Objective: To help each child understand that we lived with Heavenly Father as spirit children before we came to earth and that we can live with him again after this life.
(Read Alma 40 as lesson preparation)
For an “attention getter,” contact the parents of the kids ahead of time and get a picture of each child as a baby. Young children often like to look at pictures of themselves as babies, and it’s a good way to introduce the “pre existence” concept. As you hold up each picture, ask the children if they recognize who the baby is in the picture?
Do they remember being a baby? Most people can’t remember what it was like to be a baby. Do they remember living before they were born? Most people can’t remember what it was like to live with Heavenly Father but everyone did.
We are spirit children of Heavenly Father
- Did you know that we are all spirit children of Heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:9)? We all lived with him before we came to earth as babies. We were happy there.
- Our spirits are an invisible part of our bodies. Our spirits can live without a body just like they did before we were born, but our bodies cannot live without a spirit. A body without a spirit inside it is called “dead.” Your spirit will always live but not your earthly body.
- One of the reasons we came to earth was to be born into a body so our spirit could experience the joy of having a body. A body is wonderful! (See: Friend Magazine February 1999 “I Shouted for Joy”)
Part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us to grow and to learn to be more like him was to come to earth to get a body. On earth we get to learn to treat our ourselves and others the right way.
Sing (or share the words) “I Lived in Heaven” Children’s Songbook, 4
I lived in heaven a long time ago, it is true;
Lived there and loved there with people I know. So did you.
Then Heav’nly Father presented a beautiful plan,
All about earth and eternal salvation for man.
Father said he needed someone who had enough love
To give his life so we all could return there above.
There was another who sought for the honor divine.
Jesus said, “Father, send me, and the glory be thine.”
Jesus was chosen, and as the Messiah he came,
Conquering evil and death through his glorious name,
Giving us hope of a wonderful life yet to be—
Home in that heaven where Father is waiting for me.
Heavenly Father wants us to return to him someday.
But we weren’t meant to stay here on this earth forever. One day we will give up our bodies for a time when we die and our spirits will go back to Heavenly Father (Alma 40:11). But we will really want our bodies again because they are so nice. Heavenly Father knew that while we are on earth we would make some wrong choices and that we would sin, which is a big part of our learning process. But the sin would create a big hole in our path back to God that we could not get across by ourselves (show the picture of the woman on the stair case: ). The only way we could cross over that big hole was for someone else to help us, but it had to be someone who had not sinned and someone who knew the right way.
Jesus Christ loves us so much that he volunteered to be that person who would help all of us get back to Heavenly Father . This is called the Atonement. It is the most wonderful gift of grace anyone has ever given us. We could not get across that hole by ourselves (Alma 22:14) and we could not resurrect our bodies because we don’t have that power. (Place a small picture of Jesus across the hole in the stairs to show a complete path).
But how did Jesus fix that problem for us?
- He laid himself down and died for us and then he came back to life again. This is a big word called “resurrection.” Resurrection means everyone will have a chance to have their bodies again and to live again. (John 3:16)
- Jesus Christ wants us to understand that if we want to be the most happy and to have the most joy after our life on earth is over then we need to repent of our mistakes (make the right choice the next time), follow his commandments, and live like he lived. Following the path that Jesus Christ created for us to get back to Heavenly Father is the only way (John 14:6).
Heavenly Father wants you back with him just as he wants all of his children back with him. He has provided a way for us to get there. All we need to do is follow his son Jesus Christ and learn to become more like him.