I went with teenagers to Acquire the Fire this weekend. Acquire the Fire is the spark that, years ago, ignited my love of missions and sent me to Africa and India.
The past couple of days have been amazing. I had several moments of reflection and even revelation that were quite meaningful. Hopefully I can write about those later. But for tonight I just would like to share a story of thankfulness with you.
Standing in a huge arena filled with young people, I was moved to tears to see such a group worshiping God with so much passion. Watching this generation of God-seekers come into their own offered to me a gift of Hope.
Working with young people is fun, but can also sometimes be challenging. So often they are facing life-changing decisions and actions . . . there is so much to be worked through as we transition from childhood into adulthood.
During a moments of prayer and adoration, I looked out over the 25 young people who I know and love and my heart cried out to God on their behalf. One by one, I entered into intercession for each of my young friends, calling them out by name to our Lord, when suddenly I was overcome with a wave of emotion.
The realization that seventeen years ago, I was standing in the same room.
I was the young person.
And someone may have been praying just as hard for me.
I went to several Acquire the Fires when I was young. Other times, I cried at restaurants with my youth pastor and his wife, or I sat on couches and told a leader of my confusion and pain. And although I was completely unaware of it at the time, although I didn’t escape my teenage years without problems, last night I was very aware that I am in a good place today, in part because of faithful people in my life back then who gave of themselves: listening to me, talking to me. and praying for me. Last night, I was never more thankful for the leaders of my past – and I pray that wherever they are in their journey they will reap blessings of joy – the reward of a selfless and diligent life.
Prayer is a gift that often goes unseen and unthanked, but it’s transforming power is unfathomable. I am beyond thankful for those who have cared enough to pray for me.