Sunday, April 6, 2014

Beware the "Wide Road Approach" to Prayer in Children's Ministry

When it comes to our children’s ministries, we all know we need to pray, but there is “wide road approach” which leads to a shallow walk and a “narrow road approach” which leads us to a deeper walk with God. Today I’ll look at the wide road approach and “post” a couple “warning signs” for us to consider and then tomorrow I’ll look at the narrow road approach and post a few “mile marker” signs for us to consider.
  • Too often when we pray, we take the “wide road approach”. We may find ourselves on this road when we pray because we “have” to . . . after all; praying is what “church people” "do". This kind of prayer does not communicate a joy over being able to talk with God. It does not leave others wanting to know how they can talk with God. You may find yourself on this road if you miss the “warning sign” of saying things to the children in your ministry like, “It’s time to pray” or “We have to pray before ________”.
  • The “wide road approach” is also one where our prayers are “canned” prayers . . . “Thank You God for our day, thank You for our families” etc. These prayers lack any depth and tend to be “generic” rather than specific. You may find yourself on this road if you miss the “warning sign” of praying without really thinking about what you are praying. Your mind could even be on what you are going to do next instead of being focused on the amazing gift of being able to talk with God.
  • The final “wide road approach” I’m going to mention today is one where our prayers are those which are focused on us . . . asking for forgiveness or asking for things. Don’t get me wrong, one of the amazing things about prayer is we can ask God for forgiveness . . . it is even more amazing how He so graciously forgives us! God also does want us to bring our requests to Him, but when our prayers are always, or even nearly always, focused on us, then we are on the “wide road” and have missed the “warning sign” of using the words “I” and “me” too much in our prayers.
It matters what “approach” we take when we pray because if we find ourselves taking the “wide road approach” to our own prayers, it will be impossible for us to help the children in our ministries learn how they can know and walk with God by spending time talking with Him themselves. 
What "warning signs" might you notice in your own life?

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