Parents must teach their kids how to pray, or it will impact the future of the church. That belief moved Dr. David Ireland, lead pastor of Christ Church in northern New Jersey, to write Raising a Child Who Prays. In a launch event Thursday watched by more than 3,000 viewers on Facebook, Charisma House celebrated Ireland's book release with high hopes for how God is going to use it.
"I think we are going to see a generation that's a different generation than they would've been had it not been for this book," said Debbie Marrie, vice president of product development, acknowledging that it's important to learn how to pray early in life as prayer can carry a person through life's trials.
Ireland said he has witnessed the power of prayer in children's lives. During a global leadership conference in South Korea, for instance, he saw kids as young as 8 interceding with authenticity and boldness.
"God, give me Pakistan," the children prayed while prostrate on the floor. "Give me Indonesia. Lord, I want to serve you in Thailand. Give me that nation for an inheritance."
Hearing the maturity in the voices of these young prayer warriors, Ireland fell to his knees motivated to become even more sold out to God.
"God's throne room is not cordoned off to little intercessors," he said. "God gives kids full access to His throne room."
Acknowledging that some parents do not think themselves fit to teach their kids how to pray, Ireland pointed to Joseph and Mary who were "flawed, complicated, earthy people, and yet they raised a Savior."
If Joseph and Mary could teach the Son of God how to pray, parents today can do it too. In that light, Ireland challenged parents to set a time of prayer, a place of prayer and an agenda for prayer.
Since there are "96 15-minute blocks of time in a day," he asked what time parents had designated for prayer. He challenged parents to cultivate an "authentic environment" for prayer in the home.
As a prime example, he cited Susanna Wesley, mother of famed theologian John Wesley, who had 19 children yet still found time to pray. She taught her children that when she placed an apron over her head, she was praying and they should not disturb her.
Pointing also to Daniel 6, where Daniel prayed three times a day upstairs with the windows opened toward Jerusalem, Ireland encouraged parents to let kids pick out their favorite spot for prayer in the home.
He also gave tips for kids to remember what to pray for; when a child sees his pinky finger, for instance, he could pray for someone who is feeling small or insignificant, perhaps even himself. With her ring finger, she could remember to pray for a friend's parents who are having trouble in their marriage.
Rather than leaving prayer to "the professionals," Ireland challenged parents to take a lesson from the underground church in China. Church members there can't always rely on their pastors to teach the children because their pastors might land in jail at any time. Instead, parents had to step up and teach their kids to be strong in prayer.
"You take the predominant role, not the church," Ireland exhorted.
Learn more by tuning in to Dr. Ireland's teaching on this subject at charismalaunchday.com.
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