Blogroll: Children Desiring God
I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading. There are currently 17 posts from the blog 'Children Desiring God.'
Disclaimer: Reproducing an article here need not necessarily imply agreement or endorsement!
simile: n. a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another
in one respect by the use of “like,” “as,” etc.
The Bible uses similes frequently. They paint pictures for our eyes so our minds can grasp biblical truth. They borrow our familiarity with the ordinary to help us understand the profound. Consider the following:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
A simple picture. A profound truth. Delighting in the Word of God causes us to meditate on it day and night. The person who delights in the Word of God, who is fed day and night, will not stay a sapling. He will be like a tree.
If his roots grow deeply into the Word of God, if he pulls nourishment up through those roots day and night, He will grow into a mighty tree. Reading God’s Word makes us strong. Just as healthy, strong trees blossom forth into fruit, those who are made strong by the steady diet of delighting in God’s Word produce fruit.
What would we give for our children to become mighty oaks of righteousness? An hour of teaching on Sunday morning? A few hours of preparation? A regular weekly prayer for the children in your small group? A passing word of spiritual encouragement to a child in your class? Each of these small investments could reap an eternal harvest.
Are you contemplating teaching Sunday school this year?
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day;
night is coming, when no one can work.
Are you wavering in your commitment to nurture the faith of the next generation?
And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up.
Are you unsure of your abilities?
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything,
but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:7
There may be reasons for pulling back on teaching the Bible to the next generation, but there remains one great reason for staying the course…
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
May you be blessed as you plant the seeds of righteousness in the next generation, and may the children within your influence become mighty oaks of faith.
I learned a big chunk of life while riding along in vehicles with my parents. Our blue and brown Pinto station wagon was a mobile classroom of sorts for me and my brothers as our parents drove along the country roads surrounding our hometown in Washington, NC, including the 10 mile stretch into town and the 20 mile trek to church. Whether it was our full-spirited family conversations or the many times that my brothers and I would just listen in on our parents talking, we were a captive audience to observations about life, work, challenges, relationships, and faith.
Sometimes I think about those rides with my parents when my family is out and about in our Toyota Sienna. And I consider what our kids are learning from our time together in our mobile classroom. This weighs on me increasingly as I think about the Deuteronomy 6 call to teach my children, talking about the Lord’s commands “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise.” Just as it was with my parents, a lot of our “walking by the way” happens in a vehicle, and that is a significant setting for which we are accountable for shaping our children’s knowledge of the Lord.
That struck us a couple of years ago when were driving to Arkansas for a family camp. As we rolled down I-40, Churchill, who was 5 at the time, piped up with a question about a word that was new to him from the audiobook we were playing. “Mom, Dad, what’s baptism?” he asked. We weren’t planning a conversation on baptism for that trip, but we realized this was a prime “when you walk by the way” opportunity and so we paused the audiobook and made an effort to explain baptism to a kindergartner.
As we thought about that unexpected conversation, it dawned on me that Churchill’s question could have been quite different. It’s so easy in today’s media-packed vehicles to offer up music, movies and games to our kids in order to buy moments of peace, and also so easy to slide in paying attention to what exactly they are observing in their rolling classroom. “You know,” I said to Candice at the time, “we could have easily drifted in our van-time media options, and Churchill’s question could have been, ‘Mom, Dad, what’s a butthead?’”
It challenged us to think about how we view our time in the vehicle–especially in a day when entertainment options make it possible for families to spend endless miles on the road together with only limited conversation about snacks and bathroom breaks. What’s happening to our ‘along the way’ opportunities as children’s media fills up our minivans?
This has motivated us to be more intentional about those many hours in our van—about initiating conversations and being intentional about any media we use. Even the lightest of questions, such as “What summer activities are you looking forward to?” can keep conversation flowing and can make it more natural to weave in discussions about thanking God for His provisions or trusting Christ in the face of various challenges.
Leaving church, we often ask our children what they could apply from the sermon or from their Sunday School lesson. At other times, we’ll review scriptures we are memorizing. We’ve also found that sermons, audio dramas, podcasts (like Ask Pastor John), and Christian music mixes can give us stretches of concentrated engagement and spark good conversations.
Here are some Truth78 resources we recommend for getting more spiritual nourishment out of the time you have available in your family vehicle:
- Fighter Verses memory recitation—either the printed pack or the app
- Fighter Verses songs–word-for-word Bible passages set to music (with varied styles including folk, jazz, pop, doo-wop and even Gregorian chant).
- Growing in Faith Together (GIFT) pages–reflection on application points from Truth78 Sunday School lessons, either from printed pages provided by the classes using them or through the GIFT app.
We anticipate at least a thousand or so more hours of driving time with our kids over the next few years. Alongside the thousands of hours we have with them around meals and at bedtime, we have plenty of opportunities to be faithful to Deuteronomy 6:7. We pray we won’t waste those hours, especially the time that can so easily get lost “along the way” in our mobile classroom.
This post was adapted from an article that originally appeared on CBMW.org.
God is love. Maybe more than any other statement this has been used to identify God’s basic essence. But if we consider God’s love apart from the totality of God’s nature, our understanding of God will be dangerously skewed. So what does God mean when He says that He is love? Pastor John Piper offers a helpful definition:
Biblical love is the overflow of joy that God has in Himself, spilling out on unworthy people to draw them into the greatest experience in the world, namely knowing, tasting, enjoying, praising, being swept up into the glory of God. (“The Pleasure of God in Election,” sermon preached on February 22, 1989 at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis)
This definition may sound unusual to many because it places God, not people, at the center of God’s affections. It almost seems prideful or selfish of God. And it would be, if God were not truly worthy of all honor and praise. But He is glorious beyond measure, and our happiness can only be realized through Him! Hence, the “God-centeredness” of God becomes an everlasting fountain by which He can freely and continually give of Himself to His people. More than 100 years ago, Pastor Alexander Maclaren, said the following concerning God’s love:
I do not do this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy name’s sake…(Ezekiel 36:22) The foundation of all God’s love to us sinful men…lies not in us, nor in anything about us, not in anything external to God Himself. He, and He alone, is the cause and reason, the motive and the end, of His own love to our world…the love of God—a love that has no motive but Himself…by its very nature must be pouring out the flood of its own joyous fullness forever and ever. (Sermons Preached at Manchester, copyright © 1902, pages 29-30)Illustrating a God-centered Definition of Love
Here is an idea for illustrating this “God-centered” definition of love to children. You will need a jar of blowing bubbles and a wand. Begin to enthusiastically blow bubbles toward the children. Encourage them to enjoy the bubbles. After a minute or two, stop blowing the bubbles. Hold up the bubble jar and wand and comment:
This jar and wand belong to me. I enjoyed blowing the bubbles. But did I keep the joy of the bubbles just to myself? Did I try to hide them from you, or keep them out of your reach? No. I aimed them toward you on purpose so that you could enjoy them, too. I shared my enjoyment with you.
