A Prayer for our Students

The birth of our Daughter, Eden, this month, has brought our house a lot of joy. Enjoying our first baby together has been such a fun time for Rebecca and I, and it’s worth taking a moment to thank you all for the support and generosity so many of you have shown us as a church family!

However, it seems that her birth has also reduced the amount of sleep we get, and thus the amount of brainpower I have to expend on a weekly basis. Writing 2 lessons for youth group has been tough, and now a blog, yikes!

Joking aside, I didn’t have much in the way of profound insights to offer today (perhaps its bold of me to assume I ever do!) Instead, I wanted to share what I have been mulling over in praying for our students this year, and about where our focus should lie as we intercede on their behalf before our gracious God.

In jr. high we are reflecting on the story of the Bible as it builds towards the Gospel, and as I have been preparing, I have continually been drawn back to the story of Abraham. In Genesis 12 he receives a calling from a mysterious God, and is compelled to leave behind all that he has known in order to follow this God’s leading. Why does he do this? This God, later known as Yahweh, the God of Israel, claims that he will take Abraham out of the land of Babel- Ur as it was called then, and bring him into a new land. There Abraham will become a blessing to the whole world.

In many ways, this is the first salvation story of the Bible. I don’t mean to say no one before Abraham received the grace of God’s presence, but instead that we see a pattern of God revealing himself to a human, bringing them out of their old life, and offering them a partnership that will result in the redemption of all things. It sets the standard for us of how God works: he chooses not to abandon his human creations, but instead redeems them so that they can become his partners.

I hope you have been praying for our church family’s students this September (and if not, it is never too late to begin!) but as you do, I would like to challenge you to pray for them with the image of Abraham’s redemption in mind. When we talk about our students, we often pray that they will be kept safe- that they will not be tempted by sin, that they would retain their Christian virtues. These are all good things; however, it only covers half of the plan that God has for them. God has indeed called our students out of darkness, and we certainly want to pray daily that they would walk in a way that is reflective of that, but God has called them out of darkness so that they might join him in his redeeming work. When we pray for students this year, we should not just pray in a posture of fear- that they would personally be kept safe. We should trust that God is capable of protecting them, and then begin praying that they might become blessings to the entire world.

This year, pray that our students would be agents of redemption in their schools. Don’t just pray that they wouldn’t buy into a lie- pray that they would present a beautiful image of the goodness of God to the people around them. Pray that they would partner with Jesus in laying down their lives for the weak and for their enemies. Don’t just pray that they would be kept safe- pray that they would provide safety, rest, and hope to the people around them. Don’t just pray that they would be blessed- pray that through them, all the nations of the world would be blessed. After all, God has so much more planned for us than just our safety.

Thank you for loving our students. Please continue to encourage and pray for them when you see them each week! They are the church of today!

Dan Vandzura