Praying for a Christ-Awakening: Training Up a Child
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Parents, as they are equipped by the church to impart faith to children and youth and become the primary disciplers of their children.
Training Up a Child
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Prov. 22:6)
The world facing today’s children grows more sinister and disturbing by the hour, and apparently more attractive. The likelihood that even children raised in Christian families will turn their backs on Jesus continues to grow.
Only a Christ-Awakening can reverse this generational freefall. Only when moms and dads take personal responsibility for their children’s spiritual growth and when the church takes responsibility for equipping families with the skills of faith, will we see the promise of a next generation of faithful followers.
We know that families are the incubators of human spirituality. A person’s spiritual beliefs are already deeply formed by the time they are preteens. Most people’s minds are made up, and they believe they know what they need to know spiritually by age thirteen. In fact, a majority of Americans makes a lasting determination about the personal significance of Christ’s death and resurrection by age twelve.
Since the basic substance of a person’s faith is crystallized at a young age, ministry to children and families is not just one significant part of church work, it might be the most important. And since children spend just a few hours a week at their local church and eternity hangs in the balance, the spiritual education of children is not just a significant part of family life—it too, might be the most important!
Could you take the next few moments and become a prayer warrior for parents, the church and the next generation of Christ’s followers? Begin to pray:
Prayers of Thanksgiving
- Our youth and children have taught us humility, joy, peace, and unconditional forgiveness. We are grateful, Lord, for Your admonition to become like them.
Prayers of Confession
- Historically, the Church and parents have not chosen to partner together to impart faith to children and youth. Forgive us, Lord, for failing in our roles.
- Many times the Church does not strategize for growth of children. Dear God, we regret that we unknowingly created cultures of dependence for parents, not helping them teach their children at home. We often neglect to pray for children’s ministry. Reshape our prayer life, Lord, focusing us on the next generation.
Prayers of Petition
- Lord, give us an “admirer’s perspective” of our children, showing us the special design in each of them (Eph. 2:10). Dear God, might we regularly give our children the blessing of approval, just as Jesus “took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them” (Mark 10:16). Jesus, might we model and demonstrate to our children how to live, and put Your truth and wisdom into their hearts and minds (Eph. 6:4).
Promises to Claim
- Dear God, might we adopt a partnership between parents and the church to fulfill Your plan to pass on Your instruction from one generation to the next (Prov. 4:1-4).
- Lord, might You help us facilitate the spiritual growth of children, so that they may grow up in salvation (1 Pet. 2:2).
- Dear God, help the church strike the balance between supporting parents and ensuring that they take responsibility for their children to grow “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
Take from an excerpt by David Kinnaman, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity, used with permission.
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