Author: Sara Burns
I have discovered a new source of personal revival. It’s in my kids’ room at night when we are putting them to sleep. Many nights I throw them in their pajamas, hug them, kiss them, and hightail it out to enjoy the first few minutes of peace and quiet of the day. But on the nights that I pause and spend time praying with them, Jesus meets us. I have realized a powerful secret through these times. Holy Spirit has things to tell me through their voices. This is for you too. Holy Spirit has things for us to discover that will be found as our kids’ spirits unite with their Father. The kids in our body. If the body of Christ is made of many parts and each one is essential, then we can’t afford to set aside our children as inconsequential members. There is more in their prayers than cute voices (and they are cute) and endearing naivete.
You may have heard, but it merits being repeated: there is no junior Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that moves in us and changes us and releases miracles and comforts and counsels, does the same in our children, in the same measure. We as parents and church family members have the duty and privilege to not only walk them into greater intimacy and communion with their God, but experience what God has to speak to us through them.
What if they pitch fits, stick out their tongues at their brothers, and disobey their mommies? Are they disqualified from listening to the voice of God? I’m going to pause and let you think about that one. I’m just going to wait and let you think about it…
Ok, now that you’ve pondered, what did you come up with? Whatever your decision, make sure you apply the same principle to your own life now. If you said yes, then that means next time you honk your horn in anger, send a spiteful text, or jaywalk (law-breaker!), you are disqualified from hearing God. But that isn’t walking in the grace and forgiveness Jesus purchased for you! He died for you to have a close relationship with God despite your sinfulness. If you said no, then the next time you misbehave, make sure you are also not disqualifying yourself from directly seeking His forgiveness and staying close to Him.
That said, the wonderful thing is our kids have built in safeguards just in the fact that they are kids! We adults who finally start trying to live the normal supernatural lifestyle have to make some pretty silly and embarrassing mistakes...and we don’t have the excuse of being kids. Just think, kids can take risks for Jesus and in most people’s eyes it is totally forgiveable. Because they’re cuter than you and me.
Not only do they have the cuteness factor as a protective perk in their first faultering steps in the Spirit, but they also have adults (parents, Sunday School teachers, and others) who can mentor them in their spiritual growth. We all have a mandate to raise the upcoming generation to walk closely to God. There are two parts to this job. We challenge them to take fun risks of faith, and we mentor them in knowing God.
What does this look like? This looks like leading by example in stepping out in faith: praying for the sick man at Safeway and bringing them along; prophesying goodness over their lives and encouraging them to do so in their sibling’s and friend’s lives. This looks like encouraging them to receive the Holy Spirit and then listen to His voice. (It’s not rocket science, folks. These are the basics.) It looks like helping them distinguish what’s God’s voice and what’s their own imagination; walking them through the Bible and teaching them what it says and how God thinks and feels about things. It looks like being an understanding ear to their struggles and feelings and giving wise, compassionate counsel. Don’t we want all the same in our walks? We want coaches who push us forward! Wouldn’t it be cool if we each had “parents” to whom we could bring everything we think God says and have them help us understand it? Our own personal spiritual mentor available 24/7! We need to help our kids take full advantage of this time of life.
The result is we will see kids who are walking in the strength of the Lord into adulthood. They will be taking up their own callings at earlier and earlier ages and living fully in the awareness of a God who loves them personally and uniquely. They won’t need to question, “Is God really real?” when they hit their teenage years. They will know Him personally and will have tested their faith already.
Isaiah 54:13 says:
All your children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be the peace of your children.
God desires relationship with His children of all ages and He earnestly desires fellowship with them. He wants to bring them wholeness. It is our jobs as parents and adults of the church to present a feast of the Lord’s presence before our kids. We need to let them taste and see that the Lord is good. He is ready to show them.
There is Kingdom ground waiting to be taken by children. There are nations whose false gods will crumble at the prayers of our kids. There is a great catch of fish that children will pull in for God’s great name. We cannot underestimate the power God wants to display in the humble form of children. His power is made great in their weakness. He has ordained praise from infants, not because it’s cute. It will humble the mighty and put the great of the world to shame. Children are one of God’s mighty hidden weapons.