Whether a child has special needs or not, this lesson plan helps visualize the steps of prayer — not only thanking and asking, but also asking for forgiveness. It helps a child to see that adults have to ask for forgiveness too — and makes the power of the Atonement real.
Purpose: To help a child understand the five steps of prayer.
Supplies: You’ll need 6 stick figures (3 for the adult and 3 for the child). You can draw them or print out 3 copies of our blank stick figures. You’ll also need a picture of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ such as Joseph Smith’s First Vision.
Directions: The teacher goes first as an example. He writes his name on top of one figure. Then he says what he is grateful for and writes those things around his figure.
Take out a 3rd stick figure. Around the figure write anything you need forgiveness for. Say something like, “I made a mistake and yelled at someone” or “I took something that didn’t belong to me” as examples of the kinds of things to write down in this section. Help the child fill out his mistakes around stick figure #4. Explain that everyone makes mistakes — no need to dwell on them — and we can ask for forgiveness, thanks to Jesus Christ, and try not to do it again.
Next, write down blessings you need or want around stick figure#5. Have the child write down what blessings he wants, for himself or others, around stick figure #6. Examples: make good choices, learn to be safe, healing for a family member, etc. You could cut out small pictures of missionaries, family members, pets, the prophet (from the Friend magazine) if that would help the child learn about important people and things to pray about.
Once all the stick figures are filled out, summarize: “There are five steps in prayer:
1. Open the prayer. Say “Dear Heavenly Father …”
2. Tell Heavenly Father what you are grateful for. “I am thankful for …” (Use the list you just wrote up.)
3. Ask Heavenly Father to forgive you for mistakes you made (refer to the child’s stick figure).
4. Ask Heavenly Father for things you need or want for yourself or others (refer to the blessing stick figure.)
5. Close the prayer. End with “I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Lay out the stick figures in order. Write “Dear Heavenly Father” on the top of the blessings page. Write “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen” at the bottom of the last paper or place a picture of Jesus Christ last.
Point to the words or picture and say, “Dear Heavenly Father,”
On the blessing page: Say, “I am thankful for . . . . .” Name each word or picture as you point to it.
On the mistake page: Say, “Please forgive me for . . . . .” Name each word or picture as you point to it.
On the child’s request page: Say, “Please bless . . . . ” Name each word or picture as you point to it.
Point to the words or picture of Jesus Christ and say, “I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
Enrichment: Talk about different kinds of prayers; prayers at church, over meals, and at night.
If the child cannot read or benefits from more visuals, use pictures and/or words to help them understand better. Many pictures can be cut out of magazines, or printed off your computer. Here are some common pictures you can use as visuals. Prayer Lesson PECS (I used boardmaker for the pictures. They are not LDS specific.)