In our progressive, yet conflicted and confused society, should children be taught to pray? Though some might label you as dogmatic, paternalistic, or narrow-minded, even closed-minded… the answer is — Absolutely! As a parent, teacher, or pastor, it’s your responsibility to teach and model, not only how to pray, but what, where, when, and why children should pray.

Why is Prayer Important?

  1. It maintains a close relationship between the child and God. (Daniel 6)
  2. It helps children face their problems by faith. (Philippians 4:6)
  3. Jesus taught us to pray. (Matthew 6)
  4. It builds and strengthens the child’s faith. (Jeremiah 33:3)
  5. Prayer is a Key to the Kingdom, which unlocks, opens, and changes the spiritual atmosphere of the child’s heart, school, home, or community.

What should you teach children about Prayer?

  1. What is prayer?
    A: It’s “talking with God” communicating with words, thoughts, and listening via the Holy Spirit and God’s Word (Bible). Consider using a audio Bible app for listening to Scripture. CEF Durham uses the app from Streetlights for city kids and our Good News Clubs.
  2. Who can pray?
    A: God desires “everyone” to pray. All believing children can pray in faith/believing God for what they ask (Mark 11:23-24) yet sin can be a barrier to God’s answers (Isaiah 59:1-2, Psalm 66:18) to prayer. God will hear the child’s prayers if they confess sin and obey Him (1 John 1:9). God is always ready to listen and answer “Yes” to a child’s prayer for forgiveness and believing on His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 1:12)
  3. Where can you pray?
    A: “Anywhere” — Jonah prayed in the belly of the fish. Paul & Silas prayed in jail. Daniel prayed in a lion’s den. Children can pray anywhere: home, school, playground, at meals, and with friends.
  4. When can you pray?
    A: “Anytime” — Pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) – Pray at all times (Ephesians 6:18) – Pray at appointed times of the day (Psalm 55:17)
  5. Why should you pray?
    A: “Because God wants to spend time with His Children.”
  6. What are God’s Good Answers to prayer?
    A: “Yes” according to His Will (1 Kings 18)
    A: “No” if it would not be good for you right now (2 Corinthians 12)
    A: “Wait” if it is not God’s perfect time (John 11)

Additional Resources:

Read more at CEF/pray about teaching children to pray & ask questions

PrayLive and Streetlights apps are available for all electronic devices

CEF Durham has a summer ministry plan: Kids Love Camping! School is out! Weather is hot! What are kids doing this summer?

Many know they’re going to the pool, away for camp, or some vacation time out of town. But many of the city kids we know and love can’t count on doing all these things each summer. Actually, many of their parents wish their kids could enjoy these summer activities. CEF Durham, alone, has offered sports camps, Bible clubs, and overnight camping to children for the past 25 years as an auxiliary ministry. The extended time spent with children and youth at any camp enhances their spiritual formation like no other, short of being their parents and living with them. For the same reason, coaches and teachers are so influential in the lives of their students.

This summer we, at CEF Durham, are doing something familiar, but a bit more comprehensive, with our friends at the Durham Nativity School and the Jenny Koortbojian Foundation Summer Reading Camp. CEF will be a partner in offering games/fitness along with educational sessions in Bible, social etiquette, character development, and mental health. Our 5-Day Club curriculum as well as newly developed programs to strengthen the body, mind, spirit, and heart of city kids will be used during this 6-week camp.

The 50-60 city kids attending this unique experience in downtown Durham, which began June 17th, are loving this type of summer camp. The diverse group of 3rd-6th graders will finish camp July 25th. Thirty full days of inner city camping this summer will form and nurture these young lives into God-loving, world-changing, healthy individuals.

I could use a long list of “re… words” to describe what we all need more often than we actually have opportunity to access. Recharging, reloading, rebuilding, or restoring are all objectives when I seek time to get away. There’s an exciting expectation to rest, but also engage in uncommon activities which revive my body, mind, and spirit. As our family often does, we retreat to the coast. Rejecting the pile of tasks to do and the books to be read, my senses are rejuvenated by the sounds of the sea, the sand between me toes, and the taste of good seafood. Ah, what a place and time to recover well!

