that through, and I went to a little box of shoes some neighbors had given us. I went through them, but I could find only one pair of shoes that would fit me. … They were a pair of women’s nurses’ shoes. I thought, ‘How can I wear those? They’ll laugh me to scorn over at church.’ And so I decided I wouldn’t wear them, and I wouldn’t go to church.”

  • How would you feel if you had been in Brother Featherstone’s place?

  • What would you have done?

Let several children respond; then continue with the story:

“I went through that night, and the next morning … I knew I had to go! … I decided what to do. I would run over there very early and sit down close to the front before anybody got there. I thought, ‘I’ll put my feet back under the pew [bench] so no one can see them, and then I’ll wait till everyone leaves. After they’re gone I’ll come running home half an hour later or something.’ That was my plan. I dashed over to church half an hour early, and it worked. Nobody was there. I put my feet back under the bench. Pretty soon everyone came in, and then all of a sudden someone announced: ‘We will now be separated for classes.’ I had forgotten you had to go to class. … I was terrified. The ushers started coming down the aisle, they got to our row, and everybody got up and left. But I just sat there. I couldn’t move. I knew I couldn’t for fear that someone would see my shoes. But the social pressure was intense. That whole meeting just seemed to stop and wait until I moved, so I had to move. I got up and just followed the class downstairs.

“I think I learned the greatest lesson I have ever learned in my life that day. I went downstairs, and the teacher had us sit in a big half-circle. Each of my shoes felt two feet in diameter. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I was. I watched, but, do you know, not one of those eight- and nine-year-old children in that class laughed at me. Not one of them looked at me. No one pointed at my shoes. My teacher didn’t look. I was looking all the time. I was watching everybody to see if anyone was looking at me. … Of course they saw those nurses’ shoes that I had to wear to church. But they had the fine instinct not to laugh” (Vaughn J. Featherstone, “Acres of Diamonds,” in Speeches of the Year, 1974 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1975], pp. 351–52).

  • Why was Brother Featherstone willing to wear the nurses’ shoes to church when he was a boy? (Because he wanted so much to go to church.)

Explain that young Vaughn Featherstone knew it was important to attend church. He was happy to go to church every week, even though his family could not afford good shoes for him. He decided going to church was more important, even if he didn’t have nice shoes.

We Attend Church to Worship Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ

Chalkboard and pictures

Explain that all over the world boys and girls and their parents attend church each Sunday. When we attend church and participate by listening and learning, we are worshiping Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Display picture 3-25, Going to Church. Explain that they are going to worship.

Print Worship on the chalkboard.

Explain that there are many ways that we can worship at church. Display picture 3-59, Passing the Sacrament.

Remind the children that when we take the sacrament, we are remembering Jesus Christ. If we have been baptized, we are renewing the covenants we made to always remember him and to obey his commandments. Taking the sacrament is one of the most important ways we worship while attending church.

Display picture 3-65, Singing at Church, next to the picture of the sacrament.

Scripture

Point out that when we sing a hymn with feeling, we are expressing our love to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. If we do not sing, we are missing an opportunity to worship them.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 25:12 to the children. Emphasize that Heavenly Father is pleased when we sing hymns and sacred songs to him.

Picture activity

Display picture 3-64, Praying at Church, next to the picture of singing.

Explain that we hear many prayers when we are at church. Remind the children that when another person is offering a prayer, we should close our eyes, bow our heads, and listen to what is said.

  • What do we say at the end of a prayer? (Amen.)

  • Why do we say “amen”? (To show we agree and support what has been said.)

Point out that during the sacrament service we can pray silently. While we are thinking about Jesus Christ, we could ask Heavenly Father to help us choose the right and obey the commandments.

Display picture 3-66, Listening at Church, next to the picture of prayer.

Activity discussion

  • How can we show we are listening at Church? (By sitting reverently, by not talking, and by looking at the speaker or teacher.)

Challenge the children to name some of the people we should listen to while at church. Instruct them to hold up a finger for each idea. Possible responses include: a speaker in Primary or sacrament meeting, the young man blessing the sacrament, someone who prays in class or in a meeting, and a teacher.

Story

Display picture 3-67, President Spencer W. Kimball. Explain that he was a prophet and the twelfth President of the Church. Tell the following story about him.

