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By Lyn Rowley
Salvation For Children
God the Father shared His love of children with Jesus. Jesus only does what he sees the Father doing. In the Bible, the mothers brought their children to be blessed by Jesus. And when the disciples saw this, they tried to send the children away. But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me". Jesus loved the children. He taught the children and He blessed the children. Jesus welcomes children to come to Him. He is eager and waiting for children to come and be blessed.
Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, ďSuffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.Ē King James
Mark 10:16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. King James
Luke 18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. Another time, Jesus stood a child in the middle of the disciples and said ďyou must be like this little child to enter the kingdom of heavenĒ. King James
Jesus desires that ALL are saved. He doesnít state that you must be a certain age before you can understand and accept the truth of who He is and what He has done for you. Because God is Spirit and we also are spiritual beings, God is able to communicate with us - Spirit to spirit. Young children understand that they have done wrong. Even a toddler knows and understands the word "no" and the consequences of disobedience. They are also able to know and joyfully express love and caring. Even before they may "understand" the Gospel message in their minds, they know and respond to Jesus in their spirits. A small child who talks with Jesus and expresses an age appropriate knowledge of God is part of Godís family.
Children need frequent opportunities to hear and respond to the Gospel message. Adults also need to be challenged to go deeper and grow closer to Jesus. Start with a simple prayer that acknowledges Jesus as the Son of God, who came to earth to take our punishment for sin. Include that He died and was brought back to life by God the Father through the working of the Holy Spirit. Then ask Him to live IN us and through us. This will give children the opportunity to continually renew and grow in their Christian walk. By continually offering this simple prayer, children will be not only believers in Jesus, but grow into disciples. Young children two to four years old can confess Jesus and express a true relationship with Jesus.
When I was four years old, I expressed a belief in Jesus. I was baptized as an infant and the power of the Holy Spirit, acting in my life, revealed and drew me to Jesus. Children who have entered into the New Covenant relationship with Jesus through Baptism can participate in the blessings of that relationship. Jesusí baptism was an incredible moment. The Spirit descended like a dove and the Father declared that Jesus was His Son.
Matthew 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. King James
While our baptisms may not contain these kinds of spectacular events, something powerful happens when someone is baptized. It is God who does that amazing thing. Baptism establishes our identity. It leaves the mark of Jesus on us. Through baptism we identify with the New Covenant that was established in the death and resurrection of Jesus. God desires that all Christians go through the waters of baptism as part of their life long journey. Among Jesusí last words is a command to include baptism in the making of disciples.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: King James
God is a miracle-working God, and nothing is impossible with Him. Do not discount the commitment that young believers make. Children who confess Jesus, who have not already been baptized, should be brought to baptism soon. There is no reason to wait until the child is older. Acknowledge this amazing transformation in the child and celebrate Godís faithfulness to draw all of us to Himself. Jesus is waiting to bless the children. And all of heaven rejoices when one person comes to Jesus.
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Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to children. We must have the open trust of a small child in order to see and hear Jesus. Children come willingly. They donít consider all of the "what ifs" and the "whys". They just accept that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.
Sometimes adults think that children canít understand the Gospel message until they reach a certain age or stage of life. But Jesus says that the very little children are given mouths to praise Him and proclaim who He is. In this world we "learn" how to doubt and how to question. We need to accept that young children just know and believe. Children can see and hear Jesus and can praise and worship and love their Savior and their Father in heaven. I have seen children just old enough to walk, caught up in worship. When I asked one little girl, about two years old, what Jesus was showing her, she responded "Colors!" There was a look of pure joy and peace on her face. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was revealing Jesus to her in a way that she could understand.
Children learn to recognize their mother and father almost from birth. A newborn will turn towards the voice of their parents. In the same way, young children can learn and respond to the voice and the presence of their heavenly father. The mistake has been waiting to teach the children until they are "older". Many children are excluded from the worship services. Then sadly, after these children have learned to question and doubt, we try to get them to understand spiritual matters. Donít pass by the window of opportunity in the lives of children. Welcome even newborns and infants into the church family - into every part of every service. Ask Jesus to come and bless the children in the worship service. Seek His direction for your assembly so that the children are blessed. Jesus did what he saw His father doing - that was to bless and welcome the children. And we need to do what Jesus did.
