Church leaders and parents often mistakenly assume that a child who attends church once a week will automatically develop a lasting faith. But we must provide opportunities for kids to be with Jesus at home and at church. Kids are impacted spiritually when leaders set aside time for them to experience God, touch God, and evaluate His Word in their lives. Kids’ lives are changed when they have time to discover God and learn to hear His voice. Kids leaders and parents are charged with building spiritual foundations strong and deep by introducing kids to an intimate relationship with the Lord.
In David Boyd’s book, Strong Enough to Last: Building Spiritual Depth into Our Kids, he writes, “We must not calculate successful kid’s ministries according to bodies present at church but by the number of kids who remain devoted to God throughout their lives.” Researcher George Barna states, “Less than half of born-again teenagers (44%) said that they are absolutely committed to the Christian faith. When asked to estimate the likelihood that they will continue to participate in church life once they are living on their own, levels dip to about 33%.” Far too many kids in our churches lose out with God as teens due to weak spiritual roots that were not sufficiently developed when they were young. George Barna goes on to say, “A person’s moral foundations are generally in place by the time they reach age 9.”
The Lord spoke to David Boyd, revealing to him eight specific goals of spiritual development. Each of these goals serves as a building block for the spiritual foundation of kids that will remain throughout their lives:
- Powerful in Prayer
- Responsive in Worship
- Biblically Fluent
- Spirit Empowered
- Actively Serving
- Bold in Faith
- Giving Selflessly
- Living Like Christ
In this article, we will focus on the first of the eight goals: Powerful in Prayer. Prayer is multifaceted and powerful. Kids need to learn the many avenues of prayer, including prayer for help, strength, courage, wisdom, healing, comfort, salvation, direction, etc. There are several lessons that kids learn when they pray and God miraculously answers:
- God hears them when they pray because He answered their prayer.
- God is alive.
- God cares about them because He was willing to answer their prayer.
- God is powerful because He was mighty enough to answer their prayer in a supernatural way.
We teach prayer by example, by experience, and by testimony. Discovering God, experiencing Him, and recognizing His voice becomes the foundation of a lifelong relationship with God. Give prayer time a prominent spot in your weekly meetings. The more kids participate in prayer, the more natural it will be for them to pray. Our job is to teach kids to pray…God’s job is to answer their prayers and show them who He is – a faithful, powerful, and loving father, friend, and Lord.
A vital goal for all who work in kids’ ministry must be to teach kids to pray, to help them establish a close connection with God, who hears, cares, and answers. The goal for kids to be powerful in prayer is a first and strategic step in developing kids who will be strong enough to stand firm in Christ no matter what challenges come into their lives.