Imagine that you and your church faithfully and earnestly: embrace a biblical vision for the faith of the next generation; experience a robust partnership between church and home; teach the whole counsel of God using biblically rich resources; clearly and joyfully proclaim the glorious gospel of Jesus; carefully disciple the mind, heart, and will; and inspire worship of God for the glory of God. It sounds like a wonderful and glorious ministry plan that should yield much spiritual fruit…except that something is missing. Something further must happen. Something we cannot, in all our efforts, bring about. David Michael explains:
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.
Leading children to salvation is only possible with God’s help and the transforming power of His grace (Luke 18:27). The most important thing I can do to provide what I desire for my children is to seek God’s help and plead for His grace to accomplish what I am powerless to do in the heart of my child.
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” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
That’s why being seriously committed to the discipleship of the next generation means being seriously committed to praying regularly, earnestly, and biblically for the faith of the next generation.
How can the church and parents become more committed to this kind of prayerful dependency on God?
Further steps for the church to ground discipleship in prayer:
- Listen to the Truth 78 seminar, “Prayer: Utter Dependence on God in Children’s Ministry.” Provide your ministry volunteers with the accompanying booklet, Utter Dependency on God, Through Prayer.
- Encourage children’s and youth volunteers to pray regularly for the children in their classrooms.
- Encourage nursery volunteers to pray for each baby every week.
- Post prayer topics or verses on the walls of your nursery and classrooms and encourage volunteers to pray weekly for the children.
- Encourage your Sunday school and midweek teams to pray together before each class, and then permeate the classroom session with prayer—before the worship time, before and after the Bible lesson, and during the small group time.
- Provide every parent with the booklet, Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation.
- Send out regular emails or texts encouraging parents and volunteers to be in prayer for specific spiritual needs.
Further steps for parents to ground discipleship in prayer:
- Listen to the Truth 78 seminar, ”Praying Steadfastly: A Call to Parents.”
- Decide on a strategy for praying for your children and implement it.
- Use Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation as a prayer guide.
- As you read your Bible each day, use the passages you read as springboards for praying for your children.
- Bless your children and prayer for them each night as you put them to bed. Use A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children.
- Pray with your children spontaneously—at all times, not just at mealtimes and bedtime.
- Keep a prayer journal for each of your children.
- Gather together with other parents and set aside regular times to pray for one another.