Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Exercises For The Soul - Prayer

Note: Prayer is one of the most important things you can teach your children so that even when you are not with them they wil always have someone to access for blessings, protection and guidance and they will never feel alone.

Start the lesson by asking family members to share a time when a prayer was answered. The following is a story that really happened to Grandpa Kern when he was a boy.


One summer evening, after our weekly Young Men's Activity, my friends invited me to join them in an adventure that seemed destructive and of questionable value to me. They planned to walk home "the long way"passing a shopping center that included a 24 hour laundromat. The idea that excited them was to put coins in the large clothes dryers and jump in for a ride. There was also an old style pop vending machine that dispensed soda pop in bottles. Since the cap was exposed, it was easy to pop off the lid and use a home made paper cup to capture a free drink.
That summer I had worked as a river guide for the Boy Scouts, kayaking down the Snake River near Jackson Hole Wyoming...much more adventuresome than riding in a clothes dryer. Scouting was a major part of my life at that time and since I really didn't ever learn to play basketball (that was the regular activity for the boys my age), I had spent this particular evening with the younger boys in their Boy Scout troop meeting. I enjoyed scouting and had a very positive experience with the boys that night. I felt good. I was happy. I am no saint and not really a "goody two shoes", but the idea of riding in clothes dryers and stealing soda pop just didn't set well with me...yet I wanted to be with friends of my own age, especially since I had not been with them to play basketball.
While everyone was gathering their coats and using the bathroom, I slipped outside and knelt behind some bushes to say a fervent prayer... "Please Lord, help us find something else to do tonight."
As I joined the mob of 15 year olds we walked (actually pushed, shoved and tipped each other) down the street away from the church building to the intersection where we would normally turn right to go to our homes. That night we turned left. Almost immediately we heard gunshots, enough to make us run for cover in the bushes and behind the low fence surrounding a trailer park. After the firing ceased we huddled together to discuss the possibilities of what had just happened. and what we should do about it. We decided two boys should run back to the church to call the police. The rest of us stayed undercover to make sure no one left the crime scene (yeah right...we were so scared there was no way ant one would have approached someone leaving, but at least we figured we could memorize a license plate!).
The police were quick to respond, They put us in their squad cars for protection, grabbed their guns and entered the trailer park, (pretty exciting for us). It seemed like an eternity before they returned, looking relaxed, unruffled and calm. We were surprised they had taken no prisoners!
The policemen explained that no one had been hurt, but they had ticketed one resident for firing a gun within the city limits. Apparently he was angry with a neighbor's barking dog. I don't remember if the dog was hurt. I do remember a silent prayer of gratitude for "something else to do" that night. I was in awe of the power of a simple heartfelt prayer from behind the bushes...I am still in awe.
We continued our "long way" journey home, passing the laundromat without ever entering. No destructive rides, no stolen soda pop. We felt good. We felt responsible. We felt that we did not want to be a disappointment to the policemen we had just met. I felt a prayer had been answered, lessons had been learned and frienships had been strengthened through a common "bonding" experience. To me, a prayer had been answered.

Conclude the lesson by reminding family members that Heavenly Father answers prayers in many ways. Sometimes he says no because he knows what is better for us when we have to grow a little to understand. Sometimes he wants us to wait and sometimes he gives us something different than we are expecting. But we can be sure he loves us and wants to do what's best for us - just like our earthly father.

Hymn ideas: "Ere you Left Your Room This Morning". The name might be "Did You Think to Pray?" or "A Child's Prayer" from the Children's Songbook.

Person of the week: Grandpa Kern (Ralph) who has been kind and helpful and stuck with Grandma through this difficult stage of life even though it would be understandable to leave.

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