I’ve been on a personal journey of discovering the incredible power of prayer. For most of my life though, prayer seemed ridiculously boring, powerless and mundane. I grew up in the church; the son of a missionaries. Prayer meetings were by far the most boring thing I ever endured. By the time I was a teenager, I had logged hundreds and hundreds of hours in prayer meetings. Mind you, it was hundreds of hours of fidgeting, dozing, staring at the ceiling and poking my sister for entertainment while the adults droned on and on. Many prayers were earnest and I could tell these people were touching God. Most prayers though, were fluffy, long winded and full of big words. Prayer meetings were absolutely mind-numbing.
The reason I’m pondering this, is because I don’t want my children to grow up with the same distaste for prayer. I want to empower them with it early on.
As I look back, I think it would have helped to have a true spirit-filled prayer warrior take us youngsters under his/her wing and teach us to pray with faith and power that shakes hell. It would have been amazing to pray with other earnest young people and experience specific answers to prayer together. Children have great faith and this is an enormously powerful weapon that the church has not tapped.
During my time in rural West Africa, I observed 4-5 year olds driving large herds of cattle with their older brothers. I observed girls of the same age bring water home from the wells. Even the youngest kids were proud to bring solid contributions to their families. If they got sick, or could not perform their responsibilities the whole family felt their absence.
All this even filtered down to our candle-lit evening prayer meetings in the villages. Children prayed without hesitation alongside adults. The leader would assign prayer requests to adults and children alike. An adult’s prayer request would be given to a child and a child’s prayer request would be given to an adult to pray. It was beautiful!
Kids take pride in being needed, it helps them grow up with confidence. Giving kids responsibility is one of the lost things in our society. We have stripped children of it in the North American church. They bring indispensable contributions to the family and church. Sitting in chairs, learning to be quiet and respectful are important skills, but we have unconsciously taught them to stay “spiritual consumers” within the church without really contributing or being expected to contribute. The extent of their involvement is usually at Christmas and Easter when they get up and reluctantly entertain the church with a song or two. Hmm..I wonder why its hard to engage them when they’re older?
Imagine, though for a moment, if the mighty faith of children were employed to actually pray a sinner through to conversion? Imagine what that would do for their faith? Imagine what that would do for the church? The power of their faith is untapped and indispensable.
I’ve read of children in China, praying over the sick and seeing miraculous and instantaneous healing. –The Heavenly Man- by Brother Yun
Previous to the 1970 revival in Saskatoon, Bill Mcleod organized children’s prayer meetings to run concurrently with the adult prayer meeting. He didn’t just send the kids downstairs for another lesson or to be entertained. Adults supervised and coached them how to pray with power and the kids would lead their own prayer meetings. They learned the power of prayer and confidence.
The great Moravian revival that sparked the first modern missionary movement was hugely influenced by the prayer of children and a 24/7 prayer meeting that never ceased for over 100 years began: Here is a quote from Tony Cauchi’s article on the Moravian revival on Revival-Library.org.
“A few days after the 13th of August, a remarkable revival took place among the children at Herrnhut and Bertholdsdorf. On the 18th of August, all the children at the boarding school were seized with an extraordinary impulse of the Spirit, and spent the whole night in prayer. From this time, a constant work of God was going on in the minds of the children, in both places. No words can express the powerful operation of the Holy Spirit upon these children, whose lives were so transformed.
On the 25th of August the brethren began the ministry of 24 hour-a-day prayer which continued for over a hundred years. They considered that, as in the ancient Temple the fire on the altar never ceased to burn, so in the Church, which is now the Temple of God, the prayers of the saints ought always to ascend to the Lord.”
Jesus wasn’t kidding that “the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Lets stop sidelining our kids, especially when it comes to prayer. The next revival may swing on their mighty prayers of faith.