This can help us to understand God loving Himself most of all. God’s love for Himself, “spills out” and overflows to others so that we can enjoy Him, too—just like my bubbles spilled out and overflowed to you so you could enjoy them.
God is not selfish with His joy, keeping it all to Himself. He gladly shares His joy so that we can enjoy Him also. That is love.
Furthermore, you could go on to connect this illustration with Jesus’ death on the cross:
And to show just how great His love really is, God the Father gave up His greatest treasure—Jesus His Son—to die so that we might be able to have lasting joy in heaven with Him.
This week, I have a challenge for us, as we minister to children and youth in our classrooms, or as we parent or grandparent. Let’s look at the young faces in our care and imagine them in the midst of this scene in the future:
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Let this sink in—deeply. Pause and consider the implications. Now, read as Pastor David Michael reflects on these glorious and sobering realities in his message, “Let Them Bless His Holy Name Forever: Our Eternal Hope for the Next Generations.”
Every face you see in your classroom or at your kitchen table will see the Lord, seated on his throne, and they will be confessing Jesus as Lord.
They will be either calling to the mountains and rocks: ”Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16).
Or they will be shouting: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns…Worthy is the Lamb who was slain…[so that our] guilt is taken away, and [our] sin atoned for” (from Revelation 19:6; Revelation 5:12; and Isaiah 6:7).
Keeping the throne room in view and keeping the last day in view has been for me a way to keep a right perspective in ministry to children, youth, and families. This reinforces a sense of urgency—a seriousness about our task.
Look into the faces of children, or anyone for that matter and be reminded that this face will one day be in the presence of this holy, high, lifted-up God. That head will bow, those knees will bend, that tongue will confess Jesus is Lord.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when we minister to the next generations, we are dealing with the most weighty truths in the universe. We are preparing them to meet the King of kings and Lord of lords! May this reality cause our hearts to more diligently, earnestly, and prayerfully go about our task so that, by God’s grace, the children in our care will come to…
…know, honor, and treasure God, setting their hope in Christ alone, so that they will live as faithful disciples for the glory of God!
Imagine a new child coming to your fourth-grade Sunday school class. He has a motorized wheelchair. He cannot speak intelligible words. His eyes, when open, seem to wander aimlessly. But, every once and a while, he seems to focus on a face or a sound. He smiles. Sometimes he lets out an excited “Ha, ha!”
Are you and the children of your class ready to warmly welcome him? Are you prepared to include him, as much as possible, in various classroom activities? Do you see this child as a blessing from the Lord? Do you delight in the opportunity to serve him? Do you look forward to how this child can help you and your class become more like Christ?
I am very thankful for the growing number of churches that are creating a welcoming, loving, well-thought-out, helpful ministry for children with special needs. How is your church doing in this regard? In his article, “Three Ways The Church Can Better Serve Special Needs Families,” Chris Hulshof gives the following general advice:
- Create a climate of inclusive hospitality.
…If a family has a child with a cognitive disability, who will be responsible to welcome the family, access the need through parental conversation, and suggest a suitable plan for the service?
…When a church has a plan in place to welcome those with disability, they are demonstrating a generous and inclusive hospitality. It is a hospitality that says, “We have been waiting for you.” As the number of people with a diagnosed disability continues to rise it is essential for churches to thoughtfully consider how hospitable they actually are.
- Minister to every member of the family.
…while disability affects one family member it impacts the whole family. There is mother and father who may not have been out on a date for some time because they do not know who to entrust with the care of their child. There may be a sibling whose adolescent apprehensions also include concerns for a brother or sister with a disability…An accessible church will consider how they can address the needs of the family as well as the needs of the disabled individual.
- Engage in collaborative ministry as part of missional ministry.
…God has gifted every believer for the work of the ministry within the church. Sadly, those with disabilities can find themselves on the sidelines because no one has taken the time to understand how they are uniquely gifted and can contribute to the body of Christ. This may not be an easy process but it will be a rewarding one. I believe a church that takes seriously the giftedness of their disabled members will experience firsthand the delight of worship without pretense.
If you and your church would like to be more intentional in ministering to children with special needs and their families, here are some additional resources:
- “Disability, Autism, and the Tender Mercy of Our God,” audio by Brenda Fischer, and an accompanying handout contains a wealth of practical tips
- “How to Serve Families with Disability” article by John Knight
- “Help the Children Love Different People,” sermon by John Piper
- Joni and Friends, website with a variety of helpful resources
“Easier said than done” not only applies to the words we say but also the words we write. I wrote in Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation that sometimes we feel more urgent about the lesser things and neglect to pray for the greater things. I challenged us to cultivate a sense of urgency for the greater things while trusting God to take care of the lesser things. Since writing those words, my willingness and ability to act on the conviction that undergirds those words has been tested.
My 34-year-old daughter was just diagnosed this month by a physician at Mayo Clinic with these words: “Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction (CIPO) is one of the most severe forms of gastrointestinal dysmotility with many debilitating and potentially life-threatening symptoms and manifestations.” Witnessing the reality of those “symptoms and manifestations” feeds an intensity and desperation for the power of God to deliver my daughter from this suffering and to cure what can’t be cured. As much as my father’s heart rebels against this thought, my desire for my daughter to be healed and able to enjoy the benefits and freedom of a fully functional digestive system and a healthy body, this is the lessor prayer.
