1. TIMOTHY LEARNS TO PRAY
a. Where and how did Timothy learn to pray? 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14, 15.
“Timothy’s father was a Greek and his mother a Jewess. From a child he had known the Scriptures. The piety that he saw in his home life was sound and sensible. The faith of his mother and his grandmother in the sacred oracles was to him a constant reminder of the blessing in doing God’s will. The word of God was the rule by which these two godly women had guided Timothy. The spiritual power of the lessons that he had received from them kept him pure in speech and unsullied by the evil influences with which he was surrounded. Thus his home instructors had cooperated with God in preparing him to bear burdens.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 203.
“Timothy’s mother and grandmother were united in their efforts to train him for God. What was his lesson book?—the Bible. Paul, his father in the gospel, declares, ‘From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures.’”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 918.
2. SAMUEL LEARNS TO PRAY
a. Did Samuel as a young child know how to recognize God’s voice and identify answers to his own prayers? 1 Samuel 3:7. Was this ignorance common in his day? Verse 1.
“Samuel was a child surrounded by the most corrupting influences. He saw and heard things that grieved his soul. The sons of Eli, who ministered in holy office, were controlled by Satan. . . . [Samuel] did not fellowship, or have the least delight in, the sins which filled all Israel with fearful reports. Samuel loved God; he kept his soul in such close connection with heaven that an angel was sent to talk with him in reference to the sins of Eli’s sons, which were corrupting Israel.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 472, 473.
“Before receiving this message from God, ‘Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him’; that is, he was not acquainted with such direct manifestations of God’s presence as were granted to the prophets. It was the Lord’s purpose to reveal Himself in an unexpected manner, that Eli might hear of it through the surprise and inquiry of the youth.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 582.
b. How did Samuel confuse the voice of God with the voice of his earthly friend and mentor, Eli? What suggested to Eli that God was calling Samuel? 1 Samuel 3:2–6, 8.
“Supposing the voice to be that of Eli, the child hastened to the bedside of the priest, saying, ‘Here am I; for thou calledst me.’ The answer was, ‘I called not, my son; lie down again.’ Three times Samuel was called, and thrice he responded in like manner. And then Eli was convinced that the mysterious call was the voice of God. The Lord had passed by His chosen servant, the man of hoary hairs, to commune with a child. This in itself was a bitter yet deserved rebuke to Eli and his house.”—Ibid., p.581.
c. Did God talk to Samuel when the boy realized God was calling? What did He say? 1 Samuel 3:11.
3. DAVID LEARNS TO PRAY
a. When David was a fugitive in his early life, running from an angry, mad king, what requests did he make, and how did God answer? 1 Samuel 23:1, 2, 4, 10–12.
“Still hunted by the king, David found no place of rest or security. At Keilah his brave band saved the town from capture by the Philistines, but they were not safe, even among the people whom they had delivered. From Keilah they repaired to the wilderness of Ziph.”—
Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 660.
b. After David became king and fell into temptation, what prayer did he make to God? Psalm 51:1–4, 7.
“After his great sin, in the anguish of remorse and self-abhorrence he still turned to God as his best friend.”—Education, p. 165.
“The prayer of David after his fall, illustrates the nature of true sorrow for sin. His repentance was sincere and deep. There was no effort to palliate his guilt; no desire to escape the judgment threatened, inspired his prayer. David saw the enormity of his transgression; he saw the defilement of his soul; he loathed his sin. It was not for pardon only that he prayed, but for purity of heart.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 24, 25.
c. What did David plead for, and for what purpose? Psalm 51:12, 13.
“God intended the history of David’s fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer. . . . Thousands have thus been led to realize their own danger from the tempter’s power. The fall of David, one so greatly honored by the Lord, has awakened in them distrust of self. They have felt that God alone could keep them by His power through faith.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 724.
4. MANASSEH LEARNS TO PRAY
a. Who was Manasseh? Describe his character at the beginning of his reign. 2 Chronicles 32:33; 33:1–10.
“The kingdom of Judah, prosperous throughout the times of Hezekiah, was once more brought low during the long years of Manasseh’s wicked reign, when paganism was revived, and many of the people were led into idolatry. ‘Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen’ (2 Chronicles 33:9). The glorious light of former generations was followed by the darkness of superstition and error. Gross evils sprang up and flourished—tyranny, oppression, hatred of all that is good. Justice was perverted; violence prevailed.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 381.
b. What experience did God bring upon this proud king to get his attention and to teach him to pray? 2 Chronicles 33:11. What was the consequence of his waiting so long to pray?
“As an earnest of what would befall the people should they continue impenitent, the Lord permitted their king to be captured by a band of Assyrian soldiers, who ‘bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon,’ their temporary capital. This affliction brought the king to his senses; ‘he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto Him: and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord He was God’ (2 Chronicles 33:11–13). But this repentance, remarkable though it was, came too late to save the kingdom from the corrupting influence of years of idolatrous practices. Many had stumbled and fallen, never again to rise.”—Ibid., p.383.
c. What was the result of Manasseh’s new-found prayer life? 2 Chronicles 33:12, 13, 15, 16. What was he known for at the time of his death? Verses 18, 19.
5. PAGANS LEARN TO PRAY
a. What led the pagan Naaman to accept the Creator as his God? 2 Kings 5:1, 9–15.
“A slave, far from her home, this little maid was nevertheless one of God’s witnesses, unconsciously fulfilling the purpose for which God had chosen Israel as His people. As she ministered in that heathen home, her sympathies were aroused in behalf of her master. . . . She knew that the power of Heaven was with Elisha, and she believed that by this power Naaman could be healed.
“The conduct of the captive maid, the way that she bore herself in that heathen home, is a strong witness to the power of early home training.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 244, 245.
b. What experience led the once pagan monarch, Nebuchadnezzar, to humbly trust in God? Daniel 4:28–36. What was his religious experience after his humiliation? Verses 2, 3, 37.
“King Nebuchadnezzar, before whom Daniel so often honored the name of God, was finally thoroughly converted, and learned to ‘praise and extol and honour the King of heaven.’
“The king upon the Babylonian throne became a witness for God, giving his testimony, warm and eloquent, from a grateful heart that was partaking of the mercy and grace, the righteousness and peace, of the divine nature.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1170.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did Timothy’s mother and grandmother train him for God?
2. Why was it that God chose to communicate with the child Samuel?
3. What shows the sincerity of David’s prayer after his fall? Did David’s Friend fail him?
4. What does Manasseh’s prayer teach us about God?
5. How did God’s witnesses lead heathen rulers to pray to God?