Breakthrough, a faith-based movie released this past spring, tells the inspirational true story of Joyce Smith and her son, John, who fell through the ice on a frozen lake in Missouri. Today we’re going to listen to an interview with the real people behind the incident. As you watch the video and hear John’s story of survival, imagine yourself in the middle of that kind of a traumatic situation.
Share the first part of this video with students [STOP at 2:47; the rest will be used in Step 4].
- In times of trouble, we want to help those we love. John’s friend called 9-1-1 and John himself tried to keep the ice from closing in on the friend who fell in with him. What would you have done to help? (Answers will vary but might include: Try to find something for them to grab on to; run to get help, etc. If students mention prayer, acknowledge but do not comment on that response.)
- Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted or needed the help of others? What were you hoping the others would do for you? (Answers will vary with the situations; allow a few students opportunities to share their stories and the help they desired. Be prepared to share your own experience.)
When help arrived to pull John out of the water, it was too late. He wasn’t breathing. We live in a world where brokenness and sin may cause bad things to happen to the people we love. We can think of ways to help when our friends and family experience difficulties and times of trouble, and we can be prepared to step in to do what we can. But often, even if we can offer a helping hand, it isn’t enough. Real help—the true and lasting kind—is from above. Let’s find out more.
Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. For upper elementary, middle school, and high school your Step 4 appears below. For adult, use the Step 4 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.
- Internet access
- Calendar printouts (1 per student; template here)
- Whiteboard and marker
Before class, print out enough calendar templates so that each student has one.
Earlier we heard the story about John Smith and his tragic fall through the ice. After being taken to the hospital without a pulse and receiving life-saving measures, doctors determined that there was no way to save his life.
- If you were John’s friends and family, how would you have responded when you heard the doctors had given up trying to save him? (Allow a few students to share.)
One person refused to take what the doctors said as the final word—his mother. She refused to believe there wasn’t something more she could do for John. Let’s see what she did and how things turned out.
Share the rest of the video with your students [START at 2:47].
- Do you think John’s mom really believed that God would answer her prayer and save her son? (Answers will vary but might include: Yes, she believed that God had the power to bring her son back from clinical death; She did not know for sure, but she had enough faith to believe He could.)
- Do you believe that God can perform miracles in the lives of your friends and family if you ask Him? Explain your answer. (Answers will vary.)
Prayer is an important tool that we can use for others when seeking God’s action in their lives. Think about the potential impact your prayers could have in the lives of those around you.
- Are serious or tragic situations the only times we need to pray for others? Explain your answer. (People need help with everyday situations just as much as traumatic or tragic ones. Sometimes we forget to pray for people in their regular, everyday lives.)
- We learned today how Jesus prayed for His disciples and for us. What are some things we can pray for others? (Students may list some of the things Jesus prayed in His prayer: togetherness, love, joy, protection from evil, etc. as well as the other things they talked about in Step 2. Encourage them to add more to the list; write down their responses on the whiteboard.)
We know that Jesus prayed for His disciples because He loved them and cared about their well-being, and He often asked God to protect them. We learned that God answered Jesus’ prayers for His disciples through their experiences told in the Bible. In the same way, we can pray for each other and make requests to God for others on their behalf.
Hand out a weekly calendar template and pen or pencil to each student. Give your students an opportunity to list friends or family who might be experiencing a difficult time and could use prayer this week as well as everyday requests for others. Have them fill out each day with at least one name and something they will pray for that person (they can use the list on the whiteboard or pray for something more specific). Encourage them to follow through by praying for each person on their daily list and add to the list as the Holy Spirit prompts them.
Close in prayer thanking God that He has given us a way to help others through prayer.
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(For our upper elementary, middle school, and high school customers: David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before shoeing links in the classroom.)