The cheerful sunflowers and the bounty from harvest bring a gentle reminder that fall is just around the corner! For our family, saying goodbye to hot lazy days in the sun and relaxing weekends at the cabin are hard to let go of, but pumpkin spice lattes and football eagerly beckon us.
As my son and I pulled up to the high school football field last week, we quickly realized that we were arriving at the wrong time on the first day! Dread filled my heart as I quickly scanned for some way to figure out what was happening and how to fix it. With players going in every direction and tons of people gathered on the field already, it was obvious that we missed something. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to these situations, I become a ball of nerves!
Yet as quickly as my heart filled with dread, it instantly changed into respect for my son. Upon realizing what was happening, he took a deep breath and confidently hopped out and said, “Don’t worry mom – I’ve got this. I will figure it out. Love you, bye!” As I pulled out of the lot I remembered that we had taken time on the car ride there to pray together. Knowing that his first day might present unexpected circumstances, we knew how important it would be to ask for the Holy Spirit to guide him and give him wisdom to deal with whatever he would face.
While I drove home, I began to ponder my own memories of facing unexpected circumstances in school, sports and life. Growing up in rural Iowa and Minnesota, my life was not very complicated, yet somehow seemed to have endless possibilities. Life moved slowly in a quiet and predictable rhythm, but everyone was always excited to have kids join sports to fill teams. There was always room for people to join in because there just weren’t that many people!
When I moved to a suburb of the Twin Cities in my later elementary years, I was shocked to find out that the clothes and trends were quite different and that there were too many kids trying out for sports. Life moved swiftly with families going here and there and I was caught off guard with the rapid pace of life, and the cuts made in youth sports at such a young age. Faced with a decision to submit to fear from the uncertainties, I knew even at a young age that I had a choice.
What I remember most about that time in my life was how tough it was for me to find God in the midst of those changes. As I talk with young people today, I see many of them experiencing similar feelings of fear and anxiety related to the things happening in their world too.
Though I knew that God was with me, I initially felt alone as I faced those unexpected circumstances. Thankfully, our family found a great church and I had a few teachers who were believers that noticed my need for encouragement in the midst of the large classrooms of kids. Their intentional love and attentiveness made a big difference to me as a young girl. Growing up with a single mom, the support and encouragement of loving adults in my church family as well as from teachers helped me to grasp the depth of God’s love in a tangible way.
Whether you have kids at home or not, we all have kids in our lives. Each one of them will be facing changes this year as they prepare for school. Have you considered praying for the kids in your extended family? In our church family? Your prayers can truly make a difference in their lives!
We have several teachers and staff in our church family that are prayerfully preparing their hearts to minister to kids as they face these changes. I want to encourage you to take a few moments today to pray for these educators as they consider how to be vessels of the Father’s love in the lives of young people.
Prayer impacts people’s lives in ways that we cannot fathom or comprehend! As we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit and pray as He leads us, we will join an adventure that is unpredictable and amazing!
In my first year of college, I had a resident advisor that prayed faithfully for me at a time when I was walking away from the Lord. Her prayers for my life had great significance as I learned to trust the Lord in new ways. I lost touch with this woman whose prayers impacted me greatly, but got to thank her fifteen years later.
Have you ever had the feeling that someone is praying for you? I had that feeling my freshman year of college. My heart began to transform in new ways and deep inside I knew that it was somehow the result of someone (likely several people) praying faithfully for me to repent and turn to the Lord completely. As my heart began to soften and I experienced conviction of my sin, I learned to trust Him and began to find courage to make hard choices and strength to resist temptation in the place of prayer and purpose that I didn’t have before.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
Let’s not lose heart in our efforts to encourage and pray! As we consider students, teachers, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders and pastors, let’s remember how they are facing typical pressures of starting a new school year. Let’s also remember that they are facing unpredictable situations and fears that previous generations have never faced.
The opportunity before us to trust in God as we face the uncertainties of life today is one that can have eternal significance in people’s lives. The world around us is scared and filled with fear. Yet the light of Christ and the promise of His return gives us hope that we can hold onto in the midst of the storms.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:11-13
Let’s pray for each other and for the young people in our lives that they will cling to the anchor of Christ these days and that we will do our part to encourage, listen and care for young people.
If you would like to know more about how you can impact young people’s lives in our church family, feel free to email: email@example.com to find out more. Whether you feel led to pray, volunteer sporadically or on a more regular basis, we have tons of opportunities to serve newborns to young adults in a variety of ways.