Not all of you know, I’ve had four surgeries in the past two years, not counting several ear surgeries in the past and an ACL replacement in a knee several years ago. I know about recovery, both quick and very slow. When I found and felt those breakthrough moments, “WOW!, I’m going to get back… recover.” Well, I’m in one of those breakthrough moments right now with a total shoulder replacement and loving the success and expecting the day I can say. “I’m fully recovered.” My mind and spirit needs that as well. I look forward to recovering well.

Today, as we make our way to our most common coastal destination, I so look forward to the mystical gifts of recreation (re-creation) and renewal. Hopefully, hearing a Word from the Lord… Expecting to recover well. Recovering well brings excitement, renewed energy, and focus. I also look forward to these gifts spilling over into our ministry to city kids. I’ll need the energy and focus as CEF Durham will partner with others to hold a 6-week camp for city kids this summer.

“Ain’t it good to be on this side of the table for a change?” said city kids while serving their community. While riding home from a basketball game, with a group of Hispanic and Chinese American youth, “Mr. John, do you have anyone in prison?” It’s the extra time we spend with city kids that detonates the EXTRAS around a community-based Good News Club.

Good News Club-ers serving their community during a Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s the EXTRAS that make any Good News Club special, memorable, and sustainable. Every child likes to have fun, work on projects, serve others, be active, and learn new things. Why not include these valuable academic and social experiences within the culture of Good News Clubs? I don’t think it’s possible, during a typical 1-hour club, to plan and implement the teachable moments you can experience when offering the EXTRAS to your students.

Special, memorable, all-day, extra fun times at the State Fair

CEF along with partnering local ministries, churches, and concerned individuals have developed an urban network for new strategies and strengthening best efforts, which will focus on 10 or more identified communities for the next 10 years.  A simple strategy of biblical and wholistic discipleship will be used following guidelines from Luke 10 and other passages where Jesus gives instructions to His disciples regarding building His Kingdom.  This is how the EXTRAS are birthed, developed, and used in local ministry. Thus, multiple and intentional engagements with city kids, in addition to the Good News Club, can be leveraged while incorporating this strategy.

Between 1999-2007, we started an EXTRA Good News Club, which enrolled over 1,600 city kids and youth within 2-3 years. As we intentionally made the club extra large in attendance, extra long with weekly ministries as well as the Saturday morning event, using extra wide-open games, and extra prizes along with an extra high expectation for every child, we got EXTRAordinary results.

Tennis Academy campers (city kids) enjoying pro and college-level matches

Here’s a short list of EXTRAS to use as suggestions with your community and school-based Good News Clubs in which we are using in the Durham area. Before you use these, consider your own area, creativity of your team, local resources, and connections.

Slip & Slide: City Kids style to kick-off Good News Club for the new school year
  • Any appropriate and/or relevant sporting events
  • Slip & Slide in the community
  • Field Trip: Local or State Fair
  • Attend a candlelight vigil for those murdered, incarcerated, etc.
  • Serve the community: take trash out for neighbors, serve a dinner, plant a garden, build a skateboard ramp, prayer walking, etc.
  • Visit all the buildings and/or homes in the community, pray, invite to club, or special events, etc.
  • Baptism Service: Use the community swimming pool for those who’ve made salvation decisions for Christ and have the pastor of the supporting church conduct the baptisms.

Child Evangelism Fellowship® executives, headquarters staff, and hundreds of CEF staff, board, and volunteer members enjoyed, perhaps, the best USA conference in recent memory May 6-10, 2019.  There was a spirit of freedom and breakthrough as well as numerous conversations around forgiveness, reconciliation, collaborative outreach, reaching our U.S. cities, and new approaches to ministry.