I am challenged by my own words to feel more desperate that her faith not fail—more desperate that she persevere in this trial and the faith that we first saw in her 3-year-old heart will prove to be genuine thirty years later. Through the months of this physical struggle I have not detected even a hint of unbelief or bitterness or anger toward God. This young woman has boldly and confidently and faithfully trusted in the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord and Treasure of her life. This glorious reality makes my own soul sing. If the Lord is pleased to deliver my daughter from her present suffering I will rejoice and forever give thanks to God. And, I will rejoice even more in what seems to be so true and so real in Kristi’s life right now—that she is secure in Christ and has laid up for herself a treasure in heave that is imperishable, undefiled and kept for her everlasting joy.
With this situation on the forefront of my mind, I offer this prayer:
The earth changes, mountains quake, waters roar and foam, troubles come, rivers of sorrow flow, and all hell endeavors to shake us, but You are my all-sufficient God, my refuge, my strength, my help in trouble and my unshakable Foundation—You are among Your people. You the LORD of hosts are with me! You, the God of Jacob are my stronghold. May your praise be forever on my lips and unending love for you be in my heart.
O God, I pray that you will establish me and my loved ones more firmly in the truth. May our faith grow. Chase away the doubts that creep into our minds and keep them from residing in our hearts. May our lives be shaped and influenced by a rock-solid confidence in you. Help us to grow in our knowledge of You in whom we have believed and have put our trust. Establish us more fully in the light of your word and may our joy in Your presence and our pleasure at Your right hand increase.
O, dear Father, we have needs right now that we feel intensely. My beloved daughter is sick and the present assault on her body is fierce. Paralyzing fear and discouragement and unbelief are crouching at the door and threaten to undo her and all of us who love her. Have mercy on her and on us. Please remove this thorn, lift the burden and deliver her from this suffering according to your will and sovereign purpose for her life. Give her many more decades to live for Your glory and bear fruit and so prove that she is Your disciple.
I know Your ways are higher than our ways and that Your thoughts are higher than ours. I know our daughter has needs that you are more aware of than we are. We humbly and joyfully submit to your wisdom and your will. All we ask is that you would supply all that is needed out of Your fullness and give healing, and hope, and courage and consolation according to Your will and Your steadfast love and faithfulness.
Whether you have ordained five more days or five more decades for us, the time is very short until we cross the river to see You face to face and obtain the imperishable inheritance that awaits Your children. Until that day, guard our hearts and keep us walking in the light. Keep our ears open and our hearts responsive to Your word. Keep our eyes on You, Lord Jesus, who endured the cross for the joy that was set before You.
I ask all of this believing that we shall endure for Jesus’s sake and for the glory of Your name.
Children’s and youth ministry can be characterized by many different kinds of activities and programs. It’s often tempting to focus much of our weekly planning on things like being sufficiently staffed, offering fun activities, and providing child-friendly worship music, a Bible lesson, and a snack. All of these things are good—in right measure. But here is a quote that really struck me recently:
All Scripture is breathed out by God… (2 Timothy 3:16)
No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)
Pause. Let this sink in. There is a book that is unlike every other book, because it is the very word of God. You have this book. Or you have access to it. Many do not. But if you are reading this, you do. It is astonishing. Absolutely astonishing. You can hold in your hand a book whose words are the very words of God. God! Do you hear this? Really hear it?
There are no emotions of thankfulness or wonder or adoration that come close to what we ought to feel because of this book. This is why the psalmist cries out in desperation: “Incline my heart to your testimonies” (Psalm 119:36)—because our hearts cannot delight in this book as we ought, without omnipotent help from God. The book is so great, we need great help to see it and savor it for what it is. Let this sink in. God gave us a book of complete truthfulness about himself, and his saving work, and his will for us. This alone is enough to make a wise person read it and savor it deeply every day.
As people who minister to children and youth, I wonder if this kind of amazement of God’s Word is adequately reflected in our classrooms. Does it permeate every aspect of our class time? Does every activity point to the supreme treasure of who God is, as revealed in His Word? Do our worship songs convey the truthfulness of the Bible? Do we help children treasure their own Bibles—helping them to actually interact with it in a “holy” manner? And, when teaching Bible lessons, can children sense in our tone, expressions, and demeanor that we are genuinely amazed, moved, and transformed by the God-breathed words?
May our classrooms be increasingly characterized by thankfulness, wonder, adoration, and the savoring of the very words of God! And may God, by His sovereign grace, cause His Word to make our students wise to salvation through faith in Christ, for His glory and our everlasting joy!
One of the great joys of teaching or leading a small group is when children ask amazing questions. Many prove easy to answer, but some are very difficult. For example, years ago I was teaching a a lesson on Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden and God’s response as recorded in Genesis 3 to a class of third graders. After finishing the story, a child asked:
“Mrs. Nelson, why did God put the tree in the garden in the first place?”
I thought to myself: That’s a really good question! This was not covered in the lesson. The text doesn’t answer this question either. When did third graders get so smart? I wish I had Dr. Wayne Grudem on speed dial. How can I stall while I try to think this through?
Over the years, I have grown to appreciate difficult questions. Hard questions show that the children are thinking and engaging with God’s Word. Questions like…
Why does God save some people and not others?
Why did my cousin die even after we prayed for him to be healed?
If God provides for our needs, why do some people go hungry?
How can God be three people in one God?
They are trying to make sense of what is being taught and how it applies to their own lives. How we answer these questions is crucial if they are to have a hope-giving, unshakable confidence in God’s Word and faith in Christ. So the challenge for the teacher or small group leader is: How do we answer their hard questions? Along the way, I have learned some strategies. Here are several that have helped me:
- Anticipate questions when preparing your lesson. Certain Bible stories and topics may naturally lend themselves to difficult questions. For example, when teaching a lesson that recounts Jesus healing the lame man, if you know that a child in your class had a sick grandparent who recently died, you could anticipate that the child may wonder: “Why didn’t Jesus heal my grandma?”
- Acknowledge legitimate questions in a positive manner. We should clearly communicate to our students that we welcome hard questions! Our initial response, both our words and demeanor, should display a love for the student and an unswerving love and confidence in the absolute trustworthiness and goodness of God’s Word. Hard questions help us better understand God, ourselves, the Christian life, and the world around us. If we don’t supply our students with biblical answers to their questions, they will look elsewhere.
