Vacation Bible School is officially underway at our church, and I'm thrilled by the energy, kids and volunteers serving this year. It's amazing to know the gospel of Jesus is touching hundred of kid's lives through this intensive, intentional week.
One of the major changes to this year's program is the addition of a prayer team - dedicated followers of Jesus who are showing up each day during VBS to be intentionally praying through needs, concerns and issues. They're throughout the building, bathing the volunteers, kids, families and facilities in prayer. We want God to move in these places, so it's good to start by asking for it! I am so thankful for their dedication and support.
The addition of a prayer team, into something like VBS, just makes sense. Any ministry endeavor should be covered in prayer, but in an intentional, intensive week-long gospel-fiesta like VBS, it seems especially important to provide as much prayer support as possible.
Have you put together a team of friends and family members who can be actively praying alongside you through your parenting journey?
But what about the intentional, intensive life-long gospel fiesta called parenting?
Said more bluntly: have you put together a team of friends and family members who can be actively praying alongside you through your parenting journey? Do you have an regular process to pass off intentional parenting prayer requests? And are you intentionally praying for your parenting friends and their journeys?
Disclaimer: I do not, I do not, and I am not. At least, not in the fullest clarity of those three questions.
But shouldn't we?
VBS is powerful and intentional, but it's far less pivotal than parenting. It's far less intense. It's far less complicated! Rain during VBS might force plan changes, but parenting troubles can force life changes. Shouldn't we be far more intentional in finding a prayer team for our parenting than our programs?
When I was a young boy, my mom - who stayed at home - pulled in a few of her lady-friends and started praying for their kids. They met together often and regularly, sharing real requests and bathing those situations in prayer.
Their kids are now grown, married and having kids of their own; those moms continue to meet together in prayer.
That legacy of prayerful support and reliance is powerful and one to be imitated. As I reflect on what this might look like in my own life, here are the steps that I think should be taken. In publishing this, I'm publicly challenging myself to take these steps - and publicly challenging you to as well.
Build a Team
Identify 3-6 friends or couples you know, trust and with whom you're willing to be vulnerable. It seems helpful, though not essential, for them to be at a similar life stage. Ask them about creating a prayer team together, focused specifically on praying for your kids (and theirs, if they have kids).
Identify a Time Frame
I think this is important, and overlooked. 'Indefinite' is code word for, "soon to fail." My mom's legacy is impressive, but I think probably rare. She is exceptional, after all.
Many initiatives with clear time frames can become extended due to success.
So, as you start and find a team, make a statement similar to this: "I want to try this for a year. Maybe it'll work great, and keep going! Maybe we'll need to readjust. But can you give me a year?" (or 6 months. or 18 months. or whatever.)
Clarify a Medium
How will you share prayer requests? How will you communicate? What works best for one another?
It seems to me that Facebook is an ideal medium for this sort of thing: a private group would be just the thing for sharing requests. But maybe everyone doesn't have Facebook, and texting is better. Or email (what is this, 1998?). Or even Snapchat. What fits best into your rhythm and pattern to share and receive requests?
Pick a Date and Time
Finally, make it official by setting a regular day and time to get together and pray.
Yes, I know. This complicates it. This makes it harder.
But I think this is probably the differentiating point, where you decide whether you want a prayer team or a team of people who say, "Wow, yeah, that's hard... I'll pray for you."
A prayer team, or a sympathy team.
This is where you decide if you want it to be real.
It strikes me that this is probably one of the most intentional and important things parents can and should do. But my hunch is that it's also fairly rare. So, let me know: do you have a team? Are you going to find one? And what about me? In a month, will I have one?
I pray so.