Workshop leaders: Michael Harley, Esther Beasley, and John Blake

Due to the presence of the keynote speaker Dr. John Perkins, for workshops on City Kids, which were led by myself, Michael Harley, and Esther Beasley, and for the strategic planning and development done over the past several years, CEF ministries will become more effective, collaborative, and sustainable in “urban America” (especially areas of socioeconomic and spiritual need). CEF will be ever-present and intentional to minister alongside others in collaboration for spiritual transformation of city kids, their families, and communities across the USA.

READ MORE about City Kids

For the favor of God and to effectively engage your city, a community, or a local school, an intentional Christian witness and service, based on Jesus’ teaching to his disciples in Luke 10:1-9, is absolute. Prayer Evangelism is the 1st leap towards spiritual transformation. There are four key components within the instruction Jesus gave his disciples before He sent them out. These steps are interconnected and flow in the order that they were given.

As we reach-out to those around us in prayer, we do so knowing that we carry the authority of the Name of Jesus as well as protection from evil. Through our expressions of the Gospel (via 10 Keys of the Kingdom) Matt.16:18-19, God’s Light and Truth bring about change in the spiritual climate (attitudes and activities) within the community we reach through ministry. From Luke 10, the first steps are to pray for where you are being sent v.1, pray for other laborers v.2, and then go v.3, following the next steps.

Luke 10: steps and leaps towards transformation

  • Bless: speak peace to people and systems in your sphere of influence. v.5-6
  • Fellowship: build relationship with those outside the Kingdom of God. v.7-8
  • Minister: respond to their felt needs in the name of Jesus. v.9a
  • Proclaim: announce that the Kingdom of God has come near and is available to them through Jesus Christ. v.9b

Foundational Questions about reaching a city

How do you reach a city for Christ? Build a canopy of prayer over the entire city – block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, in order to change the spiritual climate.  1 Timothy 2:1-8

When can we say that a city has been reached? The answer represents a four-part progressive penetration of the gospel.

Level 1: Canopy – everyone has a shepherd – Bless the lost… Luke 10:5

Level 2: Relationships – everyone knows their pastor – Fellowship… Luke 10:7

Level 3: Spiritual climate changes for the better – Meet felt needs… Luke 10:9

Level 4: Transformation – the Kingdom is evident in one or more city sectors – Kingdom of God is near/has come to the city… Luke 10:9

  • Discipleship of city/community Matt.28
  • Marketplace redeemed/reclaimed Luke 19:10
  • Every Christian a Minister and Work is Worship Col. 3:23
  • Take Kingdom of God to the kingdom of darkness Matt. 16:18-19
  • Elimination of systemic poverty

6 Final steps towards reaching a city for Christ

“…the grace to reach the city has been deposited in the city; and if it takes the whole Church to present the whole gospel to the whole city; then prayer evangelism is the best way to equip the saints to do it.” 

  1. Establish God’s perimeter in the city in dedicate sites/homes as lighthouses of prayer (Repent/Reform)
  2. Secure God’s perimeter with sites/homes of peace (Reinforce)
  3. Expand God’s perimeter via prayer walking in strategic sites, homes, and neighborhoods (Kingdom Builders/Rebuild)
  4. Infiltrate Satan’s perimeter with acts of public prayer at identified gates, speaking peace in dark areas, reading Scripture, prayer walking in strategic public areas (Repentance/Reconciliation)
  5. Attack and destroy Satan’s perimeter by going into neighborhoods, to visit, listen, bless, and empower… (Spiritual Warfare/Reinvest)
  6. Establish God’s perimeter where Satan’s perimeter used to be through public worship, Lord’s Table, meals, fellowship… (Reclaim/Restore)

Questions or comments about Prayer Evangelism? Contact me here or post them at praydurham

Perkins to be honored and speak at Child Evangelism Fellowship USA Conference May 6-10, 2019

John Perkins answers the question, “What is the future of the church in America today?”

