Primary 4: Book of Mormon Lesson 9 (Enos Prays)
Posted by robf on March 9, 2008
According to the official lesson materials, the purpose of this lesson is:
To encourage the children to seek the blessings that come through sincere prayer to Heavenly Father.
I substitute taught this lesson to 10 and 11 year old primary class today. I started with a game of hangman, with the first part of Enos 1:4. After the kids figured out the words of the passage, I had them find it in the scriptures using the Topical Guide and Index. Then we spent the rest of the time reading the chapter, verse by verse.
Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—
I had the kids figure out who Enos’s father was (Jacob) and showed how he was the son of Jacob the Temple High Priest and the nephew of Nephi the King. We looked at the similarities between this verse and 1 Nephi 1:1, and how Nephi and Enos are using a similar pattern to write about their lives.
And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.
We followed the footnote (a) to Gen 32:24, and talked about what it means to wrestle or embrace the Lord, and how Enos is possibly referring here to a struggle he had similar to his ancestor Jacob/Israel. I asked what Israel meant, and had the kids look it up in the Bible Dictionary. We talked about what it means to “prevail with God.”
Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
We talked about eternal life, and how it is different from immortality. How it is living with God, with a life like He has. We talked about joy, and how it is more than just happiness–it is the feeling we have in the presence of God. The kids looked up Joy in the Topical Guide and we talked for a moment about how we sang with Joy when we were presented with the Plan of Salvation, etc.
And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
I wrote the word “soul” on the board, and we talked about how it is the combination of body and spirit. How Enos didn’t just want his body to be happy, or his spirit or emotions to be happy. He wanted joy with his whole soul. We talked about hungering. I asked the class if they thought Enos just prayed something like “thank you for this day, bless the food to nourish and strengthen us, etc.” At which point a kid said, “you mean, how we pray?” This led us to talk about sincere prayer, and how Enos is repenting. I explained that the definition of repent is to turn, and how this prayer that lasted all day and into the night was the wrestle or struggle that it took Enos to turn to completely face in the direction the Lord wanted him to be in, so that they could be together.
And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
Since the kids know the story, roughly, and we were now running out of time, I asked them if they thought Enos just felt happy and went back to hunting. They said no, and we talked about how once he was forgiven, once he was filled with joy, how all he really wanted was for the Lord to bless his close kin (the Nephites), and how he prayed for them until the Lord said that if they did what he had done, they would get similar blessings, but if they didn’t, it was not his responsibility.
Then we talked about how he prayed for the Lamanites, even though they were wicked, and how he was promised the same thing that Nephi had been shown–that the words of the Nephite prophets would eventually be given to the descendants of the Lamanites, to bless them.
We talked about how once we are forgiven, and are filled with joy, what we really want to do is to share that joy with others. How this is what is most important about repenting–getting into a position where we can work together with God to help bring the joy of the gospel to others.
At this point, we were out of time, so I ended with my testimony of how important this all is, and how Enos represents all of us and what we must do to get in harmony with the Lord.
We had a great discussion, the kids were pretty into it, but in the back of my mind I wonder how well we achieved the stated purpose of the lesson. On one hand, I didn’t want them to get a traditional lesson on prayer–that it is some kind of magic way to communicate with God. I wanted them to get a taste for what it is like to fully wrestle/embrace God through prayer, and the consequences of putting oneself in harmony with the Lord. I hope they got some of that, and that they will continue to think about Enos and how he represents all of us.
This evening I asked my daughter, who was in the class today, what she thought the most important point of the lesson was. She said “eternal life, and how we should always be trying to get back to live with Heavenly Father.” I suppose since eternal life is the greatest of “the blessings that come through sincere prayer to Heavenly Father,” perhaps the lesson had the required effect after all? You can only hope that the kids felt something that they will incorporate into the fabric of the testimonies they will need to make it through the challenges they will face.
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