Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3a). . .
There is something that innately draws us to children. Certainly, some of us feel this more acutely than others, and still, even the most hardened soul can often be softened by the smile of a young child.
Children are meant to be protected, valued, cared for, and loved. They are to be guided in the basic understandings of life and especially in the spiritual aspects. This isn’t just a task that has been given to parents; it is a responsibility for all of us.
Regarding raising children, we’ve all heard it said, “it takes a village,” you may have a positive or negative response to that statement, but the reality is that the formation of children is not meant to be done by two parents alone. Yet, I wonder if we’ve ever considered what that really means in practice. What does this village, or rather, community of influential people, look like? Who makes up the community? How does the community work together?
I suggest that this community looks quite different from what we initially visualized. It doesn’t have territorial boundaries. It is made up of people of different nationalities, backgrounds, and ages. Apart from the primary caregivers, there’s no official “assignment” or “duty.” Instead, care and formation are done by those who take the initiative in the child’s life and in the family. The tasks to be accomplished don’t always occur in person; in fact, members of this community may never even meet the child face-to-face.
Let that sink in for a moment. You can profoundly impact a child’s life without ever being in the same physical space as them. You can care for a child without ever tending to a wound or warming them with an embrace. You can affect their spiritual growth without ever teaching them a lesson. When we faithfully and consistently pray for children, we are, in fact, becoming part of their formational community. We may not see the fruit of these prayers nor receive recognition for them, yet we can be confident the Lord hears and acts according to His will when we pray.
As someone who unexpectedly met Jesus as a child, was the first believer in her family and lived through adversity and difficulty throughout her childhood, I am profoundly aware that there have been and continue to be people praying for me. I’m incredibly grateful to them; in the same way, I am thankful to those who were physically present during my journey.
In no way is this an attempt to downplay the importance of in-person interaction with children in your circle of influence. You do not need to be a Sunday school teacher, grandparent, doctor, etc., to have a positive impact.
- Look for ways to be involved in the lives of children around you.
- Care for, love, protect and teach these precious gifts as you are able!
In fact, I would guess that you are a part of these formational communities in more ways than you recognize. When we really stop to consider this, we can see that we are connected to children through family, through church communities, in our neighborhoods, in our work, and the list goes on. Take advantage of the opportunities you have to pray specifically for those children!
This month WorldVenture’s Child Safety Team invites you to focus your prayers on children around the world. Every day we will post a prayer prompt to help direct your prayer time for children. May this be just the beginning of a long-term commitment to praying for children in the days and years to come.