Summary: Praying for the young in the Church.
Life has its many peculiarities, especially as your age changes and life takes its many leaps. Moving from high school to the real world, having a baby, menopause, your children leaving home, moving where you live, and many more life changing events occur. Amy and I are finally getting into a pretty good routine with baby Mayah. Unfortunately, that routine is guaranteed to fail sooner or later and we will again have to adapt to another way of living. Mayah has so many grandmothers in this church. She even has a bunch of surrogate mothers in many ways. She will even have little friends too. Life has its peculiarities, especially the cycle it takes. Each of us had a beginning as a little helpless baby and many of us have had babies of our own. Soon enough I will no longer be a parent of a baby but a grandparent of a grandbaby. Before I know it my time will be up and a new generation will need to lead the church and the world. However, this cycle does have some purpose for it. The design is actually quite amazing really.
I was once talking to an elderly friend of mine, in her mid 70s. She said to me, “I don’t understand why they call it the Golden Years. I don’t feel like gold. I feel more like lead. Unless they mean that I pay money out like I have gold or maybe the medical companies think I am made of gold. There are benefits however, one being that you get to see your children grow and raise their children and if you are lucky you may even see the third generation down the line. It is actually quite amazing! Some of you can probably say much the same thing. It is wonderful to see others grow, learn, and become who they will be for the rest of their lives. I can only see glimpses of this by seeing people change spiritually but I can say it is wonderful too see.
Now, we have a chance to contribute to the lives of the young people not only in our church but also in our community. Today we have been celebrating the beginning of camp season. The chance for some of our fine young ones to head off to a week of fun and learning about the savior we love. Now is our chance to fulfill our part of the cycle of life. When we were younger, someone sent us to camp and watched over us. Now we can send our children to camp and watch over them. Jesus fulfilled his role on earth in much the same way. In John 17, we find Jesus praying to God the Father on behalf of his fledgling disciples. He knows that he will soon send them into the world and he will no longer be able to protect them. He has given them the “camp of Jesus” experience. He prays for the disciples in four ways: 1) He prays for them to know Him, 2) He prays for them to find eternal life in Him, 3) He prays that God would keep them in His arms, and 4) Jesus prays that God would be glorified. We may not all be going to camp because our time for that has passed but there is much we can do. We can be Jesus for these young people. We can pray for them and support them. Let’s look at each area in which we can pray for them.
They Need to Know Jesus – (6-8)
“"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.”
God gave Jesus 12 men to work with knowing fully well that any of them could have quit or even betrayed Jesus. Now Jesus, in this prayer, commends them back to God. He knows that these men were God the Father’s the entire time. I can think of plenty of mistakes the disciples had made up to that point in their “career.” Yet, Jesus says, “they have obeyed your word.” as well as “For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.” According to Jesus’ prayer, the disciples had accepted that Jesus was the Son of God. They at least understood that Jesus was sent by God and that God instructed Jesus on what to do. “They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” Sometimes I wonder about how well they knew Jesus but never-the-less they knew where he came from and that was the most important issue.