- Answer with what you know to be true, even if it doesn’t explicitly answer the question in totality. Think again of the question from the third grader. Although I didn’t have a concise answer for him at the time, I did lead the children to recall some important truths about God: God is sovereign and has the right, wisdom, and power to do all that He pleases. God is good and loving. His ways are perfect. God does everything for His glory, to show His greatness and worth. What is the greatest and most loving thing God has ever done for man? He saved sinners through Jesus’ death on the cross. Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden led to Jesus’ death on the cross on our behalf—showing God to be worthy of our greatest love and praise!
- A deferred answer is always better than a bad answer. It’s better to say, “I don’t know” than to give a wrong answer. “God didn’t know that Adam and Eve would eat of the tree” would be a really bad answer that would undermine the truth of God’s omniscience and sovereignty. It would be better to say, “That’s a really good question. I don’t know the answer, but I will try to find out, and we can talk about it next week.”
- Make use of trusted resources. When posed with a difficult question, run it by an elder and/or pastor, if possible. Also make use of trusted resources. I highly recommend these two:
Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith by Wayne Grudem and Jeff Purswell
Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by Dr. R.C. Sproul
- Remind the children that God is incomprehensible. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33). It’s good to remind children that, because God alone is God and we are not, He is more than we can fully understand no matter how old we are. Think about the doctrine of the Trinity, for example. We can answer questions about what it means and why it’s important, but we can never fully explain or grasp it. We can, however, assure children that the Bible reveals all the essential truths needed to come to truly know, love, and trust in God and live as a disciple of Jesus. In other words, it’s okay and even normal to not understand everything! Furthermore, this should cause us to be even more in awe of God and want to bow down and worship Him.
- Be tenderhearted and Gospel-focused in your response. Some hard questions require answers that are difficult for a child to hear and may result in a feeling of sadness or a sense of hopelessness. “What happens if my friend dies and she hasn’t trusted in Jesus?” We must be very careful to convey the truth in loving, tenderhearted, sensitive, sympathetic, and age-appropriate ways. We should always point children toward hope in Christ. “Let’s look at Romans 6:23. What’s the sad part of this verse? But what’s the happy part? How could you tell your friend about Jesus this week? Let’s pray for your friend, asking God to save him. And remember: We can trust God to do what is right in this situation.”
- If warranted, communicate with parents. We often do not fully comprehend what is behind some questions. Is it general curiosity, or is there a specific circumstance in a child’s life? Speaking with parents is a means to better understand the source of the question, helping a teacher answer with greater discernment and wisdom.
- Use Bible curriculum that doesn’t shy away from difficult doctrines. Good curriculum will intentionally and progressively present and explain difficult doctrines, and serve to equip students with biblical answers to their questions. (Truth78 curricula has been written with this in mind.)
- Pray, pray, and pray. As a teacher, I know I have come up short in how I have answered specific questions. At times, I have been impatient and have simply ignored a question. I haven’t always been tenderhearted in my response. I have given answers that were confusing and lacking in biblical truth. In every case, one of the things lacking in mind and heart was the absence of humble and earnest prayer. Bathe your lesson preparation with prayer. Pray aloud before the lesson. Before answering a difficult question during the lesson, take a moment to silently ask the Holy Spirit to guide your words. Pray aloud at the end of the lesson. God is able to do what we cannot do! He can bring about clarity and confidence in His Word through our feeble efforts. We might think that we have blown it, but God may be at work in a child’s heart bringing about faith and understanding.
How can dads grow in their role as the shepherd of their family? David Michael offers vision for this role and tools to equip dads in a new podcast interview with Chap Bettis, author of The Disciple-Making Parent and founder of The Apollos Project.
Our children and youth are going to interact and engage in the world in which they live—a world increasingly hostile to anything remotely “Christian.” So, the question becomes: How will they interact? Will they be as the Apostle Paul commends in Philippians 2:15?
…blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Will they do as the Apostle Peter commends in 1 Peter 3:15?
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
If these verses are to be true of our children and youth as they grow and mature, we must be proactive. In his excellent book, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, Paul David Tripp offers five strategies for preparing children and young adults (a.k.a. “teenagers”) to interact redemptively with their culture. Here is a brief summary:
Prepare. The first step is to instill in our teenagers a biblical view of life. Many Christian families have years of unfocused devotions. What their children receive during these times is not without merit, but it could be so much better if parents had the instilling of a biblical worldview as their goal. Without it, children end up familiar with all the popular Christian stories and with random doctrinal knowledge, but none of it is assembled into a usable system of truth that reflects God’s way of thinking about life. The aim of all family Bible instruction must be that our children would be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17).
Test. In this step we teach our teenagers to critique, evaluate, interpret, and analyze the surrounding culture from a biblical perspective.
Identify. Here we teach our children to recognize common ground…we want to raise teenagers who have learned to identify with their culture—not agreeing with its interpretations and responses, but identifying with its struggle and humbly acknowledging why these responses seem logical to someone who does not know Christ.
Decide. We want to teach teenagers how to know when they can be redemptive participants in their culture and when they must separate from it.
Redeem. Here we teach our teenagers to take back turf that has been lost to the world by witnessing to the good news of Jesus Christ…The goal is to declare positively what God had in mind when he designed things in the beginning, to be part of rebuilding the culture his way, and to proclaim that this rebuilding can only be done by people who are living in proper relationship with God through Jesus Christ. (Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, ©2001, pages 161-165)
A couple more things I would add:
Hope in the Triumph of Christ. Teach them that this broken world—with all its sin and evil—is not the end. They should not be surprised if they are hated for the sake of Christ. They should not be dismayed if their redemptive words seem to fall on deaf ears. Jesus has decisively won the war against sin and evil through His death and resurrection. He will return and fully reveal the triumph of this and judge the world in perfect righteousness. He will usher in His glorious kingdom for His people to enjoy forever!
Pray. Teach them that only God can redeem the sinful human heart. Therefore, we need to earnestly and continually pray for God to act in the lives of unbelievers, bringing them to repentance and faith in Christ.
