Posted by: Ed | June 25, 2008

A PRAYER I’VE NEVER PRAYED… I THINK!

My friend Mark Arant had a post on his blog entitled “Life” (nice & specific). I would encourage you to check it out [http://www.metropuritan.blogspot.com/]

This statement has been rumbling around in my noggin:
People talk so much about how many teenagers walk away from their faith their freshman year of college (common estimates are around 80% who stop going to church after high school). But as a college pastor, the greater concern for me is college students who lose their faith after leaving college. Don’t get me wrong, they might still attend church and be nice people raising nice kids. But they have lost all risk to their faith. Their passion for Jesus is cold. The local church is not central to their affections. They don’t think about living strategically, giving sacrificially, and investing their talents wisely. They aren’t praying for revival in their neighborhoods, workplaces, families, churches… that was for a phase back in college. The dream of being a success quickly replaces the passion to be a blessing.

With that as a background, in my time with the Lord this morning. I wrote this in my journal from my daily reading which happened to be in 2 Kings today.

2 Kings 21:3 For he (Manasseh) rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed. How sad that one’s children could undo what you did for a life time. I pray, Lord for my kids. That they would serve You & be impact players involved in moving the Kingdom ball forward.
I pray that my offspring for hundreds of generations would “walk b/f You in truth w/ a whole heart” (2 Kings 20:3) I pray that they would be impact players in Your kingdom. I pray that each generation would be involved in reaching the lost, building up the body, caring for the poor, advocating justice. Deliver them from the malaise that I have seen come over those with a wonderful heritage. I echo Your prayer Jesus: I do not pray that You would take them out of the world but that You would deliver them from the evil one. All Glory to Him Who is Faithful! Amen
.

I am a 1st generation Christ-follower. I didn’t grow up in church. It never occurred to me to go to church because that’s just what you do. Honestly, the hardest part of becoming a follower of Jesus was the idea that I knew I’d be going to church. Thankfully, I was mostly wrong. I found in every flawed church that I’ve been a part of, something like true community.

Additionally, I’ve spent 20 years as a pastor to students, a youth pastor or whatever you want to call it. This gave me a close up look at kids who “grow up in the church”. I often felt like an anthropologist learning another culture (or like Jane Goodall living among the apes). For the most part, I wasn’t terribly impressed. But I have seen some AWESOME (word used intentionally) exceptions.

I think these two factors in my own background have always caused my eyes to kind of gloss over when people started talking about “godly heritage” and the like.

But this morning, I’m minding my own business & the Lord stops me on this passage. I was strongly led to pray this prayer over my own life & family. I also felt led to share it here.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Great entry! That is a great passage. As I serve God in Sudan this speaks volumes to the people here, especially the part about Jesus delivering them from the evil one. Satan is so active and has such a hold on the people here. Thanks for the entry and new way to pray. ~Andres, Serving Christ in Southern Sudan

  2. Thoughtful post. I myself post-college have found it is often the “church” that chases me away at times. I think that many post-college 20/30’s are sick of what is being dished out in terms of modern christianity and for this reason some have left the game. I have many friends, some who have even attended seminaries post-graduate, that are now agnostics or atheists. I’ve met people who are graduates from Christian universities that are now buddhist or more often, just surviving as a “christian.” That’s my little thoughts regarding this situation as a post-college person myself.

  3. Thank you for posting that! And the responses too! I love open and honest dialogue about our faith and the condition of Churches we love/serve in.

    This gives us (intercessors) some insight to be more effectual in our prayers for our children and those who have served, loved and left the Church.

  4. Ed, we’ve said it to you before, but this is why we’ll keep saying it again and again, YOU ARE BLESSED beyond the norm for pastors we know.

    5 generations ago, our family was converted to Christ in Scotland by the Methodist Revival, only one in our family (all 5 generations) has walked away from the Faith – we (I) too easily forget how easy it is for folks to fall into the world’s faith or a passionless faith.

    Your words are a strong reminder of the call each of us has, not only to the unchurched-never known Jesus, but to help encourage all who’ve accepted the call to fan into flame the gifts given them.

  5. Ed, we’ve said it to you before, but this is why we’ll keep saying it again and again, YOU ARE BLESSED beyond the norm for pastors we know.

    5 generations ago, our family was converted to Christ in Scotland by the Methodist Revival, only one in our family (all 5 generations) has walked away from the Faith – we (I) too easily forget how easy it is for folks to fall into the world’s faith or a passionless faith.

    Your words are a strong reminder of the call each of us has, not only to the unchurched-never known Jesus, but to help encourage all who’ve accepted the call to fan into flame the gifts given them.

  6. Sovereignty is a funny thing, eh? Combine it with an identity shift, and many people who are tying to find their way end up down roads that deadend.

    What I see in Mark Arant’s post is a concern about the behaviors of people who have not fully claimed their life in Christ. A person’s “identity” as a child in H.S. who goes the way of least resistance (obeying M&D, attending youth ministry with friends), shows the behavior that parents can hang their hat on, but is it a sovereign choice to give one’s life to Christ? Once they get to college, or for others it is when they leave the institution of college and its social structures, they begin to more strongly question their previous beliefs and seek an identity that gives them what they want.

    Mark Arant blames the pursuit of success, but it seems to me a lack of teaching that Christ is the most dependable guide through life changes and identity changes has left them with no faith of consequence.

    I applaud you Ed, for sharing the heart of a parent, and seeking from God the glory your children may have in Him (as I understood your prayer). And, in our roles as Christ followers, are we not given a heart of Christ that loves all? So, what can the church do to truly teach a deeper reliance on Christ – to all who are open to it – so the children of God can remain WITH, and IN, Him, instead of wandering away?

  7. Ed, I used your prayer for each of my kids- Ava, Cameron, Beck and Makai. We can’t parent regeneration and passion for Jesus. God help them.

    Thanks for your blog that becomes a crazy 21st century means of discipleship for me and others.

    Bless you my friend.

  8. Eddie,

    Thanks for your thoughts and your prayer in this blog. Oh, how I can so relate to those concepts, and now with 7 children of my own (I have the Brady Bunch Thing goin’ minus Alice the housekeeper), where each child is in their own journey. And each of those kids are taking different journeys; some good and purposeful, some indifferent and some through a more painful trek away from truth. I have thought about what I have done, didn’t do, could have done….Yada yada (I think a normal process for most parents). And it all comes down to Trusting, with a capital T. I shared with my “esposa” that particular blog….and that prayer will be a prayer of ours together….. We have, since yesteday, shared your prayer and thoughts with others. Mucho appreciation (I have now used up my entire spanish vocabulary in this Paragraph!) for your blog, the thoughts and emotions it provokes, and the impact that it makes……and for an old friendship…….

    a shadow from your past…… blano

  9. I give my stepdaughter a reading from the bible every day. I put it on a sticky note and put it smack dab in the middle of her bathroom mirror. I am blest that she goes to bible study via a youth group out here.

    Thanks for your smarts and sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: