Conference Talk: For more information on this topic read "God Loves and Helps All of His Children," by Keith B. McMullin, Ensign, Nov 2008, 75-78.
Thought: A few years ago a high-ranking official from China visited Salt Lake City. . . . Fasting and giving the value of the meals not eaten to help the poor captured his attention. . . . He said, "If we all loved each other like this, the world would be a more peaceful place." (Keith B. McMullin, "God Loves and Helps All of His Children," Ensign, Nov 2008, 75-78.)
Song: "Because I Have Been Given Much," Hymns, # 219.
Scripture: Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer. (Doctrine and Covenants 59:14)
Lesson: Do an activity with your family that involves things that go together, or pairs. As you say the first word or show the first item, have your family fill in the blank with the name of the second item. "Salt and ________" (pepper) "Table and _________" (chairs) "Husband and ________" (wife) "Shoes and _______" (socks). Tell your family that Jesus demonstrated the power of "pairing" two important principles. Have your family look for the important pair as they read the story in Mark 9:14-29.
Ask family members if they have had an experience with fasting and prayer they would be willing to share. Invite the family to unite in fasting and prayer next fast Sunday. (Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The New Testament, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006], p. 69.)
Story: "He Fasted, and He Prayed" Matthew Cowley Two boys in New Zealand graduated from a high school down there. The principal came to me and told me this story about one of them. "This young man came to me one day. He was living in the dormitory. He was what they called the monitor. It wasn't a native high school, but he was a native. He came to me one day, and he said, 'Mr. Hogan, I want to go home for three days.' I said, 'Why, you can't go home, you have a job here. What do you want to go home for?' He said, 'Well, I am preparing to take my matric,' [as they call it down there, matriculation examination for entrance into a university]. He said, 'I want to go home for three days and fast and pray.' "I was astonished. I excused myself and went to my office and called up one of your members, one of our native members, and I said, 'Listen to me, do you people have in your Church something you call fasting?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'What do you do it for?' 'When we want a blessing, we fast and pray.' I said, 'Well, I have read about it in the Bible, but I have never heard of anybody doing it.' I went back to the young man and said, 'You go home for three days.' He went home, and he fasted, and he prayed, and he was the top man in passing his matric examination." (Jay A. Parry, Jack M. Lyon, Linda Ririe Gundry, editors, Best-Loved Stories of the LDS People, Vol.2, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999], 63-64.)
Activity: Divide your family into two teams. Give each team a paper and pencil. Set a timer for a predetermined amount of time (2 or 3 minutes) and have each team write down as many "pairs" as they can think of (like the examples in the lesson). Give one point to each team for items on the list that the other team didn't think of.