Here are some additional helps for parents I recommend:
- “Teaching Children to Stand Firm in a Hostile Culture” video seminar by Pastor Ron Rudd (and the Seminar Notes)
- Stand to Reason Website—Their mission: Train Christians to think more clearly about their faith, and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.
- The Briefing podcast by Dr. Albert Mohler—Current news topics from a Christian perspective.
Truth78 also offers two curricula that are especially helpful in preparing children and youth to interact redemptively with the culture:
Fighter Verses are a wonderful means to share the Word of God with our children. Breakfast or supper, riding in the car, or any time the family is together is a good time for instructional conversation about the Fighter Verses. Here are a few tips to remember as you share God’s Word with your children.Keep it Short
A short instructional time that catches and holds a child’s interest is better than a long drawn out time that leaves the child bored and frustrated.Teach “Bite-Sized” Portions
To keep the instruction from becoming long and burdensome for the child, teach a word-, phrase-, or verse-at-a-time, as suits your child’s age and attention. The Bible is so rich that a single verse can present a number of different avenues for instruction. Rather than worry about being exhaustive in your instruction about a passage, pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit and teach the points God puts on your heart. Spend several days on a passage rather than try to cover it all at one sitting.Keep it Simple
It is great to be creative, use visuals, and put all kinds of effort and energy into your teaching. But if you are teaching one or two children at home, it may be unnecessary. By keeping your instruction simple, you are more likely to teach on a consistent basis. If preparation is time consuming, you may find that many days escape with little or no instruction because your schedule is packed. It is easier to sit down for 5-15 minutes and engage your child in conversation. Preparation consists of mulling over the meaning of the verse, asking God how it applies in your life and your child’s life, and praying that God will make the verse live in your heart and in your child’s heartDefine Unfamiliar Words
Make sure the verse is explained in age-appropriate terminology.Relate the Unfamiliar to the Familiar
Refer back to what your child already knows to help him understand a new concept. Build on your child’s existing knowledge. For example, in teaching the phrase “he does not deal with us according to our sins” from Psalm 103:8-10 you may ask your child if he can think of a time in the Bible when someone deserved terrible punishment and God chose to forgive him. You can talk about the deserved punishment—what God could have done to that person. Then relate that incident to the phrase, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve.”Use Real-Life Situations to Help Your Child Understand Biblical Truth
Use experiences that are common to your child to help him understand a biblical concept or the point of the passage. For example, Jeremiah 32:40 includes the word “covenant.” This may be an unfamiliar word. However, the word “allowance” is probably more familiar. You could use the idea of an allowance—an agreement between a parent and a child that the parent will give the child a certain amount of money each month—to teach the concept of “covenant.”Give Your Child an Opportunity to Interact with the Truth of Scripture
An easy way to encourage your child to interact with Scripture is to ask him a lot of questions: What do you think this verse means? What other verse do you know that talks about the same thing? What verse do you know that proves what you just said? What does it mean to fear God? Can you think of a person you respect? Do you act differently around that person? In what ways do you act differently? In what ways do you act differently to your little brother than you do to your teacher?Lead Your Child to See How the Scripture Passage Applies to His Life
The aim of Bible instruction is not just to increase knowledge. It also includes building faith. Help your child to see that the Word of God relates to his own life. Ask questions that bring out that relationship: Have you ever seen the truth of this verse in your life or in the life of another person? Do you have any fears? What are they? How will knowing this help you with fear? What can you do when you feel fear? What do you think God would want you to do now that you understand this verse?Encourage Your Child to Act on the Word of God
Ask the Holy Spirit to bring along a situation where your child can act on newly discovered truth. Then encourage your child in his walk of faith.
One of the most discouraging things for a teacher or small group leader during a lesson is the perception that your students are not personally engaged with what is being taught. Here you are, teaching the most important truths in the universe with heartfelt passion, and some children seem completely disinterested, entirely inattentive, and utterly bored. Furthermore, your creative efforts to gain their attention and involve them in the lesson fail. At times like this, it’s tempting to ask: “Are they even listening? Is any of this truth reaching their minds and sinking into their hearts?” What’s a teacher or small group leader to do?
Here are some wise and encouraging words from John Angell James:
Every cause which is worth supporting, will have to encounter difficulties—and these are generally proportionate to the value of the object to be accomplished.
Now consider what we are trying to accomplish in our classrooms:
We are teaching children the glorious truths of Scripture so that they might know, honor, and treasure God, setting their hope in Christ alone, so that they will live as faithful disciples for the glory of God.
If this is our aim in our Sunday school classrooms, we should not be surprised when we encounter difficulties. Although written almost 200 years ago, John Angell James’ insights are as true and helpful today as they were in his day. He notes some discouragements that are commonly encountered when teaching children, and some suggestions for how to respond:
—From their DULLNESS. Instead of finding them quick in their conceptions, and steady in their application—you will often find them volatile in their habits, and slow of apprehension…
Never yield to such feelings…Plants of great excellence are often of slow growth, and pay with ample interests the gardener’s heavy toil, and delayed expectations.
—Their INGRATITUDE is oftentimes exceedingly discouraging…Perceiving that your kindness is wasted upon objects which it fails to impress—you feel sometimes disposed to withdraw your exertions, which are so little valued and improved.
But consider that this very state of the children’s minds, instead of inducing you to relax your exertions, should stimulate you to greater activity, since it is a part of that depravity of heart and that deformity of character, for the removal of which they are entrusted to your care. To abandon them on this account, would be like the physician’s giving up his patient because he is diseased. The more insensible and ungrateful you find them, the more should you labor for their improvement…
—Their MISIMPROVEMENT operates very unfavorably upon the mind of their instructors. Who has not sometimes experienced a chilling depression, when he has looked round upon the school at large, and compared the actual state of the children…How many appear just as depraved—as when they entered the school, and are leaving it without a single proof on which a teacher can rest his hope that they are really the better for his instructions.
…Children, in whose hearts devout impression may have been produced, are often removed from beneath your care—before you have an opportunity to witness the fruit of your toil! But the eye of God is upon his own work, and he will in eternity, make known to you all that he does by you.