The ministry organization of Child Evangelism Fellowship will convene its USA Conference May 6-10, 2019 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, N.C. One of the guest speakers, Dr. John Perkins, will be honored for his 50+ years of Christian service, social impact, and community development. Dr. Perkins is a friends ad mentor of mine for 23 years. It will be my honor with much of excitement to introduce him to our CEF family next week. For all who will attend the series of workshops at the CEF Conference, called: “Developing a Heart for the City and City Kids”, please use this, my blog site, to glean relevant messages and insights regarding biblical and social strategies to reach city kids in the USA. Dr. Perkins and his numerous books have their mark on these strategies and the proposed City Kids USA initiative.

Dr. Perkins’ final manifesto on race, faith, and reconciliation

We are living in historic times. Not since the civil rights movement of the 60s has our country been this vigorously engaged in the reconciliation conversation. There is a great opportunity right now for culture to change, to be a more perfect union. However, it cannot be done without the church, because the faith of the people is more powerful than any law government can enact.

The church is the heart and moral compass of a nation. To turn a country away from God, you must sideline the church. To turn a nation to God, the church must turn first. Racism won’t end in America until the church is reconciled first. Then—and only then—can it spiritually and morally lead the way.

One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love
Questions for Dr. Perkins about his final book: One Blood

CEF Urban City Kids Task Force PROPOSAL

Ultimate Goal:  Child Evangelism Fellowship ministries will become more effective, collaborative, and sustainable in “urban America” (especially areas of socioeconomic and spiritual need). CEF will be ever-present and intentional to minister alongside others in collaboration for spiritual transformation of people and communities across the USA. For this to be realized, a mindset change with adjusted approaches to ministry must occur at all levels of CEF leadership. For example, CEF must become a team player, initiate/lead when appropriate, submit to other collaborative leadership whenever possible, and make available every resource that the CEF chapter possesses for the cause of reaching urban kids and families.


5-Year Strategic Goal

We believe God can begin to spiritually and socially transform resourced-challenged communities strategically selected throughout the United States over the next 5 years. We believe this can be accomplished by implementing the biblical principles of the “10 Keys of the Kingdom.” These target communities could then serve as models for effective and collaborative Gospel-centered ministry in urban communities where CEF seeks and is invited to minister.

Action Step 1:  Casting Vision/Education

Start the discussion on a national level. Invite ministry leaders who have implemented the “10 Keys” or similar concepts to present them to the senior staff of CEF, state and local directors and coordinators via select communication platforms, including social media, blogs, during State Leadership Conference, at CMI, and during all CEF conferences within workshops and main plenary sessions.

Action Step 2:  Education/Implementation/Facilitation

Develop relationships and partnerships with local “grassroots” organizations for collaborative ministry in target cities of this initiative.

i.e. community-based, church-led tutoring programs, police and community-led Partners Against Crime, legal aide, re-entry and job programs, public housing authorities, feeding/street ministries, sports ministry/leagues, religious coalitions, youth foundations, and prayer movements, etc.

Seek national organizations which can teach urban cultural competencies, intensive city reaching paradigms, and provide urban resources for developing local ministry partnerships.

i.e. CCDA, Mission America, Urban Youth Workers Institute, City Reaching, Jobs for Life, Step Up, Lighthouse Ministries, Transform Our World, Good Cities, etc.

Action Step 3:  Metrics for Goal-setting/Evaluation

Determine how to quantify and measure “success” of this initiative

i.e. (1) number of youth involved in community programs, (2) number of indigenous youth leaders or mentors, (3) number of youth enrolled in discipleship classes, (4) numbers of families no longer on poverty roles, (5) the ratio of indigenous ministry leaders on community boards/committees, (6) lower crime stats % in target communities/city, (7) increased employment of families, (8) growth/strength of network partnerships, (9) increase % of indigenous residence involved in collaborative ministry efforts, etc.


