Recently, some friends celebrated the birth of their first child, a son. While praying for the newborn, I felt impressed to ask the Lord for His thoughts on the birth. The question/answer He gave me challenged my usual way of thinking.
"Have you considered that this newborn baby may likely become your peer-in-Christ one day?"
Wow! Fast-forward some short 12-25 years from now, and this newborn will become a peer of some type! That's difficult to think about while looking at a newborn tightly snuggled in his blankets, but it's very true!
If that baby is prayed for, trained up in God's Word & ways, and the Holy Spirit turns his heart toward the Lord's in the form of a personal relationship with Him, this boy will become a spiritual peer of yours and mine. Depending upon how worldly or Christ-focused he becomes will factor in to his maturation in Christ and to what degree he will likely serve Him and others.
Training Up a Child
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
There are many ways to teach, train, and model faith to children, but one thing I believe is absolutely necessary for a child's maturation is training a child to pray!
Herein lies some challenges.
Do you pray for your children, grandchildren, or the children of others? How do you pray for them if/when you do? Do you ever model prayer to them (so that they may see how they too can pray)? How well have you been personally trained in order to train a child (future peer) in prayer?
Shopping Out Responsibility
You know, the training of children and youth to seek, follow, relate to, and pursue God is not only for trained specialists. It is each of our responsibilities. In the proverb mentioned above, there's no mention of "Only take your child to a youth pastor, a specialized prayer warrior, a missions specialist, etc. to train him/her in the way they should go (or grow)." While these type of Christian leaders should be helpful to go to for instruction, assistance, and guidance; the full responsibility and joy of helping a child to mature spiritually should not be shopped out only to Christian leaders. That responsibility is upon each parent, grandparent, Christ-centered neighbor, and friend. We're all involved in this together!
Each of us is called to train up children in the way they should go- whether or not you have a "heart" or passion to work with children inside or outside of a church setting. They will very soon become our peers (Christian or non-Christian)!
What if I've Never Been Trained Myself?
In Matthew 10:24-25, Jesus said, "“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters..."
A child will not learn beyond what their teacher teaches them.
I've spoken with many adults who lament that their parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, or spiritual leaders never taught them how to personally pray, or pray with confidence. Most are not out to assess blame, but to state the need within their own hearts and lives. How can one train another (especially a child) if they've never been trained or lack confidence themselves?
It's not too late. All is not lost- for you, your children, grandchildren, or other future peers.
If you find yourself in a position where you feel you could benefit from training or growth in your prayer life, contact OnSite. We desire to help you grow closer in relationship with God through reading and applying Scripture in your day-to-day life, worshiping and praying from the Word of God, praying with your spouse and/or children, and in other simple, practical ways.
Call, text, or email us today. Our contact info is below. Together, we can equip our current and future peers in prayer and develop deeper relationships with Jesus Christ as we do! Give yourself, or someone else, the gift of prayer this Christmas and beyond!
Executive Director, OnSite International, Inc.