Monthly Focus- Praying for the Next Generation

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Monthly Focus- Praying for the Next Generation

Jesus showed us by His example in Mark 10:14 that children were important and should be cherished.  When the disciples tried to turn the children away because they didn’t want Jesus to be bothered, His response was ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God’.

 

By neglecting to pray for our children and teaching them the things of God, we are hindering them from coming to Jesus.   Ed Stetzer, vice president of LifeWay Research and Ministry Development, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, made the following statement in response to why young people are turning away from the church: “There is no easy way to say it, but it must be said. Parents and churches are not passing on a robust Christian faith and an accompanying commitment to the church. We can take some solace in the fact that many do eventually return. But, Christian parents and churches need to ask the hard question, ‘What is it about our faith commitment that does not find root in the lives of our children?'”

 

God’s Commands to Pray and Teach Children about Him

God told Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 that ‘these words which I command you this day shall be on your heart and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes and shall write them on your doorposts and on your gates.’  As believers, it is our responsibility to pass on to the next generation what we know about God and to make sure they know His scriptures.  Our children are watching, learning and being influenced by many teachers and one of those teachers is you and me.  I have no control over what someone else does, but I can choose to help those children/young people in my life to know God, to know that God loves them and that He has a plan for their life.

 

After the children of Israel had crossed over the Jordan River on dry ground, God told Joshua to have 12 stones taken out of the Jordan river and to set them up as a memorial so that when their children asked about the stones, they could tell them how God had delivered them and that they would know that the hand of the Lord was mighty (Joshua 4).   God speaks of many stones in the Bible:

                1) God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses written on stone

2) David killed Goliath with 1 stone

3) There were 12 precious stones on the breastplate of the High Priest in the temple

4) Jesus is the corner-Stone

5) The stones almost thrown at the woman caught in adultery

6) Stephen, the first martyr, who was stoned to death

7) The stone that was rolled away from the tomb that first Easter morning

 

We can also choose to use some stones as reminders to pray for the next generation – our children.

Twelve Stones of Reminders to Pray for the Next Generation:

Pray they will learn to Love God – One of the first lessons our Mission Friends (our preschoolers) learn in church is that ‘God loves you’.  This is first and foremost for our children to learn – that they are loved unconditionally by God and we are to teach them to love God by how we love God. 

 

Pray they will learn to Love God’s Word – Much of the scripture I know, I learned as a child.  Children need to hear, read, and memorize scripture.  They need to learn to listen to God as He speaks to them through His living words of scripture.  They need to know that they can find life’s answers in God’s Word.   

 

Pray they will learn to Love Praying to God – Pray with our children – teach them to pray, teach them of the power of prayer and how to listen to God.  Pray together as a family – sharing requests and watching God answer those prayers.  God wants all the peoples of the world to know Him and our children need to learn they can have a part in what God is doing in the world today as they learn to pray for family, friends, and our missionaries.

 

Pray they will learn to Love All of God’s Creation – Teach your children that they are special because they are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ by God.  That God knew them before they were born and that He has a purpose for their life – that His plans are to help them and give them a future.  At the same time, help them to see that all of God’s creation (even those who are different) are special to God as well. 

 

Pray they will learn to Love Others – Teach your children that it’s ‘not always about you’.  Teach them by example to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (the second commandment from Jesus) – to treat others as you would like to be treated – to share – to not be selfish. 

 

Pray they will learn to be a Christian Role Model – Our role model should be Christ and His fruit of the Spirit should be reflected in our daily walk before our children.  As we model Christ before them, may they stand strong in their faith to reflect Christ to their friends – to do as Jesus would do.  

 

Pray they will learn to Build Positive Relationships – Our children learn how to relate to Christ, their peers, us, and those in authority as they watch us relate to others.  They learn unconditional love from God and us –  ‘Nothing we can do will cause God to love us more and nothing we can do that will cause God to love us any less’.

 

Pray they will learn to be Responsible – Our children need to learn responsibility and they are watching us in this area as well.  They know when we’re making excuses and not living up to commitments – to what we said we were going to do.  We are told in Ecclesiastes 9:10 that ‘whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might’.  Commitment and responsibility is needed in our church today as we seek to teach our children to follow God. 

Pray they will learn to Love Going to Church – I don’t know about you, but growing up I was taught that we go to church on Sunday.  My parents loved going to church and taught us to enjoy the different activities.  Pray they will experience the love of adults who teach them to love God and worshipping together with God’s people.

 

Pray they will learn to Develop Their Talents, Gifts & Abilities – God has blessed each of us and our children with talents, gifts and abilities.  Not everyone’s is the same.  We need to encourage and provide opportunities for our children to develop their individual gifts and talents.  We also need to provide opportunities for them to learn of how God is working in His world and where their abilities can be used. 

 

Pray they will learn to Obey God – Proverbs 22:6 tells us to ‘train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Our children need to obey God because they know it is the right thing to do – it is their own personal conviction.  They may stray, but I believe the verse from Proverbs means that the Holy Spirit will continue to remind them of the things they learned as a child – our responsibility is to pray they choose to be obedient to God’s voice.

 

Pray they will Hear and Obey God’s Call on their life – God has a plan and purpose for all of our children – His plan includes a call to salvation and then a call to serve Him.  The when, where, and how may look different but our children will be ready to say ‘Here am I; Send me’ if we have taught them the 2 greatest commandments – to Love God and to Love Others. 

 

A few years ago I attended a retreat where I was given a stone and told to write a scripture on it as a reminder.  I still have that stone and read that scripture from time to time.  Hopefully, these twelve stones of reminders will help us to pray for our children – the next generation.

Downloadable PDF Focus_May2016_Praying for the Next Generation

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Monthly focus for June 2016:  Praying for Mission/Ministry Leaders – Leaving a Legacy 

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