D. L. Moody was credited as having said, “It is a masterpiece of the devil to make us believe that children cannot understand religion. Would Christ have made a child the standard of faith if He had known that it was not capable of understanding His words?” He was correct in his assessment as to how various people within the Church view children and their spiritual lives.
Children are VERY capable of understanding the deeper things of the Kingdom, if we will take the time to teach them in child-sized portions.
Jesus said in three of the Gospels that “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” It appears Jesus is convinced that children are capable of experiencing a transformational relationship with Him—so much so, that He warns us not to lead them down a road that embraces the world’s deceptive propaganda and empty philosophies.
The Kingdom Belongs to Such as These
For over five decades, I have had the opportunity to minister to and with children, witnessing amazing things take place in their lives. For example, children love to pray! When my own children were younger, I remember a time when we desperately needed rain; you know, when the grass is brown and brittle, and the flowers seem to have tongues hanging out longing for a downpour of heaven’s thirst quencher. My kids randomly started praying for rain, and to “my surprise,” within 30 minutes we had a downpour that came out of nowhere. My children just grinned because they believed God not only heard their prayers but desired to answer them.
There was another time I had the privilege of teaching children about prayer during Kids’ Church, engaging them in the practice of this discipline while we were together. There were two children who wanted their daddy to start attending church. We would lay our hands on these kids, and their childhood friends would begin to cry out for their daddy to show up. A few months later, guess who appeared at church? I’ve never seen children so excited in my life!
I, myself, came into a relationship with Christ when I was nine years of age. Through the wise guidance of my parents and other adult believers in our local church, I had the privilege to be part of ministry opportunities. Visiting families, attending prayer meetings, engaging in mission lessons, traveling around with my ventriloquial buddy to share the historical/spiritual events of the Bible, and other such occasions developed within me an incredible love for things of the Kingdom.
History Is a Good Teacher
Stop for a minute and look at the book of Ephesians. It is written to the faithful saints in Ephesus. The first three verses in chapter six of Ephesians are addressed to children. It is only logical to conclude that the children in the Ephesus church were also faithful saints. As a matter of fact, the childhood of Jesus displays how deep a child can go in understanding Kingdom truths when we read that He was “confounding” the teachers of the Law in the temple at the age of 12.
John Wesley shares throughout his journals the number of children who were radically saved, hungered for the Word, and were constant in prayer. One such day was July 30, 1758. He states, “I began meeting with the children in the afternoon, though with little hopes of doing them good; but I had not spoken long on our natural state before many of them were in tears, and five or six so affected that they could not refrain from crying aloud to God. When I began praying, their cries increased, so that my voice was soon lost. I have seen no such work among children for eighteen or nineteen years.”
Wesley also credits children, as young as two years of age, of having an incredibly deep relationship with God, giving prophetic words of future events that eventually came to pass, sharing visions they received from God, and confidently speaking the truth of the Word to others. Their experiences were taken just as seriously as those of an adult.
It is evident throughout history that children display childlike faith that is very effective and powerful. Isn’t it possible that on the day of Pentecost children were part of the 120 who experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit? After all, we find they were present (being followers of Jesus) throughout the gospels—often when Christ was teaching, healing, delivering, and celebrating the Kingdom being at hand. Later in Acts, we find that the disciples led “whole households” into an active relationship with the resurrected Messiah after the Pentecost event.
But Where Do We Start?
To draw children into a relationship with the Holy Spirit, we first need to make sure we are in an active relationship with Him.
Secondly, we need to be in the Word, daily, so that our faith can constantly be growing. Thirdly, we need to believe that a child can and wants to live for Christ. And lastly, we need to be willing, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to teach them (and their parents) the deeper things about the Kingdom through concrete and experiential ways.
I’m sure you know by now there is NOT a “junior” Holy Spirit for children!
All the power, fruit, gifts, guidance, teaching, and other aspects of this precious gift given to us by the Father through His Son are available for kids of all ages to experience.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to participate with children in powerful moves of the Holy Spirit in the crazy, chaotic times in which we live?
I want to challenge you to pray for the children within your church and sphere of influence to be open and receptive to the plan of salvation but to also desire to experience entire sanctification. Additionally, pray for God to show you how and what to teach them when it comes to those deeper things. Children NEED to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to make it through a world filled with deceit—a world with an agenda to remove God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit from all areas of life. I want to encourage you to have fun and begin praising God right now for what He is about to do with the children entrusted to you!