I love his phrase, “But the eye of God is upon his own work.” This is so encouraging to keep in mind! It reinforces the desperate need for teachers and small group leaders to incorporate prayer in all our lesson preparations. By doing so, we humbly acknowledge that true regeneration and saving faith is by God’s sovereign grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit, who makes us alive to Christ and empowers us to walk in His ways. Therefore, we are encouraged to pray that, by God’s sovereign grace, the disinterested, inattentive, and utterly bored child in our classroom may one day become a faithful and passionate follower of Jesus!
Free Download for Parents: Equip your students’ parents with some helpful tips to better prepare them for the classroom with this free download.
Dads, as 2019 is kicking off, how’s your schedule looking? As various work commitments, travel plans, and children’s activities fill up slots, have you been able to protect time for what’s most important?
My wife Candice and I just recently finished a time of planning for the year ahead. At a coffee shop in our neighborhood, we talked through priorities for the coming year in the categories of travel, home improvement, and more. We also spent time considering each of our children individually and trying to anticipate specific needs and opportunities they’ll likely face in the year ahead.
For the second part of our planning, we met with our kids and talked about our family goals and priorities, as well as individual goals for reading, physical development, and growth in spiritual disciplines. We also planned out our big trips for the year and brainstormed leads for outings and activities to keep in mind for open weekends, holidays, and school breaks.
Two weeks into the year, however, we already feel the challenge of trying to make progress on our goals and priorities as other needs and opportunities emerge and make demands on our schedule. This is the time of year when what sounded so valuable during our planning time can start to become simply good intentions.
As I face that challenge as a Dad, I’m reminded of two commitments that have been critical to our family that I encourage every dad to consider—protecting family discipleship as a priority and making your routine work toward what matters most.Discipleship As a Priority
I know I have to protect family discipleship as a priority because it’s one of those commitments that falls in the category some time management experts describe as “important, but not urgent.” Like building relationships, exercising, and serving others, it’s important to do, but doesn’t come with the same urgency of deadlines, contractual obligations, and other pressures that make it seem time sensitive. Parents (especially dads) are clearly directed to bring their children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This makes it one of the most important priorities I have, but the demands of work, school commitments, and after-school activities, tend to press in with more urgency.
For that reason, I know I have to add urgency to what’s important by committing time on our family schedule for discipleship. And that means weighing this activity against other family activities—and determining what’s most important.
In his book The Disciple-Making Parent, Chap Bettis describes what can often fill up family calendars: “Surrounding us are parents making superhuman sacrifices for their children’s soccer practice, hockey practice (5 a.m. ice time?), academic progress, and music lessons (two instruments at the same time?).“ He goes on to say, “We can be tempted to follow them. While we may give lip service to discipling our children, the reality comes when we start prioritizing activities.”
Bettis stresses that parents have to decide what’s most important:
The apostle John expressed his heart for his spiritual children when he wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). Here lies the crux of the matter: The first battleground of family discipleship is not my child’s heart—it is my heart. Each parent must decide whether he is more concerned that his child be accepted into Heaven, or “Harvard.” We all have “Harvards”—those worldly successes we desire for our children, but the question remains, “Which is most important to me?” Each parent must finish the sentence “I have no greater joy than…” I would emphasize here that the challenge of priorities is often not the good versus the bad, rather, the good versus the better. Given a finite amount of time, energy, and money, what will you choose?
(The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ, 17.)
As Candice and I have sought to protect discipleship as a priority, we’ve found that it needs to be part of our routine. It can’t just be a good intention that we do in fits and starts. We’ve seen the power of routines when it comes to exercise, reading, and more. It requires effort and persistence to get going at first because inertia is working against you, but then a routine can take on inertia of its own. We saw this early on as we tried to change our family dinner routine to include a time of Bible reading and reflection. Our children weren’t sure what to make of it and our three-year-old seemed especially restless and distracted. But as we kept at it, our children came to expect that time. Within a week, I was encouraged to see my three-year-old go unprompted and get my Bible and set it on my plate to be ready for devotions after dinner.
Looking back over the past few years, we see some of the best fruit in our children’s lives growing from meal time devotions, along with individual breakfast discipleship times, evening prayer, and other discipleship commitments that became routines.
Each family will have their own challenges in trying to make room for family discipleship. Ultimately, each of has to submit our schedules, our priorities, and our routines in humility to God and pray for the Spirit’s wisdom and strength to guide us to be faithful in what matters most.
The start of a new year is a popular time to commit afresh to Bible reading and Scripture memory. We believe that our Fighter Verse program is a wonderful tool for encouraging and sustaining Bible personal Bible memory. But did you know it was originally designed to also be used in the context of a larger church community? Pursuing a shared goal has one big benefit: stronger biblical community.
Though corporate enthusiasm and pacing can be harder to maintain, it is possible. We’ve curated some practical suggestions to help you use Fighter Verses in your church.
- Build Strategic Partnerships One of the most crucial factors to the success of church-wide memory is the support of the church’s pastors and elders. The pastors play a key role in communicating the significance of Bible memory through announcements, sermons, articles, and examples.
- Build Community Interest Building interest and excitement about the program is critical, especially in the first year of the program. This can be done a number of ways: posters advertising that something is coming; a kickoff event that features testimonies and skits.
- Equip and Educate Participants Many people, particularly adults, may think that Scripture memorization is too hard, or just for kids. It’s important to come alongside these folks and encourage their participation by helping them find memory strategies that work for them.
- Give Tangible Incentives Scripture memory should be valued because of the blessing of putting God’s Word into your mind and heart. However, a few incentives along the way can also encourage those who have never tried Bible memory, as well as build community.
- Use Small Groups and Sunday School Because most corporate worship settings can be an intimidating place for memory accountability, encourage small groups and Sunday School classes to make Scripture memory and accountability part of their weekly program.
- Keep Bible Memory in the Forefront Keep the verse of the week in front of members through the means of corporate worship. For example, put it on the church bulletin; ask a volunteer to recite it in the morning announcements; pray it during the worship service; sing it during the worship service.
- Recognize God’s Grace Being able to memorize and apply Scripture to our lives is no small accomplishment. Only God can give us the grace to long for His Word, hide it is our hearts, and use it in our lives. When someone has a testimony of how God has used Bible memory in his life, it’s worth sharing.