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. King James
Matthew 21:16 And said unto him, Hear thou what these say? And Jesus said unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? King James
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. King James
Some have a fear that children will be a distraction for the adults in worship. In my experience when the presence of the Lord is welcomed in an assembly, the children respond to the Lord. When the children are part of worship and feel welcomed and included, they are not a distraction. The Biblical pattern of worship includes the children. There was no thought to separate them from the assembly. They were present for the singing, they were present for the reading of the Holy Scriptures and they were present for the teachings. When there was a fast proclaimed, the children fasted. In 2 Chronicles chapter twenty, ALL Judah includes the children. (See 2 Chronicles 20:13 below)
2 Chronicles 20:3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. King James
On Palm Sunday when Jesus was proclaimed and worshipped as King, the children sang and praised him. We know children were present when Jesus was teaching the people. He called the children to come and be blessed.
Children need to be included in all of the worship. They need to be in the presence of God to learn to hear His voice. And the adults need the children in worship so that all that the Lord has for the assembly will come to pass.
Children are listening and hear as scripture is read and the word preached. It may appear as if the children are not listening, but that is not always the case. Some may think that the children will not understand - that the words are above their understanding. But the Holy Spirit brings revelation of the word even to children. My own son, when he was just 5 years old, surprised our family by recounting, at the dinner table, a large portion of the sermon and scripture readings from church that morning. Sometimes that child-like simplicity will make a difficult topic, more clear to the adults.
Josiah 8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them. King James
2 Chronicles 20:13 And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. King James
Nehemiah 12:43 Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off. King James
Matthew 21:15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, King James
Psalms 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thy enemies, that thou might still the enemy and the avenger. King James
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God has set up the family as his perfect picture for us. He is the head of the body - of the family - of the church. The father is the head of the individual family. And children are a vital part of the family. God placed Jesus in a family when he was born on this earth. Jesus was with his family as a very young child when the wise men arrived to bring him gifts and worship him. Jesus was part of his community and as a 12 year old accompanied his mother and father to a festival in Jerusalem. And while he was there, the teachers and leaders received him and listened to him.
Parents have a responsibility, along with the Pastors and leaders of the church to help children learn and grow in their relationship with God. From birth, parents should be praying with and for their children. Even babies should be brought into worship. They should be exposed to songs, hymns and spiritual songs. Children should hear scripture read and have passages explained to them. Children should hear Bible stories and learn about how God has worked since creation. In this way, parents are fulfilling the direction of scripture to teach the Laws of God to their children. This does not mean that all learning takes place in a formal setting. In Deuteronomy 11:19 parents are reminded to be always speaking about the commands of God to their children - when they are in the house, walking on the road, at daytime and at nighttime. Remember to ask Jesus to empower you to share with your children. The Holy Spirit will give you the right words at the right time for each of your children.
Deuteronomy 11:19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sits in thy house, and when thou walks by the way, when thou lies down, and when thou rises up. King James
When we share a Bible story or thought with our children, we need to help them make sense out of it. Sometimes this means praying and asking the Lord to bring understanding.
It is acceptable to let your children know that YOU donít have every answer and donít understand every passage. Pray together and let the Lord speak to you or your child to bring the revelation needed in each situation.
Just as learning in a family does not all happen in a formal setting, neither will all learning in church happen in a formal setting. There is certainly a time and place for age-appropriate education in a classroom setting. But this imparting of knowledge should not replace the Spirit inspired learning that happens when every part of the family is gathered together in worship, prayer and teaching. God calls us to seek balance in all areas of our life. And there needs to be a balance in the times of education, training and equipping of our children. Sunday School time should never replace corporate worship. Everyone - adults and children alike - need times of classroom instruction. And everyone - adults and children alike - need corporate worship. Every effort should be made to schedule education at different times than the regular worship. Sunday mornings should include time for everyone - including children - to worship together and hear the Word of God proclaimed as well as time for age-appropriate learning. It has only been in the last few decades that it has become acceptable to separate the children and exclude them from the main worship service. This is not the Biblical model and does not follow the direction of Jesus when he called the children to come to him.
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The times of education for the children need to be meaningful times led by people who understand how God uses children. The times of teaching and training for children should always include prayer and provide teaching that uses all the senses. Some children learn best by hearing a message. Some learn best by seeing pictures or a dramatic presentation. Some need to be able to touch objects related to the story to remember the message given. Children also learn from other children. Provide times for children to share a favorite Bible story or passage and then explain to the group why this is important to them.
