This blog idea came to me yesterday afternoon, flowing from a very high-speed discussion with someone after our 9am worship service yesterday. I has unpacked Mark 10:46-52, and considered the sight that was restored to Bartimaeus – both physically and spiritually. I tried to make appropriate application – to both the believer and the unbeliever… themes of worship, blindness, grace, mercy, faith, commitment and obedience and submission! It was there in general terms.
Then a great question came from a concerned parent: “How do I pray for my unsaved children in light of that, because they still spiritually blind? In fact, how do we pray for our church kids and teens as many are spiritually blind?”
I was in between a service and another class that I needed to teach. Great question. Left field. Heart of concern from a parent. Hmmmmmm… Well, I threw out a few things in about 13 ½ seconds, but didn’t get a chance to give much more. The realisation dawned that, as preachers, we can’t always poke and prod into every possible area of application, but that questions do get raised.
So then, what I thought I might start doing, is a follow-up blog from time to time, picking up on some of those loose ends, and trying to drive application a bit more.
This comes as a first “trial” attempt!
How then do we pray for our own children, and church children, who are spiritually blind to the truth, hard to God and seemingly resistant to the gospel?
Here are some general pointers, but not exhaustive, to use in intercessory prayer for our children:
- Realise that they have sinful hearts, and pray that they would come to know their own need before God. Pray that there self-delusion is confronted. Pray that those who think they’re saved by virtue of coming to church and acting “Christian” would be convicted of sin.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV)
- Pray for divine heart surgery to occur, and God’s Spirit to come and bring life whwere there is death.
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:26–27, ESV)
- Pray for the re-birth to happen, for regeneration of heart, which is God’s work alone!
“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5, ESV)
- Pray that true Spirit-achieved faith happens in a life of a child or a teen. Pray that you yourself do not resort to clever arguments to win a point, but fail to argue a child into the Kingdom.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” (1 Corinthians 2:1–4, ESV)
- Pray that Satan’s veil would be removed that blinds to the truth, and that the Holy Spirit would indeed cause light to shine in the darkness.
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:3–6, ESV)
- Pray your increased opportunities for spiritually shaped discussion with your own children, teens and student, and more for that within church life.
“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ…” (Colossians 4:3, ESV)
- Pray for great patience and godly parenting within our own homes, to keep exposing kids to the truth, and to keep shepherding them in ways consistent with the gospel.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4, ESV)
- Keep praying!!!! Be persistent in prayer. Right back in the 3rd century a young man called Augustine went off the rails, and his mother – Monica – kept praying for him. Years later, in a dramatic conversion in Italy, Augustine came to faith, and became one of the greatest writers and theologians of the early church.
“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1, ESV)
Let’s appeal by faith to God’s mercy and grace for the necessary interventions in the lives of our children and teens – at home and at church!
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