5. A Prayer That Young Believers Will Love the Church as Jesus Does
Statistics now show more than half of teenagers who leave the church today won’t return. Studies also show an increasing number of Christians no longer believe the church is relevant. They don’t believe they need to spend their time Saturday night or Sunday morning listening to a semi-rock concert and then get three spiritual tips on how to get through the week. They may even rationalize they can get that in a podcast on their way to work or watch a service online at their convenience, rather than join one live with other believers. Yet, Scripture exhorts us to not give up meeting together with other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25).
If the next generation of believers doesn’t connect with the body of Christ, how can it learn to serve? First Corinthians 12 tells us every believer has been given one or more spiritual gifts to encourage, edify, and equip the body of Christ. How can those gifts be exercised if one is not among a community of believers? We, as followers of Jesus, were never meant to live in isolation or independent of other believers, thinking we can practice our faith privately and grow on our own. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Where the believers congregate (and where Scripture is taught) is where the younger generation needs to be if they are going to grow as a follower of Jesus.
Lord, may the younger generation of believers be so ready for love and acceptance that they turn to Your body of believers to find truth, hope, care, support, and unconditional love. May we be ready to receive them, encourage them, and equip them to be all they can be in Christ so that they find a thriving community of believers in which they can grow, be challenged, and raise their children to love and prioritize the church, as well. Lord, may they find Your church, Your bride, Your body as an uplifting community that is far more about love than legalism, far more about relationship than rules, far more about grace, than judgment. And Lord Jesus, as You prayed in John 17:22-23, may all believers (younger and older generations alike) be “perfected in unity, so that the world may know that [Your Heavenly Father] sent [You],” and loved them, even as God has loved You.
For more on living differently in this world for the sake of the next generation, see Cindi’s books, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, Women on the Edge, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, and 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom.