Shepherding Covenant Youth Through Prayer

On the second Tuesday of each month, the elders call the church together for the purpose of prayer. It usually lasts no longer than an hour, but occasionally we have those sessions where we linger in prayer. There has not been a month were I have not walked away being refreshed and challenged from our time in prayer.

But, last night we had a first... Five of the thirteen in our gathering were covenant youth younger than 12! Now, you must know something about me: I like things neat and tidy, orderly and controllable. When I heard that children coming, I was confronted with a bit of fear. Will we (adults) be able to focus on prayer or will we have to do a lot of child management? Will children bring down the quality or quantity of our prayers?

Doesn’t that sound silly or demeaning for a pastor to say? After all, these are covenant children. Yes, it is silly and demeaning! And yet, I have said it and I have heard the same sentiments from many parents, “My kids wouldn’t be able to handle it. An hour is just too long for them to sit still” or “That’s expecting a lot from a kid at that age” or “They just aren’t there yet.”

And yet, these are covenant children who are precious to God. In fact, in the PCA’s Directory for the Worship (56-4f) we are reminded in the baptism of our children that,

"The Son of God admitted little children into his presence, embracing and blessing them, saying, For of such is the kingdom of God."

As Christ readily welcomed children into his presence, so the church is to extend the same welcome to our covenant children in our church prayer meetings.

As I have prayed with and for my children (as we vowed to do when they were baptized), they have learned a great deal about prayer. As a parent it is a thrill to hear my children pray. We have seen how they have learned by the pattern of our prayers and the prayers of others.

So, last night ended up being both beautiful and powerful! As we heard simple, heart-felt prayers from people ranging from five year old to forty-eight year, each person’s faith was strengthened through prayer, God’s precious means of grace. It was a thrill to hear our children prayer! As we shepherded our covenant children in having a prayer life, our hearts were shepherded. Praise God for his work through covenant families!

“Lord, may our sons and daughters grow up strong, rooted in the truth, that they may flourish to Thy honor and glory in the church.”