Pray with dependence on God’s sovereign grace

We can faithfully and zealously embrace a biblical vision for the faith of the next generation, foster a robust partnership between church and home, teach the whole counsel of God, proclaim the glorious gospel of Jesus, and disciple mind, heart, and will and yet fail to see the spiritual transformation we long for in our children. What’s missing? What more must we do?

Pray with dependence on God's sovereign grace. 

The salvation of our children is priceless; their spiritual needs far outweigh their physical needs. They need our prayers—our earnest prayers with hearts aflame, both for their initial repentance and coming to Christ by faith, and for their life of ongoing growth in faith. Matthew Henry rightly declared that it is of far more value for parents who die to leave behind a treasury of prayers for their children than it is to leave behind a treasury of silver and gold. (Joel Beeke, “Praying for Our Children’s Salvation,” ligonier.org)

In this 7-part series, we're spotlighting commitments for the discipleship of the next generation with a summary, an excerpt from the book Zealous, examples of applications of the commitment, and recommended resources.

Commitment 6: Pray with dependence on God’s sovereign grace

SUMMARY

This generation of parents, pastors, and teachers cannot escape the responsibility they have for nurturing the faith of the next generation, and there is no way to escape the reality that the children of the next generation will only be saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Saving faith for any child “is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one [no parent, no pastor, no grandparent, no Sunday school teacher] may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). God’s unstoppable purposes for our children and our inescapable responsibility to raise them in the faith come together in prayer.

BOOK EXCERPT: 

Leading children to salvation is only possible with God’s help and the transforming power of His grace (Luke 18:27). The most important thing I can do to provide what I desire for my children is to seek God’s help and plead for His grace to accomplish what I am powerless to do in the heart of my child.

Saving faith for any child “is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one [no parent, no pastor, no grandparent, no Sunday school teacher] may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

That’s why being seriously committed to the discipleship of the next generation means being seriously committed to praying regularly, earnestly, and biblically for the faith of the next generation. 

APPLICATION FOR CHURCH:
  • Listen to the Truth 78 seminar Prayer: Utter Dependence on God in Children’s Ministry.
  • Encourage children’s workers to pray regularly for the children in their classrooms.
  • Encourage nursery workers to pray for each baby each week.
  • Post prayer topics or verses on the walls of your nursery or classrooms and encourage workers to pray weekly for the children.
  • Encourage your Sunday school and midweek teams to pray together before each class.
APPLICATION FOR HOME: 
  • Listen to the Truth 78 seminar Praying Steadfastly: A Call to Parents
  • Decide on a strategy for praying for your children and implement it. 
  • As you read your Bible each day, use the passages you just read as a springboard for praying for your children.
  • Bless your children each night as you put them to bed. 
  • Pray with your children spontaneously—“at all times” not just at meal times and bedtime.
  • Read a book on prayer to inspire or equip you to pray: Radical Prayer by Monty Kline; A Praying Life by Paul Miller; Prayer Pathways by Kathi Lambrides Westlund. 
  • Keep a prayer journal for each of your children.