April 21, 2017 by Arlene Lila
I t wasn’t my own prayer, but my pastor’s, that prompted me to teach for the first time. “I think the Lord wants you to teach Sunday school,” he told me one day. I said he must have misunderstood. How could God make a plan like that? I’d never taught anything in my life. I’d never even considered teaching. But I gave it a try.
Little things discouraged me. The teens arrived late, whispered to each other, passed notes while I spoke, and failed to memorize their Bible verses – all normal adolescent behavior. Perhaps a better teacher could have put a stop to it. As I watched my teen class file out of the room one Sunday, I asked myself if it might be time to give up.
I’m not getting through to them, I told God as I packed up my materials. I wanted these kids to grow spiritually, and if I wasn’t the one to help them do that, they deserved someone who could. Maybe Pastor really did misunderstand, just like I thought.
By the following Sunday I’d made up my mind: Right after class I’d tell the head of the program to find a replacement. I struggled through the hour and packed up my things for the last time, sure of my decision. Then I noticed a student in the doorway. “Nathan,” I said, “did you want something?”
He hesitated, as if he was building up his courage. Finally he looked me in the eye. When he spoke, his voice was strong and confident. “I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you. We’re blessed to have you for a teacher, Mrs. Lila.”
I didn’t go to see the head of the program that day. Prayer got me started teaching Sunday school, and prayer kept me at it.
I began to pray for each of my students individually during my daily quiet time. I especially prayed for those who had a difficult time memorizing Bible verses. Slowly but surely I saw great improvement.
After graduation from high school, the teens in my class were expected to transfer to the adult Sunday school class. Some refused the change. Even while in college, they came to my class. Again I was encouraged by their love and loyalty.
My teaching responsibilities grew to include presentations for our church members on a Sunday night. Since these were advertised in the Fountain Hills Times, members from other churches attended. I was surprised to see what the Lord could do.
I often visit an elderly woman in a nursing home in our town. I give her short Bible lessons, and she looks forward to my coming. The head of this nursing department asked me to share the teachings with all the residents in her section. Never did I ask for such a task, but I soon realized that my prayer for teaching others was again being answered.
The Lord is good. He answers prayer. He promises: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16 NIV)
You can read this article and more like it in our publication, The Breakthrough Intercessor, located here.