President Spencer W. Kimball was just a boy when he heard a Church leader from Salt Lake City tell the congregation that they should read the scriptures. He realized that he had never read the Bible, so he set a goal that he would read it.

Spencer went home and climbed up to his little attic room and lighted a little coal-oil lamp and read the first chapters of Genesis that very night. Although it was difficult, he knew that if others did it, he could do it too.

A year later he had read every chapter in the Bible. When he had finished, he had a good feeling that he had made a goal and that he had achieved it. (See Spencer W. Kimball, “Planning for a Full and Abundant Life,” Ensign, May 1974, p. 88.)

  • Why did Spencer W. Kimball decide to read the Bible? (Because he heard a speaker at church suggest that everyone should read the scriptures.)

  • What have you heard from a speaker at church that interested you or helped you keep a commandment or learn more about the gospel?

Summary

Game

Show the star that you have prepared. Point out that the four ways to worship that you have talked about today are printed on it. Explain that you will put the star into a paper bag and give each child an opportunity to pull the star out of the bag. They are then to answer the following statements about the word on the point of the star they are holding.

Following are some suggested statements. Ask the same question each time the same point is chosen. Since there are many different responses for each statement, this game could be repeated to give each child several opportunities to participate.

Listen: Who are some people we should listen to at church? (The bishopric, the priest blessing the sacrament, members giving talks, and Primary teachers.)

Sing: Name one song you like to sing at church. (You might want the class to sing the song that the child has selected.)

Pray: Name one time we offer a prayer at church. (Opening prayer, the blessing on the bread, the blessing on the water, closing prayer, silent prayers, or opening and closing prayers in Primary.)

Sacrament: Name one thing you can do during the sacrament. (Think of Jesus Christ, pray, sit reverently, listen to the prayers, or remember the baptismal covenants.)

Teacher testimony

Bear your testimony that great blessings of peace, increased gospel understanding, and closeness to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can come from choosing to worship in the right way. Invite the children to listen more carefully in their next meeting.

Invite a child to give the closing prayer.

Enrichment Activities

Choose from the following activities those that will work best for your children. You can use them in the lesson itself or as a review or summary. For additional guidance, see “Class Time” in “Helps for the Teacher.”

  1. 1.

    Prepare a handkerchief with a button tied into one corner. Tell the children that you are going to drop the handkerchief. Tell them to raise their hands if they hear it fall. Compliment those who raised their hands because they listened so well. Take the button out of the corner and drop the handkerchief again. Ask the children to raise their hands if they hear it this time.

    Tell the children that they should always listen as carefully as they listened to the handkerchief fall. Whenever someone stands to speak to them, whether it is the bishop or the Primary president or a Primary child giving a talk, they need to listen. When their teachers stand before them in their classrooms, it is a signal to listen so that they can hear what the teachers say. Remind the children that they should never miss hearing something important, so they should listen carefully to what is being said.

  2. 2.

    Tell the following story:

    Karen liked to go to Primary. One Sunday, Karen’s father asked, “What did you learn in Primary today, Karen?” Karen thought a moment; then she said, “I can’t remember, Daddy.” As she thought, she remembered that throughout Primary she had been thinking how wonderful it would be at Sally’s birthday party the next day. She hadn’t listened at all in Primary!

    Her father said, “Karen, I am glad that you go to Primary, but Mother and I also want you to be reverent while you are there.”

    “But, Daddy, I was very quiet!”

    “I’m glad you were quiet, Karen, but that is only part of being reverent. You also need to listen and participate in everything. When the prayer is said, you should think about it as though you were saying the prayer yourself and then say amen. When you sing, you should think about the words of the song. You should listen carefully to your teacher. When you participate in everything, you will feel close to Heavenly Father. That is being reverent.”

  3. 3.

    If there is a child in your class who is absent or less active, take some time with the class to prepare a letter to that child. Have the children help you by suggesting things they do at church that the child has been missing. Write in the letter that you and the children miss seeing the child in class. Have each member of the class sign the letter. Have the letter delivered.

  4. 4.

    Help the children sing or say the words to “The Chapel Doors” (Children’s Songbook, p. 156).

    The chapel doors seem to say to me,
    “Sh, be still.”
    For this is a reverent place to be,
    “Sh, be still.”
    We gather here on the Sabbath day
    To learn of Jesus, to sing and pray.
    So when we come through the chapel doors,
    “Sh, be still.”