February 19, 2010
"The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." James 5:16b (NLT)
Research shows that our children are wandering from the faith. "Why?" we ask. The answer is not simple. Even the experts realize the reason our children wander from the faith is multifaceted.
The truth is our children are straying from Christianity rapidly as soon as they move into their twenties. According to a recent George Barna study, "In total, six out of ten twentysomethings were involved in a church during their teen years, but have failed to translate that into active spirituality during their early adulthood." Again, there is no concrete answer to the questions of why our children wander.
But I know this statistic holds true in my own life. I became a Christian at the age of 15. I was on fire for Jesus. I loved Him from the depths of my soul—with all my heart, mind and strength. But then in my mid-twenties I walked away from my faith. Why?
For me, it was because I could not understand pain and suffering. If God was good, how could He allow all this junk in my life? I remember going to my pastor's wife for help with this question. However, I felt she criticized me for my lack of faith rather than help me comprehend God's ways. So I didn't return to her for counseling; instead I turned to my friends who seemed to understand my confusion. Sadly, they weren't walking strong in their own faith and inadvertently led me further away from God.
For seven years I walked in a desert of destructive sin.
Finally, after years of frustrated living, Jesus drew me back to Him. It wasn't a big church event. It wasn't a friend who witnessed to me about my sins. It was the Spirit of God who nudged me back to being a devoted follower of Christ. It wasn't mystical. It was not full of fireworks—it occurred in a Volkswagen Jetta in the parking lot of Knott's Berry Farm. It was just Jesus reconnecting with His lost lamb because of the prayers my mother prayed for me.
I do believe wholeheartedly that my mother's prayers were answered. Her prayers never wavered. Her love never failed. She persevered when the future looked bleak for her eldest child's faith walk. Never underestimate the power of a parent's prayer. Our key verse declares, "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." If you are a parent of a wandering child, hold fast to this verse in your mind and pray for your child.
God hears. He answers. I know this to be true because I was child who wandered, but was brought back by the fervent prayers of a praying parent and the loving hand of God.
Dear Lord, give me the strength and faith to keep praying for my child. Help me understand, though it might take years, You are a God who hears and answers the prayers of a praying parent. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Raising a Spiritually Strong Daughter: Guiding Her Toward a Faith That Lasts by Susie Shellenberger
Find more encouragement with Spiritual Warfare and Praying for Our Kids
Determine to pray for your child at least one minute every day. Ask God to touch your wandering child's heart. Determine not to give into despair and doubt. At the close of your prayer recite today's key verse.
Do I blame myself for my child's wandering?
Have I given up on the effort of praying for my child?
1 Timothy 1:16, "But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life." (NIV)
Luke 15:4-6, "What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?" When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'" (NASB)
Luke 15:20, "So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." (NIV)
© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 19 February 2010.