Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 103- A Closing Prayer First

Tonight our children sang an Easter musical titled "He Lives."  It sounds like a very appropriate title for an Easter musical.  Of course, we were very proud of our children and very grateful for those who work hard with them each week.  It is very meaningful to see our children sing for and about Jesus.

Children's choir singing 

A little closer view

In keeping with the young people theme, I decided to do something different at the end of the service.  I usually call on someone to pray at the end.  Occasionally I'll suggest that we sing a song to close the service.  Tonight, I asked for a young person to volunteer to say the closing prayer for my "first."

The concern in doing something like this is always that nobody will volunteer.  I asked for someone under 15 to volunteer to say the closing prayer. They did not have any warning I was going to do this so I sort of gave them a heads up. I told the congregation that I was going to ask for a volunteer to say the closing prayer right after I made a few announcements so be prepared to raise your hand and volunteer. I told the parents to be alert if their children wanted to volunteer.  Well, before I could get to the announcements, a young man of about 12 raised his hand to volunteer.  I praise God for his willingness to do something like that on the spot.  I never would have volunteered for that when I was 12 if I had a week's notice much less spontaneously.

I did the announcements and then called on the young man t pray.  He even remembered to pray for the three church members we have going to Uganda on a mission trip tomorrow (you can pray for them as well if you' like).  It was a great ending to a meaningful day.

Looks like he's praying, but he's not one of our children
It is easy to get in the habit of doing the same thing or calling on the same people to do the same things. It's hard to know who is really willing to do something unless  you ask. I'm learning to just ask for someone to volunteer.  It may surprise you who'll speak up. I was very shy growing up and did not pray out loud or speak up for Jesus much.  Of course, since I did not give my life to Christ until I was 17, that makes sense. I really want our children (those at our church and yours, too) to grow up thinking that praying out loud, going on mission trips, talking to people about Jesus are common things that Christians do. They should be.  If they grow up and the only time they hear people pray and talk about Jesus is at church, they will think it is an odd thing.  I want them to see that lots of people go overseas on mission trips; it's normal for believers to do that.  When Jesus said to allow the children to come to Him I think for us that means to make it as easy as  we can to see Jesus as a magnificent and normal part of each day of our lives.
Volunteering for the abundant life
3 things I thank God for today
1. Young people who volunteer to serve Jesus

2. Three people who are going to Uganda
3. Children's choir workers

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