Adults, articles

You Can’t Google That

They come in each Monday, flitting from friend to friend with the latest fad, toy, or electronic something-or-other to show during their own designated time of show-and-tell. Chaos abounds as they share their day’s activities and latest mobile device game. Between high pitch squeals, giggles, and “no-adults-allowed” cliques, I attempt to draw them away from the clamor to quietness, from distraction to attention, and from life… to LIFE.  Life as we used to know it has changed, but LIFE has not.

I teach a kids prayer class each week at my church. For one hour kids from five to twelve meet for worship and focused intercession. I lead it. I love it. I enjoy it. I wish I had such a class when I grew up. I go across the world teaching kids prayer to adults because I firmly believe that if we can train our kids to pray now, then we will have less to “fix” when they are adults. But there is no magic formula for getting kids to pray. There’s no twelve-step program or curriculum that transforms kids into mighty prayer warriors. I wish there were – my job would be easier.

As a kids prayer trainer I get one hour a week with kids who have been saturated with technology and media to the point where they no longer know what “quiet time” with God means. They wake up in the morning and roll over to iPads, iPhones, and video games. Their classes at school are integrated with the Internet and videos.  Videos have become a “necessity”, not a luxury. If they don’t know something, they just Google it or find an app that will tell them. They sit on couches with a remote beside them, a mobile phone they text on, while playing a game on their latest tablet. Then, they walk into our churches and we struggle with getting their attention, and keeping it in prayer for anything longer than a pre-snack blessing. The sad thing is, this is not the exception, it is the norm, and it’s why they struggle – and many adults now struggle – with having a relationship with God.  This can’t be fixed with just one hour a week or one kids conference a year; it takes the other 99% of the week and those with influence in their life.

So, I implore, I beseech, no… I beg the mothers, father, grandparents, teachers, and mentors of our young people to put down the remotes, turn off the Wi-Fi, and silence the voice of the World so our kids can hear the voice of God. If you want them to develop a prayer life then they are going to have to hear His voice, because in a world of constant social interaction they aren’t going to keep talking to a wall. They need to know that He is real, and He is not an online fantasy character or imaginary “friend.” 

There will come a time individually, or as a society, that we will not be able to fix a problem with technology. When sirens scream, when war is outside our back door, when destruction comes again, when the Internet fails, will your young people be able go to an electronic god or a real God that will answer their cry? When they are lonely and yet have hundreds of online “friends” will they know who to they can talk to? They won’t, if we don’t show them, and if we don’t lead them. They can’t Google God – He must be found and that only happens through prayer. 

– Colleen Clabaugh (World Network of Prayer – Kids & Youth Prayer Coordinator)


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