To read more details about each suggestion, download the complete list of ideas for Beginning, Encouraging, and Sustaining a Church-Wide Bible Memory Program (PDF)
In the month of January, the days are short and the nights are long and cold (for some of us). The busy holiday season is over, and many of us feel tired and worn down. Sometimes this attitude carries over into the classroom. The eagerness and energy of the school year’s beginning has diminished. What’s a teacher to do to fight against the midyear doldrums? What follows is some great advice given to Sunday school teachers by John Angell James in his article “The Most Effectual Means of Keeping Up Zeal.” Although written in 19th-century language, it still applies today. Also, I have added [in brackets] a few contemporary practical examples to consider.
Zeal is apt to languish, when it is no longer excited by the stimulus of novelty—and the fervor of first love, without great care, will soon sink into dull formality. It is not to be wondered at, if among the active supporters of a Sunday School, the vice of lukewarmness should sometimes be found. Hence it is of importance to ascertain the best means for keeping up the zeal of the teacher’s office. By this I mean, the prosecution of its duties with vigor, interest, and delight—in opposition to that lifeless and indolent manner of dragging through them which is but too common with many.
- Keep in view the ultimate object of your labors.
…the necessity of keeping steadily and clearly before your mind, the salvation of the soul, as the ultimate end of all your efforts… If anything can keep your attention alive to the interests of the children, it will be the constant repetition of this sentiment—”I am seeking their everlasting salvation!”
- Well conducted Sunday School Unions have a powerful tendency to promote the spirit of your office. The occasional meeting of fellow laborers from different schools, together with the interesting communications and mutual exhortations which are then delivered, have a very enlivening effect.
- Occasional meetings among the teachers of the same school, for conversation and prayer, in immediate reference to their joint labors, are exceedingly beneficial.
[When is the last time your classroom team met together for this? Schedule a get-together soon!]
- Ministerial assistance, in the way of exhortation, inspection, and advice, would powerfully contribute to keep up the true spirit of the office.
[Ask your pastor if he would bless the children’s and youth ministry volunteers by scheduling a special meeting to exhort and encourage you together.]
In my own experience, a church-wide, midyear children’s and youth ministry event for the Christian education (CE) staff and volunteers really serves to foster and fuel all of these points. Here are elements I found refreshing during these times:
- corporate worship through the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
- a short message from your pastor/elder/CE minister reiterating what it means to be “vision-driven” in ministry (see the video links below as examples)
- an expression of thanksgiving for all the ministry volunteers
- a time for testimonies recalling evidences of God’s grace in the classroom
- breakout training sessions for specific classroom roles (teachers, worship leaders, small group leaders, etc.)
- round table to share ongoing concerns and possible solutions
- concerted prayer together
- a meal and/or special treats provided
In my many years of children’s ministry, I received great encouragement and renewed zeal through our church’s midyear refresh event. Whether a big gathering or small, whether elaborate or very simple, if the event focused on worship, encouragement from the Word, thanksgiving, recalling evidences of God’s grace, and a time of prayer, the volunteers were well served!
Videos providing examples of a vision-driven ministry:
- A Vision for the Discipleship of the Next Generation
- A Vision for God-Centered, Gospel-Focused Teaching for the Next Generations
- A Vision for Teaching the Word of God
- A Vision for Encouraging Faith in Christ
Over the years of our ministry, my wife Sally and I have taught various classes and seminars that offer vision and practical strategies for Christian parents who are committed to faithfully raising their children in the “instruction of the Lord.”1 There is a tension we often feel when teaching on the subject of faith and children. The tension is between the responsibility Christian parents have to give their children what matters most and the reality that, apart from Christ, parents have no power to ensure that their children embrace what ultimately matters most to them and to us. There is no way parents can escape responsibility for nurturing the faith of their children, and there is no way to escape the reality that their children will only be saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.2
The most biblical vision, the best parenting strategies, and the most comprehensive Deuteronomy 6:7-9 instruction in the Christian faith does not guarantee that children will be born again and that parents will experience the joy of seeing them walk in the Truth. Saving faith for any child “is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one [no parent, no pastor, no grandparent, no Sunday school teacher] may boast.”3
We have encouraged parents to heed their biblical responsibility and offered tools and support to raise their children in the faith. We have also encouraged parents with the hope-giving assurance that God rules over the hearts of their children4 and can transform the most stubborn and spiritually resistant heart into a soul that pants for Christ “as a deer pants for flowing streams.”5
We challenge parents to work out the salvation of their children “with fear and trembling”6 and, at the same time, to hold fast to the assurance that God is at work in them and in their children “both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”7
God’s unstoppable purposes for our children and our inescapable responsibility to raise them in the faith come together in prayer. The Apostle Paul stuns us at the beginning of Ephesians by assuring us that every true child of God was chosen in Christ to be “holy and blameless,” and this was “before the foundation of the world…predestined…for adoption…according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.”8 And yet, having just affirmed this reality for every believer, Paul still prayed that their hearts would be enlightened,9 and he bowed his knees so that (among other reasons) “Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith.”10
Even more stunning are Jesus’ words to Peter the night before He was crucified: “Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”11 Isn’t that amazing? Jesus, the Son of God, who sustains the universe by the word of His power, felt compelled to pray that Peter’s faith would not fail after He had declared with absolute authority that this same man was the rock on which “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”12
In 2003, George Barna published the results of an extensive study that I have found useful for inspiring prayer for the next generation. In this book,13 Barna helps us assess the spiritual influence we are having on the next generations and makes an interesting observation. He notes that churches with the most effective and fruitful ministries to children were also churches that were the most serious about prayer.
He found the most productive children’s ministries have five areas of prayer focus. In summary, they are:
- Teachers praying for each of their students on a regular basis.
- Teachers praying as a team, usually on a weekly basis, along with other staff and church leaders in the children’s ministry.
- Intercessors volunteering to faithfully pray for the teachers and students.
- The entire congregation frequently praying for children’s ministry.
- Parents praying during prayer times organized by the church, and in connection with prayer partners.
