Some years ago, scholar Forest Witcraft wrote a special poem called “Within My Power” that most people hear at major milestone events such as graduations or retirements. It is a lengthy poem, but the general message is captured in this excerpt:
“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what was in my bank account, the sort of house I lived in, the kind of car I drove, nor what my clothes looked like…but the world may be a different place because I was important in the life of a child.”
Whether you’re a parent, spiritual parent, aunt, uncle, or significant figure in the life of a young person, you have a responsibility to take your part in shaping the next generation for Christ. As a parent of three children, I wake up everyday with a goal of being consistent in doing something that will help lay the foundation and pave the way for my children’s relationship with Jesus to thrive more and more. The big occurrences rarely produce fruit—it’s more about making your mark on the day to day through focusing on three bottom-line goals.
Pray the Word
I believe there is no form of prayer that makes more of a difference than praying the word does. There is a holy confidence that comes from repeating God’s own word, will, and promises right back to Him in prayer. It confirms our faith in what He said and this faith can make mountains of difference in our young people’s lives, and our own.
Lean on Others
I believe there is a specific reason it is stated in the gospels that where two or three gather in His name, there He is, with them (Matthew 18:20). In praying for our children, it can sometimes seem awfully lonely and futile, like our prayers are just not enough. However, when several parents and parental figures in young people’s lives come together and intercede in faith for one another’s children, something powerful happens. Just like Hur and Aaron held up Moses’ arms when he grew weary in battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12), we need to do the same for one another in this battle to shape our generation.
It is natural to think of big significant gestures or events when considering how you can make a difference in a child’s life, however the truth is that the real difference happens in the consistency of commitment. Think of weight loss—you may not recognize the change taking place because nothing major happens instantly, but rather over time. What this means for us is that we keep investing even when we don’t see the results right away. We continue to pray in faith even when the answers seem nonexistent. We continue to remain present even in the midst of our children’s bad decisions or negative attitudes.
1 Corinthians 13, the famous love chapter of the Bible, says that love always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Whatever your current role is in relation to our next generation, you can be confident the one thing that will never fail is when you always trust, always hope, and always persevere in prayer for our children.
Kelly Lewis is the Associate Director of Children’s Ministries at Christ Church in Rockaway and Montclair, NJ. She is also a wife, mom of three, film actor, writer, and current graduate student of Journalism and Mass Communication at Regent University in her hometown of Virginia Beach, VA.