Make Something Happen!

July 20, 2011

“The prayer of a godly person is powerful.  It makes things happen!”  James  5:16 (NIrV)

Do you think kids can learn about intercession?  Do you think they can understand the simple, powerful verse from James?  If not, you need to get out of children’s ministry.  One of the most powerful forces in the universe is a group of kids praying earnestly and specifically to a God who hears and responds.

Intercession may seem to be a pretty big word for kids, but this I’ve met many that not only get it, they do it.  Watching a group of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade kids earnestly, thoughtfully presenting their requests to God is a thrill.  I’ve seen children grasp the concept of “praying on target” for the specific needs of others, then actually do it!  There is power in those prayers.

I grew up with a prayer that ended with, “God bless….” and then I would list of everyone I could possibly remember.  What a way to fall asleep, asking God to take care of everyone I could think of.  I prayed to a God who heard, I prayed with faith, you may have as well.  So there is no reason to doubt that this generation of kids can and will become this generation’s prayer warriors.  All they need is a bit of direction and encouragement, then stand back and watch God act on their behalf.

Yes, I think intercession is a great thing to teach kids.  For example, we once had the kids in our ministry pray for a team of teens heading for Australia for a mission trip.  A high-school student shared stories and gave details about the upcoming trip and all of the concerns surrounding it.  (Spiders the size of plates? Totally different food?)  The kids prayed for safety, for open minds and hearts and for homesickness.  These are tangible requests where God’s answer would be obvious.

Kids are expecting to see results because someone they trust told them that they would see results.  More importantly, kids expect results because they believe God answers prayer.

“Jesus called a little child over to him.  He had the child stand among them.  Jesus said, ‘what I’m about to tell you is true.  You need to change and become like little children.  If you don’t you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”  “Matthew 18:2-3)

As adults, we know that God does not always answer our prayers the way we want him to, so many of us start to believe that he doesn’t answer at all.  However, God always answers our prayers; he just has a bit more information than we do.  God, who knows all things, answers our prayers in a way that brings glory to himself, and provides the best possible answer to our prayers.  He goes beyond what we ask and gives us what we need.  “Even though you are evil, you know how to give good gifts to your children.  How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  (Matthew 7: 11)

If you have not had specific answers to your prayers, perhaps it is because you have not been praying specifically enough.  Or because you don’t believe God answers prayer.  “Ask, and it will be given to you. Search and you will find.  Knock and the door will be opened to you.  Everyone who asks will receive.   He who searches will find.  The door will be opened to the one who asks.”  (Matthew 7:7-8)

Change and become like a child again.  Trust God’s word.  He promises that he will always answer your prayer in a way that glorifies Himself, and meets your needs.  Pray trustingly, pray specifically, and pray expectantly.  If you are not sure how to pray like that, just listen to children praying.

One of the things we did to help kids learn how to pray specifically was to help them pray “on target.”  We used actual targets in Kid’s Worship with specific prayer requests written on them.  (the Australia Mission trip, Zambian Orphans, VBS, and prayer requests from the kids themselves)  And the kids looked for results with expectation.

Keep a list or journal of answered and unanswered prayers to remind yourself of his goodness.  (The Israelites were told to remind and keep reminding themselves of God’s goodness.)

“The prayer of a godly person (child or adult) is powerful.  It makes things happen.”  (James 5 16)

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