Theme: Women Dispatched by God to pray for others - James 5:16-18
Focus – Praying for our youth/young adults to fulfill the mission of God for their lives
If we are going to help our youth, we must pray (as well as teach them this truth) that they see that God has need of their unique abilities, skills, talents and spiritual gifts.
Paul describes a threefold process that moves from the inner to the outer person and aligns the believer with spiritual truth. The first step starts with knowing your identity in Christ (Romans 6:3-10).
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
The second step moves to reckoning or considering these truths as “the only truth” (Romans 6:11).
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
The last step results in yielding or presenting yourself to God (Romans 6:12-14).
12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
What does this have to do with helping our youth/young people see their place in the mission? If they do not understand these three key steps they will begin to forget or never know who they are or can be in Christ. This can result in them believing they are not capable of handling the gifts the Holy Spirit has placed within them. This ultimately will result in our youth not using their gifts and taking their places in the mission.
1st Prayer Focus ~ Knowing – Who am I in Christ?
Read Luke 9:18-20 ~ Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God."
Ask yourself three fundamental questions:
1. Who do you say that you are?
2. Who do people say that you are?
3. Who does God say that you are?
All too often our acceptance of what we can do rests on the answer to the first two questions rather than the third. When this happens we will base our thoughts about ourselves on unbiblical conclusions. This is also true for our youth. If they are basing who they are and what they can do on what they think or what others say, they miss knowing what God says they can do. We need to help them understand the truth as listed below:
Romans 5:8 - “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.
• God loves me regardless of how I feel about myself or how I perform.
• My identity is changed from what I was to what I have and am becoming.
• God’s love is unconditional.
Romans 6:5 – “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”
• My old self was crucified with Christ (I am changed, no longer the same).
• My new self comes from Christ (I can be and do whatever God says I can).
• I am united with Christ; therefore I am no longer alone.
The conclusion we are to draw from these scripture is that even if we do not “feel” the truth (that we are new and changed because of Christ and equipped by him) we must not allow how we perform God’s assignments to be based on our feelings instead of the truth. We must learn that because Christ is not threatened by earthly failures or rejections, we must not either. Instead we must base our behavior on the belief that Christ has already overcome all the failures and rejections, therefore he can strengthen me as well. Who we are in Christ should determine what we do. Our identity is based on our new birth in Christ. We have his righteousness (Philippians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21), and his life is our life.
2nd Prayer Focus ~ Reckoning – God’s truth as the authority
After Paul describes who we are in Christ (Romans 6:3-10), he moves to us knowing the truth to believing the truth. This process of reckoning is neither a natural or easy one. Most often it is not until people arrive at the end of their ropes that they move from the self-life to the Christ-life. We can read and say we know the truth of God’s word, but we must by faith apply it so that we can be strengthened to run the race ahead of us.
Hebrews 4:2 – “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.”
• Hearing God’s Word must be combined with faith to apply it.
• God’s word does not benefit me unless I accept it and what it can do.
• Faith in God’s Word activates results.
1 Timothy 6:12 – “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
• When we believe what God said about us is true, God gives us assurance.
• God will strengthen me to live this life well.
• I am empowered by God to win.
God’s truth does not simply inform us but it also transforms us. We are new creatures therefore we can do and be different that we were before we were transformed (and continually being transformed).Therefore, we must reckon that if God’s Word says I am, then I am.
3rd Prayer Focus ~ Yielding – To God’s power
As we come to know and accept the truth of who we are with Christ and reckon that it is true, then the next step is for us to yield ourselves to God as a new creature in Christ.
Romans 6:12-13- “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”
• To reject the things of God is allowing sin to reign in my life.
• Rejecting the truth of what God has called me to do is not allowing my body to be an instrument of righteousness.
• When I offer myself to God, he will use me to glorify his righteousness.
Excerpt taken from “Shape II” Discipleship training created by Minister Jewel D. Williams for SSCOG