Year-1 Strategic Goal: Casting vision and education

Action Step 1:  Introduce the vision and goals of City Kids USA to CEF senior staff, state leadership, and local chapters.

Action Step 2:  Select communication platforms, including social media, blogs, USA monthly blasts, etc. to articulate the vision of City Kids USA and incrementally present the 10 Keys of the Kingdom.

Action Step 3:  Marketing City Kids USA to CEF staff/boards via regular updates and stories that show the need and effectiveness of urban ministry.

Year-2 Strategic Goal: Education, Facilitation, and Implementation

Action Step 1:  Offer and facilitate an open forum at CEF conferences on the concept of City Kids USA including, but not limited to, collaborating with other ministries and organizations to meet the needs of children in resourced-challenged communities.

Action Step 2: Select USA staff with a passion for and engaging urban ministry as USA champions to be trained, funded, and resourced to build urban ministry teams and implement City Kids USA in their city.

Action Step 3:  Select USA cities to model City Kids USA urban ministry initiative.

Year-3 Strategic Goal: Metrics (Goals/Evaluations)   

Action Step 1:  Identified goals and metrics help define success

Action Step 2:  Gather and examine data to determine outcomes  

Action Step 3:  Publicize a report summary of outcomes and next steps

Relationships

If you value people in the city, then you will make intentional decisions to build long-term empowering relationships.  Intentionally doing so will allow you to cross cultural barriers and build relationships which enrich your lives.  Knowing people within the city helps cultivate an appreciation of their diversity, which enriches and broadens ones vision and ministry.  It presents itself as an indigenous vault of resources.

Relationships and leadership development on-the-job creates and affirms value, power, and a sense of community in the lives of your ministry teams.

Leadership Development

Invest in people. Pour yourself into those that God sends your way by taking what He poured into you and reinvest it into others.  It may take fifteen years to develop indigenous urban leadership.  It’s necessary, absolutely vital, for implementing an effective and sustainable ministry to city kids.  

  • Make spiritual disciples for Christ in the city… Matthew 28:19-20  
  • Develop spiritual leaders for Christ in the city… Philippians 3:10  
  • Lead others into a Christ-like life of Sacrifice – Suffering – Service:

Because we children of Adam want to become great, He became small. Because we will not stoop, He humbled Himself. Because we want to rule, He came to serve.

Reconciliation

A result of redemption, the end being made right with God, now we are His ambassadors… 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
Satan has a plan to alienate and separate us from God and each other.  You and I need to repent and forgive.

Unity Pledge

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am committed to the unity and harmony intended for His Body, the Church.  I repent and ask forgiveness for any way I have alienated others.  I share remorse for every thought, word, or action that has divided the Church.  I will forgive those who have sinned against me.  I will pray for the unity and harmony of God’s people.  And I will work with other Christians to move beyond any racial barriers, demonstrating the unity of the Glory of Christ our Lord.

Risk-taking in ministry

It is in the heat of urban risk-taking ministry that some of the most innovative and energetic ministries have been developed, which are still used today.

  1. After-school, mentoring, tutoring and other special programs sponsored by indigenous churches
  2. Long-term commitments to disciple indigenous leaders
  3. Training, teaching, and ministry development standards
  4. Bridge teams and young teen programs
  5. 10 Keys of the Kingdom and 7 MIT with song

Location and Place

Are you willing to stay and serve the Lord in a community of need? Living and serving in the city comes with a cost.  You experience life as your neighbors.  You struggle in the city with those that you intend to minister and help.  You share the struggle.  You have a bond – common ground to work from, which builds a trusting relationship.

There is a refreshing movement that blows through urban streets of America today.  It’s called incarnational ministry, which is simply to live and be enriched by the people you minister to.  Whether you presently work on the inside with city kids, effective ideas are born in the city and will inspire your creativity and enhance your ministry.

