Delighting in Scripture and Praying in the Spirit - Shaping Ministry Youth, Young Adults and Their F
Two more vision pillars on which we’ll aim to build our church’s ministry to both young people and their parents have to do with the Bible and prayer - delighting in Scripture and Praying in the Spirit:
...Delighting in Scripture: We want to help young people and their parents and the church to develop a heart that delights in Scripture and grows in skill to properly interpret and apply it in their lives.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Ps.1:1-2).
“Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors” (Ps.119:24).
“Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them” (Ps.111:2).
We don’t just hope to see young people and their families reading the Bible. We want them to understand the Bible, to love it, to obey it’s commands, to trust in it’s promises, to be guided by it’s wisdom, and to be able to articulate its message well. This is especially exciting in light of the fact that the Bible is the word of God himself, and that the Scriptures “bear witness about [Jesus]” (Jn.5:39) and have concern for him at their center (Lk.24:27).
We don’t want young people, or their parents, or anyone else reading the Bible simply to check a box to say that they’ve done so, or simply to know what it says. We want to rely on the the Holy Spirit to help us all understand what the Bible means, and to love the God who ordained it, and to gratefully and joyfully live wisely in light of it’s worldview, history, directives, and promises - knowing that ultimately it all points to Jesus, his ministry, and its implications.
Of course, none of this is possible apart from the Spirit’s intercession. So, we also want to see young people and their parents...
...Praying in the Spirit: We want to help young people and their parents and the church to develop a Spirit-empowered, continual, and fervent life of prayer.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt.26:41).
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom.8:26).
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit” (1Th.5:16-18).
In a world full of temptations that seem especially enticing to young people, we will try to consistently direct our families to pray for the Lord’s help to love him and our neighbors, as well as the rewards he promises, more than the fleeting and superficial pleasures of the world. We are willing, but our “flesh is weak.” Help us, Lord! The fleeting pleasures are, after all, pleasures! They taste good and feel good. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be tempting! Jesus himself, however, says to pray“that [we] would not enter into temptation” (Mt.26:41). But prayer isn’t only for fighting our sinful tendencies.
We also want to pray for minds that understand the Scriptures (Ps.119:18, 1Cor.2:11-12), for the gospel to be preached and embraced (2Th.3:1, 1Th.2:13), and for the church to have freedom to be the church in our society (1Tim.2:1-2).
These prayer aims aren’t necessarily unique to the youth, or young adult, or parenting years. But, that’s part of the point. The call to prayer doesn’t discriminate on the basis of age or life-stage! That said, prayer will be important for our young people in particular because of the special goal of the teen (apprentice) years to grow in independence. That healthy independence should be tempered with a dependence on God expressed in prayer. Prayer is not only a means through which God will bless his people, but it’s also a means by which his people are humbled and reminded that we have nothing that we did not receive (1Cor.4:7). The practice of prayer admits that we need help. And admitting that is a big step toward the humility which is essential to the mature Christian life.