How to Not Die
Last year, while I was in the middle east, a lady from Iraq came and spoke with me. We have helped our children to learn how to pray, and many of them are becoming intercessors. Now we want to help them to evangelize. I have one question for you: How can we help our children to evangelize without being killed?
This is not a problem that we often face in the West, indeed it was humbling to learn so much from her zeal and focus for the kingdom. Yet even as she spoke the Holy Spirit whispered the answer: We must teach our children to be Spirit-led.
Many of us have shown our children how to lay hands on the sick. We may even have taught them and prayed for them so that they can hear the Holy Spirit speaking to them. But in both these cases, although the children have connected to the Holy Spirit, they have not been led by the Spirit. Instead they have chosen to listen and to pray in response to our instructions. These are great first steps in their journey with God, but now it is time for a Spirit-led generation to emerge.
What would it look like?
A Spirit-led generation obey God’s leading and hold to God’s principles no matter where they are. Imagine a generation ready to obey God any moment of the day, even if it meant changing their plans (Acts 16:6-7).
One day, John was stood waiting for a London underground train to arrive at Earls Court tube station. As he waited for the train, he heard the Holy Spirit speak to him and instruct him to go to a different platform. His train was still quite a few minutes off, but it was a good five-minute walk within the station to get to the other platform.
John obeyed and, as he stepped onto the other platform, he saw a girl from his school that he had been praying for over the past few weeks. They got chatting and he had just enough time to lead her to Jesus before her train arrived. Sprinting back to his platform, he arrived just in time to step onto his own train. His act of obedience – and indeed the immediacy with which he acted – resulted in one more soul being added to the kingdom.” Excerpt taken from p89, The Josiah Generation, by Olly Goldenberg.
What can we do to help our children become Spirit-led?
Here are three simple things we can do to help our children:
1. Encourage them in their daily personal walk with God.
We can encourage the children to spend as many minutes a day in prayer as they are years old. Of course this is not the end point of discipleship, but we have found that this is an achievable first step for children as they establish a habit of prayer and reading the Bible. Many children who get into the rhythm of this, find themselves spending much longer times with the Lord. If your children are not sure where to start then why not get hold of a copy of our resource The Spy Kit, which has been created to help start children’s quiet times with the Lord. Jesus took time out to pray (Luke 5:16) and we need to help our children to do the same.
When we meet with the children we can ask them how their times with God have been this week. How many days did they manage to pray for as many minutes as they are years old? Was there anything that stopped them from doing that? Do they need any help? As we talk through these issues we are helping them to build a stable relationship with the Lord that will put them in a place where they can be sensitized to the leading of the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 shows us that when we choose to let the Holy Spirit lead us, it changes everything.
2. Help them to learn to recognize God’s voice.
Take time each week to give our children an opportunity to hear God speaking to them. If they are following God they will be able to hear His voice (John 10:27), though God may speak to them in a different way than He does to others. As they learn to hear God speaking to them at home and in their church they will be more likely to recognize when God is speaking to them at school or in the park.
My father was born in the Sudan and has a very different accent to my British one! If he were to call you up, you would probably not recognize his voice the first time he spoke to you. If, however, he called you every day for a month, not only may you consider taking out a restraining order against him, but you would learn to recognize his voice. The more we stop to listen to God the more we learn to recognize His still small voice (1 Kings 19:12) and know that it truly is His Spirit leading us.
3. Share testimonies of God at working through each other.
As we hear stories of how God has used others during the week, it encourages us to expect God to do the same through us. Testimonies are powerful – give space for the children to share what God has done for them and keep a record so you can look back and remember. Revelation 19:10.
The Israelites were often encouraged to speak of and remember what God had done for them (Exodus 12:14).
Of course it is still a choice that our children have to make. They have to choose to be led by the Spirit and therein lies the heart of discipleship: are we prepared to take up our cross daily (Matthew 8:34), become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1) and truly give our all to God?
Let's allow God to work through us and help raise His army.