Networking

Again, focus on networking with others in the community to build capacity and sustainability.  A God-given vision will be inclusive of His Kingdom at-large. Indigenous partners and leadership with the same vision will empower people in the Kingdom if done long-term.  Here are a few areas to consider networking for capacity-building, sustainability, and effectiveness in the city:

  1. Organizations, cohorts, and initiatives that network in the city
  2. Church Partnerships
  3. Innovative Outreach Events
  4. Creative Ministries
  5. Diversity and Development

Strategic Planning

This is not the last or least important component of implementing and growing a city ministry.  I saved it last to emphasize its fluid and/or organic nature.  Its value is immense, thus, used throughout every aspect of developing a strong ministry to city kids.  Strategic planning towards implementation is just that — strategic!  So, this aspect will always be evaluated and tweaked as changes occur in the city, community, staffing, dynamics of individual neighborhoods, etc.

Prayer for spiritual transformation of the city sectors by the Ekklesia is vital for successful outcomes of a strategic plan targeting communities, schools, and city kids.

I am providing you a link to see a proposed strategic plan for CEF City Kids USA.  You will notice that it is currently a proposal.  The plan leverages the use of the 10 Keys of the Kingdom.  It has various metrics to evaluate progress over 3 years.  It also has space for scaling and changes depending on its success and reception by the CEF family.  This proposed strategic plan is focused on vision-casting, leadership development, and risk-taking during its first 3 years.

Your values, heart, and vision matter to city kids and youth

Having Godly Values

Why are core values important?

  1. Values provide the foundation for formulating goals and giving direction for ministry.
  2. Most strategic plans fail because values are not articulated when starting the process.
  3. Conflict arises often due to differing values.

What are ‘Key Questions’ in determining your core values?

  1. What is your ministry and/or organization supposed to be doing?
  2. What do you get passionate about?
  3. How do you invest your time and money?
  4. For what do you (your ministry) want to be remembered?
  5. Are these values action oriented?
  6. Does your (ministry’s) action or behavior demonstrate or address these core values?

Having a Godly Vision

What is Vision?

  1. Desires fruitful outcomes in ministry initiatives
  2. Describes what the ministry will look like in five years
  3. Develops a mental image that motivates people

Where do you connect with a Godly Vision?

  1. Catch God’s perspective on reality
  2. Recognize God’s desire for all people
  3. The flow of God’s redemptive purposes
  4. Seek God’s specific assignments
  5. By empowering God’s indigenous people

How can you know the vision comes from God?

  1. Listen during prayer
  2. Seek/Ask for God’s wisdom and counsel
  3. Minister with others who share the same vision
  4. Promotes faith rather than fear
  5. Motivates people to action which multiplies
  6. Requires risk-taking
  7. Glorifies God, not people

Having Godly Resources

Time: It may take fifteen years to develop indigenous urban leadership.  What are the implications when this decision is made? Are you willing to make such a commitment to the Lord for city kids?  Staying and Serving  This type of commitment is rare and not for the weak.  Will your vision be focused on making a long-term commitment?

Networking: It’s a must, biblically and practically, if you are going to survive and thrive in the city. A God-given vision will be inclusive of His Kingdom at-large.  Indigenous partners and leadership with the same vision will empower people and sustain the mission if done long-term.

Favor: As you labor faithfully and consistently, look for people, programs, and pulpits within the community that will supply the needs and gain ownership of the vision. Look in the city.  There is a vault of resources that cannot be found anywhere else.

God is saying “Go” to the people… yet in the omni-matrix of God, He is saying “Come” join me in the city where I AM at work. I AM here. It is good. Also… if people are empowered and equipped, they already have all the resources needed to solve their own problems. We need to stop trying solve people’s problems and issues,

John E. Blake & Dr. John Perkins

Look for Part 7 soon How To Implement a City Kids Strategy, which will wrap up this series of articles on Developing a Heart for the City and City Kids

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,232 other followers

Find a subject

John E. Blake tweets