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Adventist Mission

Natalya Berlinskaya, 43

Teach Us to Pray

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 27.

By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission


nce a week, Teacher Natalya gathered the ninth graders into a circle around the classroom for a special prayer.

“Viktoria, you start the prayer,”
she said one morning.

Fifteen-year-old Viktoria looked at teacher with big, round, scared eyes.

“How?” she said. “How do I pray?”

“Begin like this,” Teacher said,
“‘Dear God.’”

“That’s how I should start?” Viktoria said.

“Yes, say that,” Teacher said.

“What next?” she asked.

“Ask God to bless us as you just read in the story,” Teacher said.

Viktoria had just read a story about how the sun rises every day and shines on all people, good and bad. The story had said Jesus shines His love on everyone, every day, and Christians also should be a light to all people every day.

“Dear God,” Viktoria said. “Help us to be good students. Help us to be a light.”

Viktoria wasn’t the only child who was scared to pray out loud in the ninth-grade class at the Seventh-day Adventist school in Bucha, Ukraine. Four of the seven children in the class came from Adventist families. Viktoria and the two others not from Adventist families were not used to praying. Teacher wanted them to pray and experience the power of prayer for themselves.

After praying the first time, Viktoria wasn’t scared to pray again. But her best friend, Ruslan, refused to pray.

“I am scared to pray,” Ruslan said. “I can’t pray in front of everyone.”

Teacher prayed for Ruslan in a special way.

Then Viktoria fell ill with an ear infection. She didn’t come to school for a whole month. All the students were worried about Viktoria. Teacher was worried. Ruslan was especially worried. Teacher decided to have a special prayer every day for Viktoria. Everyone prayed for her but Ruslan.

One morning, Teacher announced to that Viktoria would have an ear operation the next day. She called the students to stand in a circle for prayer. “Who wants to pray for Viktoria?” she said.

“I want to pray!” Ruslan blurted out.

Everyone was surprised. Ruslan also
was surprised. “What did I say?” he asked.

The children bowed their head and closed their eyes. “Dear Jesus,” Ruslan said. “Bless Viktoria’s operation. Help her not to lose her hearing. Heal her, and help her to return to our class. Amen.”

The operation was a success. A few weeks later Viktoria returned to school.

“God hears all our prayers, especially the prayers of children who are scared,” Teacher Natalya said in an interview. “We shouldn’t be afraid to open our hearts to God. We can pray anywhere and anytime, and God will answer in ways we cannot imagine.”

This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help Teacher Natalya’s school construct its own school building in Bucha, Ukraine. Currently the school borrows classrooms from an Adventist college, and your offering will help the children meet in their own classrooms. Thank you for your generous offering today for our two mission projects — the Adventist school in Bucha, Ukraine, and Zaoksky Christian School in Russia.