Charles Francis Adams, the 19th-century political figure and diplomat had the habit of keeping a diary.

One day he entered in his diary stating: “Went fishing with my son today – a day wasted.” His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still in existence.

On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry writing: “Went fishing with my father–the most wonderful day of my life!” 

See here the father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. 

The only way to tell the difference between wasting and investing is to know one’s ultimate purpose in life and to judge accordingly. The theme for our meditation is “Children First”

Then Jesus took a child and made him stand before the crowd. He put his hands around the child and said, “Whoever welcomes in my name one of these children welcomes me…”

Let us Pray:

Father, hear us, we are praying.
Hear the words our hearts are saying.
We are praying for our children.

Keep them from the powers of evil,
from the secret, hidden peril.
From the world ling’s hollow gladness,
from the sting of faithless sadness,
Father, keep our children.

Through life’s troubled waters steer them.
Through life’s bitter battles cheer them.
Father, be thou near them.

And wherever they may bide,
lead them home at eventide.

In Jesus’ name, we pray Amen!

Today, millions of children in the world have suffered torment at a very young age. Statistics show that there are

  • One million children who become prostitutes every year.
  • Thirty-five thousand children die of malnutrition and preventable disease.
  • Forty million children are aborted every year.
  • One hundred million children live on the streets.
  • Two hundred million children work at adult jobs And More than 1 billion children are at risk.

Such devastating figures can overwhelm us. We feel inadequate to combat such blatant misery. What can we do?

How can we possibly make a difference? How is our attitude today in dealing with children in homes, schools or important gatherings? Do leaders and the rest of adults think of children first or they are always the last to be served?

The Bible in (Jeremiah 1:4,5) tells us that “All children are blessed and consecrated by God to be useful members of the community”.

Proverbs 22:6 instructs us to train every child in the right way so that s/he is nurtured into a responsible person when he or she grows up.

Training may be through Sunday school, Bible classes; after school programs but the most important form of training is the education the child gets through daily interaction with adults.

Yes! Children learn everything they see their parents, guardians, teachers and other adults do. The behaviours of our young people today reflect our own behaviours in families, schools and communities at large.

There is a need to examine how much we are influencing our children to adopt positive behaviours before we blame them for failing to meet our unrealistic expectations.

Condition of Children Today

Today, many children worldwide spend more time with teachers than with their parents or guardians. What do the teachers do with our children to model them into responsible citizens?

Most heartbreaking is the tendency for parents to push their children to school with high expectations that the teacher will help shape the behaviour of the child.

The teacher too pushes the child to the parent with the same assumption so that in the long run, the child is left hanging with nobody to nurture him or her.

These children may end up dropping out of school, joining drug and substance abuse gangs, and committing crimes.

In this case, who takes the blame; the child, the parent or the teacher? Little is left to wonder that they have nowhere to run for guidance?

Children begin to be more confused about how to live their lives because they are unable to tell who will protect their rights and who will not.

How can we create a conducive environment for our children to live freely and not be enslaved by their own society?

Children – A Gift from God

Ensuring children’s rights and survival must be a collective responsibility by parents/guardians, teachers, communities and government.

The family and the Church should re-examine their approach in dealing with children in their places of worship to allow them to reclaim their rightful position in society that is, unfortunately, fading away due to injustices within.

In all we do with or for children, let’s remind ourselves daily that children are a gift from God.

Friends! we can all pray for our children who are at risk. Yes! Prayer releases God’s power. He moves on our behalf when our request lines up with His will.

Yet so many of us don’t know how to begin praying. This is why the World-Wide Day of Prayer for Children at Risk was launched: to encourage intercession for the millions of suffering children in the world.

Cultivating Spiritual Learning

Let’s teach our children to pray for other children. As Christians, we cannot ignore suffering.

Likewise, as God has entrusted us to bring our children up for Him, He requires that we train our children in the family to be little lights in a dark world.

Prayer is the first place to begin. And exposing them to the plight of hurting children cultivates compassion to motivate their prayers.

Spiritual Formation in the Church

Prayer is especially a church affair. Many churches are unaware of the para-church organizations’ activities.

Remember, ignorance is not bliss — especially for those needy children. Maybe God is waiting for someone to expose the need by talking with church leaders, pastors and congregations who should be made aware and invited willingly to pray.

An initiative by the Sunday School teachers to involve our Sunday school children – teaching them to include and pray for the suffering children’s needs would greatly bless the spiritual formation in the initial years of their lives.

God’s Word promises results for our prayers. 1 Samuel 30 demonstrates that David and his men were devastated by the captivity of their women and children.

We too can be deeply burdened for the world’s children cruelly taken captive by God’s enemy. Like David, we must release the burden to God and follow His instructions.

As we persevere in prayer this week for the children at risk together, God’s response to David provides impetus saying in (1 Samuel 30:8). “You will certainly succeed in the rescue”

May the Lord the Lord bless us and grant success while we all strive to pray for the children at risk. In the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - Amen.

Photo by bill wegener on Unsplash
Rev. Dr. Joel Patrick is currently working as the Associate Professor in Communication at Bishop's College, Kolkata.