We have Forerunner Basic Training (FBT) at RHOP on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. to train up forerunners (ages 8 to 18) in the place of prayer. The first hour is typically worship and teaching of the Word on topics pertaining to intimacy with Jesus and the urgency of the hour, along with the seven commitments of a forerunner. (Pray Daily, Fast Weekly, Do Justly, Live Holy, Give Extravagantly, Lead Diligently and Speak Boldly) Then we typically do a prayer walk around the property, praying over needs in the community. The last hour is a time for the kids to spread out in the prayer room for personal prayer, intercession and meditating on the Word through worship, art, writing, pacing around the room, or just sitting still and waiting on God. We recently put down a “life line” as a visual reminder to pray for the ending of abortion, for mothers who are considering abortion or healing for those who have had one, for those considering suicide to “choose life” and for others throughout the city who are bound by addictions. At any point during the time of intercession, they can go over and stand or kneel on the line and cry out for Life. My daughter, Savannah, (age 10) has worn a life band and committed to wear black on fridays (abortionblackout.com) as a reminder to pray for life for babies. She has also made a commitment to pray at RHOP on Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m. in addition to her devotion time each day (we call it “daily appointment with the King”). I know some would say, “that’s too much” or “aren’t you expecting too much?” I honestly think we expect far too little from our children. My dad was a principal, coach, teacher, counselor and mentor and he always used to say, “Children will rise to the level of expectation you set for them.” I struggled with my lack of puppet skills or fun activities when the Lord first called me to train up forerunners. That is, until I went to the Signs and Wonders Camp at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City last year. I attended one of the evening sessions and though they had a couple of fun games for fifteen minutes before the meeting started, those kids (ages 8-12) worshipped and prayed for themselves and each other and their cities and nation, etc. for THREE HOURS. It went by so fast and I was astonished. I was corrected and challenged that day that my expectations were way too low.
When the Israelites were entering into the promised land, God had high expectations for His children:
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” –Deut. 6:6-9
I marvel sometimes at what Daniel’s parents must have been like. Taken away into captivity as a young boy and immersed in a pagan culture, he knew how to “get ahold of God” and continued to fast and pray at regular times throughout his lifetime, NO MATTER WHAT happened to him or how he might have been threatened or persecuted. The hour is urgent and in the coming Storm, I want to know that my daughter is trained in such a way that no matter what happens, she will have so hidden the Word in her heart and have developed such habitual disciplines that she will KNOW how to get ahold of God, to grab hold of the “Life Line” of prayer. Don’t get me wrong–she is still a normal ten year-old who would play the Wii or nintendo ds for hours if i would let her. But I don’t, because I know that when chaos hits or tragedy strikes, it is not knowing how to get to “world 5” on Super Mario Bros. that will help her. It is the Word of God and prayer. The Lord showed me once that if I stopped feeding her natural food or even if I let her binge on junk food all day every day, it would be considered child abuse. Yet, we starve our children from the “spiritual food” found in the Word and let them “binge” on spiritual junk food (i.e., video games, television, texting, surfing the internet). God help us. No, really, let’s pray that right now. God HELP US as parents to teach this “generation of Jacob” to wrestle with God in the place of prayer as Jacob did and not let go until He blesses them–until their “walk” is different, until He changes their name and their character.
These mighty warriors in our homes are World-changers, History-makers. Forerunners. In the past year of FBT, we have seen families saved, sick bodies healed, bondages broken and relationships restored because a few kids found the “Life Line” and refused to let go. They are the “John the Baptist” generation that will prepare the way of the Lord. We must train them because if we don’t, no one else will. We must train them in the disciplines of prayer and fasting (even if from candy or video games for a day) and study of the Word.
They are not too young to stand on the Life Line.