25th June 2015
Amy and I have just got back from a great trip to New York City where we were visiting some friends in Brooklyn. One day we took a trip out to Brooklyn Heights in order to visit a pop up food market, and in order to get there we needed to take the Subway. When we landed at the market our friend, Seth, realised that he didn’t have his wallet on him. Tracing his thoughts back he realised that he had taken his wallet out of his pocket on the Subway, placing it on the seat next to him but was then distracted by his one year old son - meaning that he completely forgot about it. As he left the train…so too he left his wallet.
Our initial response was to pray. Amy and I grabbed Joash, and Seth grabbed his three boys (all under 5) and we all said a very simply prayer. “Father we pray that a Good Samaritan would find Seth’s wallet and hand it in. We pray for nothing to be stolen or missing. In Jesus name we pray.” The kids all said “Amen!”
Ten minutes later Seth received an email from the ‘Good Samaritan’ we’d prayed for informing him that she had his wallet! She had found his business card in the wallet and contacted him straight away. The next day Seth picked up his wallet and carried on as if nothing had happened!
The most exciting thing for us was that our kids got to see God at work. They prayed. They joined in the petitioning of our Father for his favour to be poured out on us. And then we all celebrated together as Jesus came up trumps.
Soon after this I read an article entitled ‘The key to saving teenagers’ which was completed as part of the National Study of Youth and Religion. In the article it simply stated ‘parents who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into there 20s.’
The article showed that just 1% of teens ages 15 to 17 raised by parents who attached little importance to religion were highly religious in their mid- to late 20s. In contrast, 82% of children raised by parents who talked about faith at home, attached great importance to their beliefs and were active in their congregations were themselves religiously active as young adults.
Now there is a danger that we could become dishearten or condemned by such stats if our own children aren’t walking with God in the way we would want. That’s not what this blog is about and we need to also recognize that there are other contributing factors to a persons walk with God – not least of all God's sovereignty and a person’s personal responsibility.
However it is my belief and experience, that this article simply highlights the need for positive role models both within the natural and spiritual family.
So what we do want to do is to encourage every one of you – parent or not – to set the best example to our teenagers in order to show them what it means to be a believer and follower of Jesus. Live out your faith, engage in conversation with our teens, shares stories and most of all pray for them (and let them know you’re praying)! As Paul says in Galatians says “walk by the Spirit” and not be afraid to wear our faith on our sleeves…especially at home or when you lose your wallet!