Barna says, “These churches are unusually effective, I believe, because they constantly beg God to bless the work related to the moral and spiritual maturation of their congregation’s young people…Prayer works in these churches because the body of believers shares God’s heartbeat about the importance of children and believes that prayer makes a difference in people’s lives. The result is obvious…”14
Another source for prayer inspiration comes from Reverend William Scribner, an American pastor who, in 1873, published An Appeal to Parents to Pray Continually for the Welfare and Salvation of Their Children.15 The book is divided into two parts that offer practical and biblical reasons why we should pray for our children’s salvation and for their welfare. Just reviewing the headings for each of Scribner’s sections provides us with substantial encouragement to pray for the next generation:
Praying for Your Children’s Salvation
- Their salvation is so great a prize that it is worth all the pains which your prayer to secure it for them may cost you.
- Few will pray for them if you do not.
- No one else can pray for them as you do.
- Your omitting to do so will be perilous to them and to you.
- You will then find it easier to perform other parental duties, which God has ordained as a means to their salvation.
- Prayer alone can call into exercise that divine power on their behalf, which is absolutely necessary in order that the prayers which you may employ for their salvation may not be used in vain.
- By their salvation, granted in answer to your prayers, your Savior will be glorified.
Praying for Your Children’s Welfare
- You may then expect, as a result of your prayers, that the power of God will counteract in some measure the evil you have done them.
- There will be critical periods in their lives when, without your incessant prayers, they may be left to act most unwisely, if not disastrously.
- It will lead you to a better understanding of them.
- It will increase your holy desires for them.
- No other means will be so effectual in enabling you to overcome the difficulty you experience in talking with them on religious subjects.
- You will thereby secure for them God’s aid in the efforts they may make to yield to you in obedience.
- Other parents seeing your example, may be led to imitate you.
- They will often, should they continue in the world, have their times of need when the power of God alone can avail to help them.
Bottom line—prayer matters! It matters to us. It matters to our children. It matters to every generation until Jesus comes. It matters because God is pleased to accomplish His unstoppable purposes through the prayers of His people.
Join us in praying boldly for the next generation. Visit Truth78.org/prayer to download the book Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation and to join a community committed to praying regularly.
If you’ve already committed to praying, will you help us spread the word and invite other parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, small group leaders, and more to join us in this prayer commitment?
- Order print copies to share with your church, friends, and family.
- Download a promotional flyer for print or digital distribution.
- Share the free book download through Facebook or Twitter.
1 Ephesians 6:4
2 Ephesians 2:8-9
4 Proverbs 21:1
5 Psalm 42:1
6 Philippians 2:12
7 Philippians 2:13
8 Ephesians 1:4-6
9 Ephesians 1:18
10 Ephesians 3:17
11 Luke 22:31-32
12 Matthew 16:18
13 George Barna. Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions: Why Children Should Be Your Church‘s #1 Priority. (Raleigh, NC: Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light, 2003), 102-104.
14 Ibid, 102-104.
15 Rev. William Scribner. Pray for Your Children, or An Appeal to Parents to Pray Continually for the Welfare and Salvation of Their Children. (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1873), https://archive.org/details/prayforyourchild00scri/page/n0
We come to You as our everlasting Lord and Savior and King who rules an everlasting kingdom that shall never be destroyed, with an everlasting dominion that shall never pass away.
2018 has quickly passed away, but You are from everlasting to everlasting. The grass has grown and withered, the flower has bloomed and fallen, but You are the everlasting rock that remains forever.
You have made with us an everlasting covenant.
You have saved us with an everlasting salvation.
You have given us an everlasting righteousness through the everlasting Son of righteousness.
You have kept us in Your everlasting love and held us in Your everlasting arms.
You have given us an everlasting name and hope, and an everlasting possession of an everlasting dwelling place with everlasting singing and gladness and joy upon our heads in the presence of Your everlasting light where sorrow and sighing and night shall be no more.
O Lord, as we step into this new year, lead us in the way everlasting!
Increase our knowledge of Your will and give us spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that we may walk in a manner worthy of You and in a way that is fully pleasing to You—bearing fruit in every good work.
Let 2019 be a year of triumph over the sin that entangled us and over the fear which paralyzed us and over the diseases and illnesses that afflicted us in 2018.
Give us victory over the habits that undermined our faith and distracted us from You in 2018.
Grant that faith triumph over the unbelief that has kept those we know and love from trusting in You and treasuring You for all that You are and all that You have promised those who are in Christ Jesus.
O God, let Your Word run and be glorified in 2019.
Open doors for us to declare the mystery of Christ and let the sharing of our faith become effective for the sake of family members and co-workers, friends and neighbors who are far away from You.
Take away anything that would hinder close communion with You and would keep us from setting our hope and our affections on You in 2019. Move our hearts and our longings far from the perishable things of this world and closer to the imperishable treasure that we have in You.
Lord Jesus may Your name be glorified in us, and we in You. From everlasting to everlasting may Your name be blessed. As we live in this land and witness the effects of hardening hearts, rising rebellion against You, and increasing hostility toward the name of Christ, keep us from losing hope or retreating to indifference. Keep us praying and pleading for our nation and our leaders, as Abraham prayed and pled for Sodom.
And let our prayers abound in 2019 for Russia, China, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, North Korea, Somalia, India, Myanmar, the UAE, Guinea, Ethiopia, and all the other nations of the world. Establish Your truth in every place where it is scorned so that all peoples will laud you as King, and all nations will praise You as Lord. Let Your kingdom come, let Your Word triumph and let Your will be done on earth in 2019 as it is in heaven!
O Lord Jesus, at the dawn of this new year we anticipate with joy the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Perhaps this will be the year the preparations are complete—when every last stronghold has been destroyed and every possession of Yours has been claimed and all the redeemed are gathered together around Your throne and we are freed from this tongue of flesh to sing a new song to You in the fullness of our glory, and the everlasting joy with our everlasting King.
O Lord Jesus, come quickly!
In Your great and everlasting name, I pray,
AmenPray with us in 2019
As we begin this new year, would you join us in praying boldly for the next generation?
- to download the book Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation
- to join a community committed to praying regularly in 2019
- to invite others to join us in this prayer