A solid program for the children should include
Bible stories, verses and memorization.
Prayer - with and for others.
Modeling of the Gifts/Fruit of the Spirit by the leaders and teachers.
Testimony and sharing.
Application of Bible themes to the childrenís life.
Since God has a divine design for our children, he will appoint and anoint servants in the body to carry out this important ministry. Sometimes the "best" teachers are reserved for the adults or the older youth in a fellowship. The most important part of filling the teaching positions in a childrenís program is discovering who the Lord has called for this purpose. Pray and seek the Lord for His best for these positions. If there are volunteers who are willing to serve but may be doing so out of a sense of obligation, pray with them and ask them to seek the Lord about this task. Encourage and educate them in Godís plan for children. And trust that the Lord will either change their heart for the job or bring forth another volunteer. Donít be willing to settle for less than the best educational model for your children.
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Children hear and respond to the voice and the presence of God. John the Baptist leapt in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, when Mary, pregnant with Jesus was present. Samuel, while still a very small boy, heard the Lord call his name. God has a plan and a purpose for each person. This destiny begins when we are shaped in our motherís womb. God knows us and has plans and purposes for each life.
In the Old Testament, Hannah was a Godly woman who cried out to God for a child. After many years she promised God that if she were to have a child, she would give that child to His service. Samuel was born after this prayer and when he was old enough - just weaned - Hannah brought Samuel to Eli the Priest so that he could be trained. Samuel heard God call his name. Eli tells him to respond to God and say, "Yes Lord, here I am". Eli did not tell Samuel to wait until he was older to respond to God. He was a young child and he heard the voice of God. God had a plan and a purpose for Samuelís life. That plan and purpose began before he was born. Eli was blessed through Samuel. The people of Israel were blessed through Samuel. We are blessed through the story of Samuel that is told in Scripture. Children need to be encouraged to respond to the presence and the voice of the Lord. There should be an expectation for all present in the assembly to recognize and respond as the Lord brings forth His Word and His Gifts. As the adults respond and share, this provides an example and the children will follow. Those in leadership need to be sensitive and open to Godís plan to use children. And as children begin to express the things God is saying to them, the leaders should welcome all that the Lord is bringing forth.
When God speaks to children, He will give them the wisdom to act on his Word. David was a young boy when he was called to fight Goliath. He had been left at home, too young to go to battle. Yet God called him to fight the biggest enemy of his people. Davidís determination was the faith of a child. He knew that he was weak and small and young, and he also knew that his God was a big God who would protect him and destroy his enemies. When Saul tried to get him to use his weapons and armor, it was just a hindrance to David. David knew that he just needed to rely on God and use what God had given to him. Children do not have to be "clothed" in the ways of the adults in order to serve God. "Formulas" or "programs" are not needed for children to do the work of the kingdom. David used clothes and tools and weapons that were familiar to him. He didnít try to fight the battle in the style and ways of the adults. He did what God told him to do. David told Saul that he had seen God act on his behalf many times in the past and God has always protected him. So David does what comes naturally to him. With Godís wisdom he selects the proper weapon to fight this specific battle. David had wisdom and discernment to overcome the enemy of God. Listen carefully to the children when they bring forth an idea or a plan from the Lord. Sometimes the method or the tools they choose may seem unusual, but we must trust the Lord. Children will use what is familiar to them, to do the work of the Lord.
Children are not limited by what is "possible" and respond to the Lord with faith. In the New Testament story of the feeding of the 5000, it is a young boy that saves the day. The disciples are looking for a physical way to feed all of the people. But a young boy with a small lunch has great faith. He offers to Jesus all that he has. He doesnít try to figure out how one small lunch will help feed so many people. He doesnít decide that it would look silly to expect Jesus to want his gift. Instead, he responds to the question of Jesus when he asks what there is to give to the people. Jesus was able to bless the entire group assembled that day through the offering of one child.
Consider the proposals of children. Sometimes the ideas will seem outlandish at first, but remember the story of the boy with the lunch and David and Goliath. Davidís plan included only five smooth stones to fight a giant. Most children will not argue with God when he speaks an idea or plan to them. Their faith knows that God is big enough to take care of anything. The children will fight using ways that may seem small and ordinary. This generation of children needs to have the wisdom and the discernment of the Lord to fight the evil in the world today. Remember that a faith-filled child following Godís call, empowered by the Spirit, can destroy any enemy and feed an army.
