Summary: Notice that this prayer puts the spiritual before the physical. The Bible always places your spiritual health before your physical health. We are always doing the opposite. We nearly always talk about physical problems – money problems, marriage problems, and health problems.
In 1995, Toy Story was the first entirely computer-generated film to be released. George Foreman was known more for boxing than for grilling. And Michael Jordan left baseball to come back to basketball. And Generation Z was born. Generation Z may not be a familiar term for you but are those young people born between 1995 and 2010. Gen Z will quickly become the largest American generation yet. They are today's teenagers and children 18 and under. This is the generation right after the famed Millennial generation. According to the US census estimates, there around 68 million of these young people in the United States, a little more than 24% of the total population. They have grown up in a world where nearly everyone has a smartphone, and a black president was no big deal. Racial diversity is a reality for this generation as the most popular last name in America is no longer Smith but Rodriguez. They love to use a device to communicate where more than 70% of their communication is akin to texting. In fact, their phone is often their wallet. They have even been called "screen-agers." When you add it all up, they will average spending nearly one day per week on their mobile device.
A Pew study last year found that nearly half of all Americans aged 13 to 17 said they were online "almost constantly," and more than 90 percent used social media. You already know this because you hand them your phone and your computer and ask them to fix it ?! Sadly, they have seen pornography as it has never been more readily available than it is online. When asked, they often describe themselves as being compassionate. For many of these teens, they define right and wrong by the criteria if anyone gets hurt by the behavior. And around 4 of every 10 of Generation Z will attend a religious service of some kind weekly.
Gen Z Sermon Purpose
Over the course of the next three weeks, I want to call our church's collective attention to this generation. I want to ask you to ponder how you can encourage them. How can we fan the flame of faith in this generation born between 1999 and 2015? And how can we specifically pray for them. Let me repeat this. I want to call our church to specifically encourage this generation to wholeheartedly embrace "the faith once delivered for the saints." And to pray for them.
Many of you have children and grandchildren that are Generation Z. I have three of them in and out of my home. And we have around 135 different teens at both of our campuses in the month of May. Around 200 different children at both campuses each Sunday. That's more than 330 Next Generation young people to choose from! I'm asking you to pick at least one of these to pray for by name.
George Orwell said, "Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it." Now, it's easy to play the "Get off my lawn" to the next generation. I want to challenge you to rid yourself of this tendency. I doubt I need to say this too much about our church family because you are so encouraging. Because this generation has some real problems aimed at them, they don't need a church full of "old codgers" grousing about them. Let's focus like a laser on fanning the flame of faith in Generation Z in the coming weeks.
Ephesians 3 Prayer
Keep your Bibles open to Ephesians 3, if you will. You are reading a prayer – a beautiful and moving prayer. You feel as if you are moved right into Heaven as you read it. It's obvious because it begins, "For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father" (Ephesians 3:14). The second clue we have that this is a prayer is just a few verses in front this when we read in verse 11: "This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him" (Ephesians 3:11-12). Now, this is the second prayer embedded in the book of Ephesians (Ephesians 1:15-23).
Specifically, I want to challenge you to pray this specific prayer as a model prayer for a believing teenager or young person in your life. Would you join me in adopting Ephesians 3 as a model prayer for one person of the Next Generation to have a spiritual breakthrough? Let's unite together to call out to Almighty with a tremendous passion that the next generation would have a spiritual passion and a hunger for God.
1. A Prayer for Power