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Way to Pray, Part 1

April 4, 2020


During the American Civil War a young soldier in the Union Army lost both his older brother and his father in the Battle of Gettysburg. The soldier decided to go to Washington, D.C., to see President Lincoln. He had decided to ask for an exemption from military service so that he could go back to the family farm and help his sister and mother with the spring planting.

When he arrived in Washington, he went to the White House. Approaching the front gate, he asked to see the president.

The guard on duty told him, “You can’t see the president, young man! The president is a very busy man! Now go away, son! Get back out there on the battle lines, where you belong!”

So the young soldier left, very disheartened, and was sitting on a park bench not far from the White House when a little boy came up to him. The boy said, “Soldier, you look unhappy. What’s wrong?”

The soldier looked at the little boy and began to share his sad story. He told of his father and his brother being killed in the war. He explained that his mother and sister had no one to help them with the farm.

The little boy listened and said, “I can help you, soldier.” He took the soldier by the hand and led him back to the front gate of the White House. Apparently the guard didn’t notice them, because they weren’t stopped. They walked straight to the front door of the White House and walked right in. After they got inside, they walked right past the generals and high-ranking officials, and no one said a word. The soldier couldn’t understand what was happening. Why didn’t anyone stop them?

Finally they reached the Oval Office—where the president was working—and the little boy didn’t even knock on the door. He just walked right in and led the soldier in with him. There behind the desk were Abraham Lincoln and his secretary of state, looking over the battle plans that were laid out on the desk.

The president glanced at the soldier and then looked at the boy with a smile. “Good afternoon, Tad. Can you introduce me to your friend?”

And Tad Lincoln, the son of the president of the United States, said, “Daddy, this soldier needs to talk to you.”

The soldier pleaded his case before Mr. Lincoln, and right then and there he received the exemption from the war that he desired.—Wayne Rice, More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995). Used by permission.




Memory Text: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NKJV).

Our Beliefs, no. 11, Growing in Christ: “By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. . . . In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the church.”

Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 102, 103




Read Psalm 5:3.

Corin has a friend who is struggling with her parents because they are getting a divorce and the whole situation is getting ugly. Her friend seems bitter about God, but Corin really wants to pray with her or for her and show her that God can be a source of strength and hope. She doesn’t want to drive her friend away, but she feels this is a great moment to talk honestly to God with her friend. What do you think she should do? What should she be careful of?




Read 1 John 4:4; James 1:27; Colossians 2:6.

We live for Jesus because of what He has done for us and what He is doing in us. Since Jesus lives in us, we are to live as He lived—doing good and helping others. And we do this by staying connected to Him through prayer and Bible study.

How can you make prayer and Bible study a priority in your life?

Unscramble the words in the word box and fill in the blanks with the correct words.


“He has us from the power of and us into the of the Son of His love, in whom we have through His blood, the of sins” (Colossians 1:13, 14, NKJV).




Read Mark 1:35.

The question isn’t whether we should pray or not—even those who don’t believe in God will throw up a prayer when they face a moment of potential disaster. There are other people who repeat prayers all throughout the day, but still never really connect with God. The question is: What is the quality of the communication?

Jesus would steal away at night just to be able to talk with His Father in prayer. Apparently, the conversation was worth missing sleep over. Think of a conversation you have had with someone that means the world to you—maybe a parent, or a friend. That is what a conversation with God can be like.




Fill in the Blanks

Look up the following passages in the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible and fill in the blanks. If you don’t have the NIV Bible, you can go to and click on Passage Look Up.

1. “Very early in the, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a place, where he” (Mark 1:35).

2. “In the, Lord, you my voice; in the I lay my before you and wait” (Psalm 5:3).

3. “ always, continually, give in circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

4. “And in the on all with kinds of and. With this in mind, be and keep on for all the Lord’s” (Ephesians 6:18).

5. “In the same way, the helps us in our. We do not know what we ought to for, but the himself for us through groans. And he who our hearts knows the of the Spirit, because the Spirit for God’s in accordance with the of God” (Romans 8:26, 27).

6. “By His and His, Christ has achieved even more than from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an separation between God and man; but in we become more closely to than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the has bound Himself to by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is with us” (The Desire of Ages, p. 25). [The Desire of Ages is online at www.WhiteEstate.]




Romans 8:26, 27.

Review the memory text.

Have you ever wanted to pray but just couldn’t bring yourself to do it because it had been so long since your last conversation with God? The fear or guilt that keeps us from opening our hearts to God in prayer is not coming from Him. It is the work of someone else. Take the Savior at His word when He says, “whoever comes to me I will never drive away. . . . And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day” (John 6:37-39, NIV).

If there is anything Jesus is familiar with, it is how hard it is to stay connected to God while we are here on earth. He knows! The key is to practice being transparent with Jesus. The more you can talk with God just as you would a friend, the more you will experience how friendly He is.




1 Peter 4:7.

This week, identify three things that keep you or distract you from having a real interaction with God. Plan how you are going to close the door on those distractions, and journal a few thoughts about your experience doing this throughout the week. Also think of someone you could hold yourself accountable to for this activity. (You will discuss the concept of accountability in class on Sabbath.)

Close the door on . . .

Close the door on . . .

Close the door on . . .