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Today we have a bonus post for Pray A to Z. Praying for our youth is so important, and not just if you have children at home. We all have opportunities to interact with young people in our communities. I asked my friend Jenna Scott to share with us how we can also pray for youth across the globe. Jenna works with One Hope, an organization dedicated to bring the hope of God’s Word to children across the globe.
I grew up in a church that hosted missionary Sunday once or twice a year. I loved looking at the different flags strung across the front of the church and being enamored by stories from across the ocean. Sometimes we’d even be treated to a taste of a foreign food or get to glimpse a photo of native children who looked like they had so little and sounded like they needed Jesus so much.
But I never knew how miniscule my understanding of the plight of children and youth around the world truly was until I took a job with OneHope, whose mission is, God’s Word. Every Child.
A few months in, I was shocked at how much I was learning about the reality of life for children and youth around the world in this day and age. For instance:
- If you research and examine the daily life of teens and trends around the world, you will find that the teenage “norm” has gone global – crossing cultural and religious boundaries.
- In the United States, there are 16 churches for every McDonald’s. But in many parts of the world, churches can be hundreds – even thousands – of miles apart.
- There are many severely restricted countries where God’s Word is not welcome. Yet, God still works miracles in this day and age.
- Digital tools are taking Scripture to unreached places.
- Despite the saturation of media, the biggest influencers in the lives of children and teens is, surprisingly, a Trifecta of parents, religious texts and spiritual community.
- Globalization has permeated every culture and leveled the (mission) field.
- We are ALL missionaries now that “the world” resides right next door.
- The role I play in the church affects the role the Church plays in global missions.
I haven’t traveled extensively, nor am I a theologian, missiologist or kidmin guru. But in this fast-changing world, I have a very important role to play and help expand the Kingdom. Mine is to pray, support, and tell stories.
Now more than ever, we are aware of the situations children are facing every day—hunger, anger, illness, abuse, or neglect. While I can’t save them all or relieve them from their suffering, I know someone who can. So I pray—knowing the power of prayer—for God to be present and near, that the message of His hope and salvation will somehow reach every child on this earth—especially the ones that are in horrible situations or seem unreachable. It was a privilege to watch decades-long prayers of my co-workers be answered this February as technology allowed us to bear real-time witness to a miracle as it happened on the other side of the globe—this is the story of Dima and how God used him to reach the ministry’s billionth child with God’s Word last year.
This topic can gets controversial quickly, so suffice it to say that I believe God has gifted each of us with talents to be used for His Kingdom, and resources to support those who are ministrating the hands and feet of Christ both locally and globally. And while the giving and serving landscape has changed drastically in my lifetime, the call to serve and give has not.
There are exciting revivals and miracles happening in schools and neighborhoods around the world—many that can only be word-of-mouth whispered because they are happening in countries that are extremely restrictive to God’s Word.
Like Lee*, who passionately ministers in a sensitive Asian country. When God provided an open door, she had the courage to stage a daring, dramatic mission to reach children with the Gospel using OneHope’s God’s Big Story cards: a wordless collection of 16 story cards that fit together like a puzzle to make one BIG story. These cards—portraying the story of Christ—were specifically designed to reach kids in “restricted areas.”
Lee recruited 34 church members to pack backpacks with 15,600 God’s Big Story cards and walk them across the sensitive nation’s border. She called it a five-hour mission trip. Watch how this mission trip turned out…
Probably one of the most exciting innovations has been The Bible App for Kids, which is blazing a trail for digital missions. This is just one of the innovations designed to speak the heart language of today’s digital natives. So far, the app—developed in partnership with YouVersion—creator of the most popular Bible app of all time—has been downloaded nearly 5 million times all over the World! This app is helping take God’s Word places where the printed Word cannot go. In late August the Bible App for Kids was translated into its first language: Spanish. Now nearly one quarter of all Bible App for Kids downloads use the Spanish translation. Last month, it launched in Chinese and Korean. By the end of 2015, the app will be released in 9 additional languages. Imagine the impact!
As I am learning more about what life is like for kids and young people in my community and across the globe in this day and age, I am more aware than ever of the importance of praying for them. I don’t always know what to pray, but the more I read and research and learn, the more insight I have into praying specifically for the heartfelt needs of young people my kids rub shoulders with every day, and those I’ll never see or meet this side of heaven.
Looking through the list Amelia has compiled for praying for the community, each and every one of these topics could be applied to young people as well. I’d encourage you to begin praying A-to-Z for the next generation, asking the Holy Spirit to bring specific young people or geographical locations to mind as you intercede on their behalf.
Jenna has been in love with words all her life—especially God’s Word that helped her realize her need for a Savior in the first grade. Triple-majoring in English, Secondary Education and Professional/Technical Writing with a Bible minor in her undergrad and pursuing a Master’s in Management, she has since managed to be a high school English teacher, Human Resources generalist, SAHM, pastor’s wife, PPD and adoption advocate, contract writer/editor, VP PTA Communications, and is currently helping elevate the message of OneHope around the world. She serves as a 2nd grade small group leader at Browns Bridge Church, is married to Dan and has 4 children ages 7, 8, 9 & 11.
Tweetables:How can we #pray for our youth across the globe? @jnascott shares ideas. #PrayAtoZ
3 Ways to reach #youth across the globe with God’s love via @jnascott #PrayAtoZ
Why it’s important to #pray for #youth across the globe. #PrayAtoZ