“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies…” (Ps. 8:12).
SUNDAYS • Strengthen intergenerational worship
Being intergenerational is about belonging and nurturing people of all ages to enter God’s story. Ask God to show churches ways to intentionally welcome children in worship. Pray the Holy Spirit will empower children, teens, adults and older folks to learn from one another and serve alongside each other.
MONDAYS • Nurture healthy children
Throughout East Asia, children need nutritious food, safe learning environments and loving care. Pray families and communities put this knowledge into action. Ask God to use holistic health education efforts to enable parents to provide for their children. Pray the pressure put on children to succeed academically will be balanced with the importance of meeting their relational, emotional and spiritual needs.
TUESDAYS • Empower outreach to children
Although used to connect people during this pandemic, computer screens are no substitute for community. Children in East Asian cities have especially suffered isolation. Ask the Lord to give local workers creative ways to hold clubs and camp ministries again. May children learn cooperation, develop character and include everyone even those who are physically or mentally challenged. Pray God will flow his love and build relationships that influence lives.
WEDNESDAYS • Lay spiritual foundations
Children can know God, love God and live for God. Pray that faith communities would value children, include them and find ways to build faith-strengthening relationships with them. Pray for workers in Thailand serving in children’s Bible ministries. Ask the Lord himself to speak to children and bless them with his love.
THURSDAYS • Build bridges in families
Children naturally share what they feel or experience with others. Ask God to use children to bless their families and share his love. Pray parents will hear God’s truth when he speaks through their children. Pray the Lord will work miracles in answer to the prayers of children, that family members see Jesus and receive his salvation.
FRIDAYS • Multiply prayer movements
Imagine children released to pray for the nations. Ask God to spur adults to pray for children to know Jesus and grow in his love. Ask God to ignite in children his desire to see people from every country reached with the gospel. Pray the Lord raises up children to pray and by the power of the Holy Spirit uses their prayers to send ripples of blessings to the people in East Asia now and into the next generation.
SATURDAYS • Protect impressionable children
Drugs and alcohol affect families in many places throughout the world. Money disappears, anger turns violent and children feel the impact. Ask God to protect children physically and emotionally, to develop inner resilience and to rekindle their hope to dream. Pray the Lord heals the wounds of their hearts so that the abuse they suffered does not drive them away or hinder them from knowing the deep, deep love of God, our Heavenly Father.
“Let the children come to me”
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t keep them away. The kingdom of heaven belongs to people like them,” (Mt. 19:14). In subtle ways, we adults can sometimes be like the disciples who wanted to shoo children away instead of welcoming them to join with us. We are all God’s kids! No matter how young or old we are, our Heavenly Father delights in us, relishes it when we enjoy being with him and touches our hearts to pray his heart for the nations.
This month our prayer focus is children. What children learn and experience during their early years follows them throughout their life. Spiritual foundations laid during childhood that will affect how they will view the world as adults. According to Compassion International, 70% of all decisions to follow Jesus happen during the ages of 4 to 14. This is also when emotional impressions of the church are formed, and like in the parable of the lost sons, wayward children often remember a song, person or verse that helps them turn to the Father.
Children at this age have tender hearts open to hearing the Lord speak, and when encouraged, they may be more willing or committed to take action than the adults around them. Think of Samuel or David or the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus. Children risk because they believe the ones who love them will help them. Our Lord is the God of the impossible who calls children today. Their hearts are near to his and they can hear his Holy Spirit. When one little girl told her teacher she was so sad for the people in Japan because they did not know Jesus loved them and could not give God glory, the whole class felt an urgency to pray for God to do something. So they kept praying—before snacks and lunch at school and again before supper and at bedtime. They had faith in the faithfulness of God.
Today Japan is still a country where only 2% of its people follow Jesus, but someday the light of his love will break through and many Japanese will join people from every nation singing and praising the Lord into eternity.
So, over the next four weeks we have an opportunity to look afresh at children. Let the Holy Spirit teach us to welcome them, to learn from them and to engage with them in worship and prayer—all for the glory of God.