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Listen while you read: "Rejoice And Be Glad"1 (Lyrics)
Nothing warms my heart more than watching our youth pastor gathering his flock at the front of our church for story time and prayer. The platform comes to life with the flutter of waving hands signalling their parents until they have made eye contact. Then, for the next fifteen minutes, those same parents pray fervently that the good Lord will filter whatever passes through their children's lips!
The Good Shepherd gathering His children for prayers is a tradition that began with Christ.
Matthew 19:13-14 – Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." (ESV)
Children are the most precious resource of the church. They keep it alive and vibrant — all of them contributing their God-given gifts to benefit the entire congregation. Their most endearing attribute is their ability to wear their hearts on their sleeves.
Such was the case one unforgettable Sunday when our pastor asked his growing brood, "Boys and girls, where can we pray?" One by one, little hands raised, replying in bed or at mealtime, and so on. Then, ever so slowly, a pudgy wee hand rose high from the back row, and with a sheepish smile came the answer, "Why, pastor, you can even pray on the toilet!" A hush fell over a stunned congregation as our good-natured leader smiled and agreed, "Yes, Johnny, you are right."
Our Lord wants us to approach Him with the same eagerness, trust, and vulnerability that Johnny exhibited, to pray wearing our hearts on our sleeves, with nothing hidden. Pray whole-heartedly. "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." (Ephesians 6:18a NIV)
The problem that we face in our desire to be vulnerable with God is that if we have had our heart broken in the past, our first reaction might be to build a wall around it. Perhaps we have been deeply disappointed that the Lord did not answer a crucial prayer in the way that we had hoped. Our Lord wants us to have a rich, full relationship with Him, beginning with prayer. Even though we may feel defeated, God is closer than we realize. He is always with us and can heal our hearts. The key to mending our hearts is to give them to the Lord.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, our prayer is that deep inside our hearts and minds, You will work to renew and refresh them every day. Thank You for watching over our precious little ones, and for Your love, faithfulness, and grace. Father, may we never grow too old or too wise in our own eyes to be taught. Amen.
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Thank you, Lois, for this encouraging devotional message. Blessings.
Thanks, Lois, for keeping humour in the devotions. This has been such an enjoyable one with a good lesson too.
Great post, Lois! I am a Sunday School teacher and can find it challenging in these times. You reminded me how important it is to engage our young people in church. Thanks and blessings!
Thanks, Lois. My church is largely composed of senior saints, but we are blessed by a young pastor with two boys. He gives them a talk each Sunday that we enjoy as much, or more, than they do!
I was thinking of the first week of Advent just before I read your devotional. Besides children keeping the church alive and vibrant, they give us HOPE for the future. Thank you for sharing your story of how children are so free to share their thoughts and how it can waken us up. May we learn to give our hurts to God and move forward with open hearts to love all. Blessings. Enjoy the sunshine today.
Thank you for this devotional today. I sure miss seeing the gathering of the youngsters at the front of the church before they were discharged to their Sunday School rooms. Always a delight to see them in worship and hear their very factual response to the leader’s questions.
Yes, our Lord is always ready and listening for our prayers no matter who we are or where we are. For that we need be so thankful.
Blessings for your writings,
Thank you, Lois, for this wonderful devotion.
I am old and retired, but I still teach Sunday School.
Because of this pandemic, our Sunday School runs online on Saturday mornings.
I just finished teaching about who Jesus is, from John 9: 1-42
They are so good I only pray that these stories stick a little to their hearts.
No one has ever mentioned the children of our churches in these devotions before.
So thank you for bringing this up, and may God bless you and keep you at this time.
What a delightful story. Made me smile and I needed to!
Good morning Lois
Good devotional. When I was a little fellow and even somewhat later, I used to think that we could only pray at mealtime or when we went to bed. Later I too discovered that we can pray anytime and where. Thank you for reminding me.
Blessings on your Sunday.
Thank you for the helpful reminder that we can access God in prayer, anywhere. Children are precious and delightful. God is so good to renew us every morning.