A Moment of Reflection:
As I walk through the hallways of a local high school, my heart breaks as I listen to the conversations that are taking place among young people. These discussions involve profanity, gender identity, inappropriate comments directed towards the opposite sex, and disrespect of authority. I could continue on with the list, but you get the picture. Students are no longer participating in innocent conversations about what they’re going to wear to school tomorrow or their plans for the weekend. One could argue that these students are making flippant remarks and we should not be worried. On the contrary, their words matter as they are discussing individuals who are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Furthermore, we are going to be held accountable for every word that we have spoken as stated in Matthew 12:36 (ESV)
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak…”
In this passage, Jesus is sharing that God’s chosen people will be known by their fruit: actions, thoughts, and words. Therefore, young people should be concerned about the “careless” words that they are speaking to each other as should we. Each one of us will stand before the Creator of the Universe and testify whether our words were life-giving or sought to destroy others. Additionally, our words are an outflowing of what is in our hearts…
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:33-34 (ESV)
These conversations that I have heard amongst young people is not solely an issue due to the rise of indoctrination within our public school system nor the lack of paternal involvement (although, those are concerning). Rather, this is a far greater issue: the condition of their heart. There is a real battle going on for the hearts, minds, and souls of every person in this world. And the enemy is clever. He is constantly looking for the most vulnerable among us. Unfortunately, in most cases, the ones who are the easiest to attack are children. They are so easily swanned and moldable; thus, we must pray. There is hope as declared in John 10:10 (ESV):
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus Christ came to provide life. He did so by becoming fully man while remaining fully God to pay a debt we could never repay. He conquered and defeated death so that we might have life and have it abundantly. Whether the enemy has sought after and overtaken you, there is no depth nor height that is too far outside of Jesus’ reach. Therefore, we must pray with all boldness and confidence that the Lord will redeem these young adults for the sake of His glory.
Here are Three Ways to Pray for Students:
1. Pray for the Truth to be spoken into their lives. In this world, people are constantly throwing at us their own perspectives, opinions, and criticism. Nonetheless, these ideas are not always rooted upon the real Truth: The Gospel of Christ. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy declared in Isaiah 42:6-7 (ESV),
“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”
Ask that the Lord open their blinded eyes and reveal to them their desperate state that He may be magnified in their lives.
2. Pray that they would love God. Ask the Lord to provide these individuals the strength to resist the temptations of this world and solely focus on God. Pray that they would live out Matthew 22:37-38 (NASB)
“And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.”
The greatest and foremost commandment for all of us is to love and treasure the God who created each one of us. When we value Him entirely in our hearts, then it flows out in our thoughts and actions. With this love and adoration for God, the young adults will be able to love those around them, in particular their lost classmates.
3. Pray that they would pursue a life of holiness.
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given [to] us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…” 2 Timothy 1:9 NASB
God has called us out of darkness not to live a life that reflects our bondage to sin; instead, He wants us to pursue a life set apart for His work. Pray that these young adults would pursue such a life through prayer and mediating upon His Word. The only way they can become more like Him is through knowing Him on a deeper and personal level.
One Final Note
Additionally, if you are a parent or actively involved in the life of a young person, stay engaged with them. There will be hard days when their attitude and disrespect is overwhelming, but they need you. In the moment, they may not seem willing to listen but every ounce of encouragement and wisdom matters. Looking back, I would not be the woman I am today without parents who continued to challenge, love, and correct me even when I was not honoring them.