For those of you who are on Facebook, you may have already read half of this note. I am finally feeling back into the swing of things, just enough to start writing blogs again :) I will update you all on my Louisiana trip soon enough. For now, it is just going to be some random thoughts. Well, they aren't exactly random, because I have thought about them before.
This morning in my Educational Practice and Theory class, we were discussing the pros and cons between having children leave a church service halfway through to go to "Junior Church" or Sunday School, or whatever you want to call it. I have a HUGE problem with this, which probably stems from the fact that I was never raised this way. When I was growing up, we had Sunday school before the actual service, and children and adults alike would learn about different things in the Bible in a more intimate and less formal setting. After Sunday school was over, we would then proceed to church service, and all worship God together in a time of praise, prayer, and teaching from the pastor. Now, it's like we have made the assumption that kids will not be able to sit still in a service, or that they will be bored, or that they won't understand the topic the pastor is talking about. Of course children may have a hard time understanding, especially if it is a topic like marriage or something else. One student in my class suggested that kids should not be present for topics that are somewhat "for adult ears only", like sermons from Songs of Solomon and the like. In some ways I agree with him, but in most ways I do not. I think all children should have had some degree of introduction to topics like marriage, sex, the supremacy of God, and other things so that when they become old enough to fully understand, it will not become a shock to them. How can we expect children to have godly worldview if we don't let God infiltrate their lives from the very beginning? I know they go downstairs for the topics that are more age appropriate, which they need, but at the same time, Christian teaching needs to be holistic. They need to hear about EVERYTHING the Bible has to offer, not just the stories that everyone loves so much. We give children too little credit for what they are capable. I believe if we started training young kids to sit in the service again, we would see more youth staying in the church and becoming more active. Think about it: if we segregate the ages within a church, when the 12 and 13 year-olds come back upstairs after being "entertained" for so long, how can we expect them to sit still and pay attention to the sermon? I believe it is so important to allow every person of every age to learn together, and grow together. If this does not apply to your church and I have offended you in some way, then I am sorry, and I commend your church for still having Sunday school separate from the sermon. It could be that I am getting into the semantics of it all here. I know this way may not necessarily be the best way for every church, but that is how I feel about it.
I'm reading my one of my textbooks for a class, the book is Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, and many of you may have heard of it.
I'm reading an article on "Strategic Prayer", and a quote from theologian Walter Wink has caught my eye, and I would like to share it with you:
"Prayer is not magic; it does not always work; it is not something we do, but a response to what God is already doing within us and the world. Our prayers are the necessary opening that allows God to act without violating our freedom. Prayer is the ultimate act of partnership with God."
I love this quote because it broadens my thinking of what prayer should be. I think a lot of us do pray in expectation of what God will do, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it could pose as a problem if we don't accept any answer God gives us, including "no", or "not right now".
For me, sometimes I do find prayer to be somewhat of a chore, which of course it shouldn't be. I envy people who can pray for long periods of time and never run out of words. This is why I liked the part in the quote where Wink says, "it is not something we do, but a response to what God is already doing within us and the world."
We can't let God speak to us without responding back to him. Prayer is also humbling, because we actually need to ask for something, or need to confess something we have done wrong, or give praise that God is God and we are not. It breaks down the barrier between ourselves and God, allowing him to work within us and transform our lives.
I think if I keep practicing intentional and intercessory prayer, it will become less of a chore and allow for more intimacy between myself and my God and King.
Have a great day!