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In Scripture there are shepherds, fisherman, farmers, priests, carpenters and much more. In fact there is representation of the variety of professions and skills and gifts that God has planned for humankind. Godís call and destiny and plan for each child may be revealed, even when this call doesnít represent what the parents or the leaders expect. This unique and special design of the Lord may be revealed in very young children.
David was the youngest brother in his family, tending sheep on the hillside when Samuel came in search of the next King. Each of the older boys was rejected and Samuel refused to leave the place to which God had sent him until God had revealed to him the one to anoint. David did not seek this call, but God had a plan and a purpose for his life that began before he was born. In Psalm 139, David acknowledges that God knew him when he was knit together in his motherís womb. Davidís father did not expect his youngest to be the one. As a matter of fact, David was somewhat forgotten out on the hillside.
1 Samuel 16:11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remains yet the youngest, and, behold, he keeps the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
1 Samuel 16:12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
1 Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. King James
This passage of the Bible is a reminder to us to listen to the prophetic voices as they call forth the children. The Lord wants to anoint and bless the children into their callings. The children will not usually come forward and ask to be recognized. The adults should be expectant and open for the Lord to reveal the various callings for all of the children. It is the responsibility of the Pastors and the leaders of the church to act when the Lord speaks His calling for a child. The children should be anointed and blessed by the leaders and the assembly. The intercessors of the church should pray for and support these children. There are prophets, apostles, pastors, evangelists, and teachers among the children. There are intercessors and healers and missionaries and leaders. Donít wait. Bring forth the gifts and talents that God has given now! Jesus was only twelve years old when he was teaching in the temple. And Jesus said that we would do even greater things than he did.
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. King James
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Prayer is a vital part of Godís plan for all of us - including the children. Children are taught to memorize table prayers, or bedtime prayers or even the Lordís Prayer. But prayer is conversation and that must include listening to and responding to the Lord. The most basic prayer in the Bible is simply "Abba"! It is a cry to our daddy, to our heavenly father. Certainly even the youngest child can utter this word.
Young children instinctively pray what is on their hearts. They are not afraid or ashamed to talk to Jesus about what is bothering them or what they donít understand. Children often pour out thanksgiving for the small things that the adults take for granted. They have not learned to "think" about what to say or to plan out their prayers. They know the simplicity of just talking with their friend, Jesus. It isnít until the children grow older that they begin to seek the approval of the adults around them or even their own peer group and then begin to "think" about how to pray. This is another area where there is a window of opportunity. Children just learning to talk, at the age of 2 to 3 years, should be encouraged to pray out loud. The mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, Pastors and leaders should all be praying, out loud, with and for these young children.
Parents should be praying WITH their children, not just FOR their children. Pastors should be praying WITH the children, not just FOR the children. And during this prayer time the children should be encouraged to also pray. The children need to hear their parents praying a blessing for them.
Children should be encouraged to pray for each other. Time should be given for each child to pray with their brothers, sisters or friends. Remind the children to bless each other and to bring their needs to each other. Children can be powerful intercessors. Often children understand better than adults that prayer - conversation with Jesus - can happen anywhere and at anytime. Children engaged in play, can be heard talking with Jesus.
Because children have a pure faith and hear the voice of Jesus, they can pray "in the Spirit" with great ease. Often children will know what and how to pray for a complex situation, simply because they donít THINK! Many families and churches miss out on blessings from God because they donít welcome the prayers of their young children.
Ask your children to tell you what Jesus is speaking to them. Let them respond to His word. Bless what the Lord is doing in them. Ask your children to pray a blessing for you. Jesus hears and honors the prayers of children.
Recently I heard this testimony from a woman, who prayed with her 5 year old son and asked Jesus to bless him. She asked her son what Jesus was speaking to him. The 5 year old said that Jesus had told him that they should not worry about paying for his education. The mother knew that this was Jesus speaking to her son. The boy had no idea that his mother and father had been concerned about how to pay for his schooling. If this mother had not asked her son to tell her what he was hearing from the Lord, she would have missed the blessing and the assurance of knowing that Jesus was taking care of her family. Her testimony also included her intention to include her children in every worship service. She now understood that Jesus speaks to children and will use them to bless others.
