I had the unique privilege of attending LIFE 2019 as a student leader. Before I left for the LIFE conference, when it came up in conversations that I was going to Orlando, people would ask me why I was going. I tried to explain that it was a youth conference for the high school students in our congregation, but I found myself struggling to define it to people who had never heard of it before. I had never been to a LIFE conference myself, so I really only knew about the seminars, worship time and service projects. As I tried to describe this conference to people outside of the CMA, I found myself sometimes questioning why we were going all the way to Orlando for some seminars, some worship and a service project.
What I experienced at LIFE 2019 is difficult to describe in just a few sentences, but one of the major messages I heard from our leadership within the CMA is that we - as followers of Christ - must invest in the next generation. As followers of Christ, we must invest ourselves to spread the gospel to regions beyond, and we must invest ourselves in the next generation. Nobody ever said those words, per se - it was just clear in everything that we heard, in the way everything was planned, in the quality of everything they did. Our young people are important, and we need to invest in them. And the investment they need most is our time.
I also experienced the joy of getting to know these young people at a level that simply is not possible during a once-a-week service on Sunday mornings. These young people have dreams, fears, plans, challenges, pursuits, hurts and hopes that are unique to each person and can be used as their greatest tool for beauty and kingdom growth in the hands of our God. Or those same things can be used as the enemy's greatest weapon against them. We must commit to do everything we can to walk with them, listen to them, seek to understand them and then share with them what we know about who God is and how He has worked in our lives.
What better investment could we make?
The disciples watched every move Jesus made, listened to every word He spoke, saw every miraculous work He did. As they watched Him in action, they learned from Him. As they listened to Him pray, they must have recognized something that was lacking in their own prayer life.
Has anyone ever taught you how to pray? Do you want to spend more time in prayer, but you just don’t know what to say – or like the disciples, do you get distracted or sleepy? (Matthew 26:40-41) Do you struggle with confidence when there’s a chance to pray out loud?
Perhaps we – as disciples of Jesus – also need to learn to pray the way Jesus did. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He said, “Pray like this…,”and he goes on to give them a model of how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13). We are also disciples of Jesus, so it is our joyful duty to pay attention to His teaching. As we use Jesus’ teaching as a model for our time in prayer, we will find prayer to be an incredible gift from our Heavenly Father – one that we will cherish every day.
Each month, in this blog, we will unpack the different parts of the Lord’s Prayer as we learn to pray the way He did. As we seek to know Him more, He will counsel us with His eye upon us.(Psalm 32:8)