Children’s ministry has faced significant challenges during COVID-19. Even though there’ve been ministry successes and joys in these unusual times, setbacks and sorrows have predominated. How are we feeling? We’re languishing (in the abyss between depression and flourishing).
It’s time to say, “Lord we need You!” While we should always pray, the hour for prayer is upon us. Attempting to move forward in our own strength is senseless. Only through prayer and praise will we get what we need, God with us.
If your children, parents and ministry workers are going to be refreshed and revitalized, we must press into the Lord through concerted prayer. During this spiritual drought, the ground is cracked and dry. Life-giving water is in short supply. We must draw on the grace of God by asking Him for a downpour of blessing (Job 37:6). Only showers of righteousness will restore the land and make the pastures green again (Isaiah 45:8).
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Your children and their families may be meeting online, gathering in-person, or doing both. Regardless of your circumstances, make prayer your priority. Every revival begins with and is sustained by prayer. If we don’t pray, weeping endures. But when we pray, joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). So implore God for His help and mercy. Ask Him to revive us again so that we can rejoice in Him (Psalm 85:6).
Use these prayer prompts:
Praying for the children.
The children in our churches come from different homes and situations – single parent, fostered, adopted, traditional, blended, intergenerational, Christian, non-Christian, poor, rich, immigrant, indigenous, rural, or urban.
- Get in tune for prayer by picturing each child in his/her family. See them as Jesus sees them.
- Ask Him to draw them to Him. Listen to Him as He says, “Let the little children come to me” Matthew 19:14.
- Entrust each child by name into His loving care. Intercede for their physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
- Look to Jesus to fill them with His Spirit and make them conduits for the work of His Spirit.
- Expect Him to hear you and believe that He will help them live only all for Him.
Praying for the parents.
If children’s ministry is going to thrive post-COVID-19, parents need a fresh revelation of the magnitude and magnificence of Jesus.
- Ask the Lord to open their eyes to see His glory and receive His grace.
- Commend each parent by name to Jesus. Entreat the Lord to fill them with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and equip them to tell His Story to their children, i.e. “the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” Psalm 78:4.
- Imagine every parent becoming a compelling witness and testimony to Jesus in his or her home, and believe God can make this happen.
- Contemplate this verse and pray it back to the Lord on behalf of each family: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain” Psalm 127:1.
Praying for the ministry workers (pastors, teachers, volunteers).
Due to ministry challenges related to COVID-19, some of our ministry workers are frustrated, disheartened, or weary.
- Ask the Lord to give workers the determination, steadfastness, wisdom and endurance they need.
- Entreat the Lord for a deepening and strengthening of their relationship with Him.
- Envision every pastor, teacher and volunteer grasping hold of the heart-stopping, breath-taking, mind-blowing love that Jesus has for them.
- Let ministry workers know you’re praying for them. Prayer is a gift to be shared. Start where you are and do what you can. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Maybe send a handwritten card, video, email, or text message with a brief prayer and encouraging Scripture verse. Better still, connect directly (phone, Zoom call, porch visit) and pray with them.
To get children’s ministry back on its feet, we need to be on our knees. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” Galatians 6:9. Even if your prayers feel awkward or weak, remember that the effectiveness of prayer lies with the One who hears it – not the one who says it. So don’t quit (Luke 18:1). Keep on praying until you get an answer. Keep on praying until you’re blessed (Genesis 32:22-32). For “this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” 1 John 5:14-15.
© Scripture Union, 2021