It is very important that children hear praise reports of answered prayer. And it is important to allow the children to share when even their smallest prayers are answered.
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Children respond to a personal testimony. We all respond to personal testimony. When someone shares a story of answered prayer or a Spiritual encounter with Jesus, it moves children to also share. Times of testimony in a church service help to stimulate children to expect Jesus to act in and through them. This is the beginning of evangelism. It provides a base for the Lord to build on as the child grows, so that he or she is prepared to tell the Gospel story to someone else. Children need encouragement to share.
Hearing the testimony of adults gives the children a remembrance of Godís past activity. We have the Bible that originated because verbal stories were written down. Children will often bring to mind testimonies they have heard and speak about the times God acted. God is pleased with our testimony. Scripture tells us in Malachi that God remembers those who offer testimony to Him. As we talk with one another and as our children talk about the Lord, He is blessed and more glory is given unto Him.
Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the Lord spoke often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. King James
Acts 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. King James
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Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. King James
The Holy Spirit is promised to ALL who will accept and believe in Jesus. There is no "correct" age to be filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3:15 that Timothy knew the Scriptures from infancy. It was this knowledge of Godís word that brought faith and salvation to him.
2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. King James
Children need the power and working of the Holy Spirit in their lives in order to face the trials and temptations of this world. Because of the many advances in technology (television, radio, internet, videogames, etc), even young children have seen and heard much evil.
The active presence of the Holy Spirit within them will preserve this generation. The Lord has so much for these children to do. They need to be reaching out in authority to their peers and sharing the good news of salvation. We need this army of young children to stand against the ways of Satan and to capture and hold on to their friends and family. My daughter, filled with the Spirit, began to pray for her friends, while she was still a child. Through her prayers, her witness and her wisdom from the Lord, many children, teens and adults are a part of the kingdom today. There is increasing darkness coming in these days in the world. God is not surprised by this. This is part of His eternal plan. And it is part of that plan that His kingdom will increase to overcome the darkness. Part of that increase is children being filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit at a younger age, so that they can bring more light into the darkness of the world around them.
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. King James
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In the story of Joseph and his family, God uses dreams and visions to speak to a young boy. In fact, Joseph was the youngest of all the brothers. God revealed to Joseph his future destiny. Joseph did not understand this dream as a child, but through out scripture we can see how powerfully this dream impacted him. He did not lose sight of this dream, even when betrayed by his brothers, even when sold into slavery or when he was tempted by the wife of Potiphar. When God gives a dream or a vision , there is the grace poured out to hold on to that dream. Many years later, Joseph understood that he was to save his entire family from a famine. Only God could have arranged the circumstances of his life to make this dream come true. And it was the power of God, working in Joseph that kept his faith strong until the dream had been fulfilled.
When I was four years old, I had a vivid dream. In my dream I was walking with Jesus in a beautiful garden. It was bright and wonderful, filled with flowers and trees. Jesus and I were on a long path, and he was holding my hand. He explained the story of his death and resurrection to me, in a way that I could understand. God has given me grace to not only recall this dream, but to actually remember the feeling of his hand holding mine. During difficult times in my life, I have found great comfort in the memory of this dream and the reality that Jesus is walking right beside me on this path of life, and he will never let go of my hand. This was not just a silly dream of a young child. This was a powerful word from the Lord that will continue to impact my life.
Children need to be encouraged to share the dreams and visions that the Lord has given to them. They also need to be reminded that many times these dreams and visions are not completed for many years. It is good to record dreams, visions and words from the Lord so that you may refer back to them and be reminded to hold on to the things that the Lord has given. Children should be reminded to pray that the Lord would bring this vision or dream to pass.
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There is power in the remembrance of Godís faithfulness to us. If answered prayers and words from the Lord are written down, they will continue to bless us and also future generations. The Lord may bring revelation to a dream or a vision as we ponder it over time through our journals. Some say that writing is a lost art, with the computer becoming more and more available. The method of recording is not important, but rather it is the recording that matters. Whether it is words written on the pages of a notebook, or typed into a computer file, it is the preservation of the memory of the work of the Lord that is important.
This is another area that children will respond to the modeling of their parents. If they see Mom or Dad journaling or hear recounted answered prayers from a family journal, they will be encouraged to journal themselves. A first journal may be a simple notebook with drawings. The child may describe the drawing and the parent can record the words. Or the journal may be just simple phrases or symbols. Allow the child to share with you from their journal. Encourage the verbal storytelling that can come from this. Remind your child to write down the things that he or she hears Jesus speak. Make sure that children understand that there is no right or wrong way to journal. The idea is to have a record of the work of the Lord.
These simple books can become priceless treasures as the years pass. I have been journaling for over 15 years. I have been amazed and delighted when I search through my journals. These past words and prayers have encouraged me to preserver in tough situations, reminded me of Godís faithfulness, and given me strength and boldness to walk out the plan and purpose He has for my life. Many of the books of the Bible were actually journals. The Psalms were Davidís conversations with God and recounting the workings of the Lord in his life.
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Much focus is placed on youth and youth ministry. Yet, if the churches were building a strong and solid foundation for the youngest child in the body, the youth ministry would be happening and the youth would be leading this ministry.
Children who have a personal relationship with Jesus and are taught to hear and respond to the voice of Jesus, who are encouraged to share, who are filled with the Spirit, and empowered to serve, can change the entire dynamic of a church family.
These are the children who can walk boldly into their world - the schools, the playgrounds and the sports fields - and bring others into the kingdom.
They are not the FUTURE of the church - they ARE the church.
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Welcome every infant and child into active participation in worship services.
Lord Jesus, help me to welcome all of your body into my places of worship, even the youngest child. Jesus, give me a heart that is open to your emotions and your desire to welcome the children. Remind me that I am your child. And give me faith to worship as a child.
Educate and support parents as they train their children at home.
Father, you are the creator God that established the family. Teach me to reach out and help my neighbors, friends and relatives as they train up their children. Give me your compassion, Lord, for mothers and fathers as they raise their children. Thank you, Jesus, for the family that you gave to me and for my own mother and father. Thank you for all of the mothers and the fathers, Lord.
Train and equip the children in Scripture, a relationship with Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit, be real in my life so that I can share Jesus boldly with all those I am in contact with- even young children. Give me courage to speak forth the Gospel message and the wisdom to choose the correct words at the right time for each person and situation. Holy Spirit, bring to my mind a Scripture in season. Father, you are responsible for drawing all people to Jesus. Draw the children into a personal relationship with your Son.
Pray with and for the parents and children.
Lord Jesus, you taught us how to pray. Give me grace to speak forth my concerns and my fears to you. Help me to be able to stand with others, as together, we come before your throne. Remind me Jesus, that you donít care about the words, but you know my heart. Give me your heart for the children so that they will be blessed. Thank you Jesus, for the children.
Encourage children to hear and respond to the voice of Jesus.
Father, thank you that you are speaking from heaven. Jesus, thank you that you did not leave us, but you sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and live in us. Jesus, help me to hear your Word, as you speak to my spirit. Remind me to answer, ďHere I am LordĒ. Give me power to encourage others, especially children, to recognize and respond to your voice.
Listen to and respond to the ideas, thoughts and plans of the children.
Father, you are an amazing creative God and you bless us with the ability to think and plan. Lord, give me grace to listen to the suggestions of the children. Remind me that you have given some powerful examples in the Bible, of little children who carried out your great plans. Forgive me, Jesus, for any pride that may cause me to discount the ideas of children. Lord, help me to be the encourager that you desire.
Expect and accept and bless the calling, gifts, and anointing on the children.
Lord God, thank you that you have a plan and a purpose for me. Thank you that you knew me even before I was born. Lord I accept the gifts that you have given to me. Help me to walk out the path you have placed before me. Jesus, thank you that you called the little children to come to you. Reveal your specific plan for each child. Bring revelation to those around the children so that they can be supported and trained as they grow into the places you would have for them. Lord, help me to bless what you are doing in the children around me.
Provide modeling of worship, prayer and journaling, and testimony for the children to follow.
Jesus, thank you for giving us a community. Your plan provides for support and encouragement for us from those around. Lord Jesus, help me to be a faithful witness for you. Give me courage to worship, focused on you alone. Give me boldness to pray with confidence. Help me share with those around me your unfailing love and faithfulness. Let me be an example to the children you place around me in my community.
Thank you for loving me and loving the children.
AND WATCH WHAT THE LORD WILL DO!
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