The next generation for Jesus

Thirty years ago this month, I drove 700 miles with my parents to enroll at what is now called Oklahoma Wesleyan University. One of the prized possessions in the vehicle was a brand new Smith Corona, an auto-correct, electric typewriter.

I was ready for college in many ways, yet not in others. High school was in the rearview mirror. Many of life’s choices were coming down the road of life. I remember hugging my mom and saying good-bye to my dad. When they left, I bawled like a baby. I was alone, and it was scary. Everyone was happy and uneasy simultaneously. The “rite of passage” had begun. It was a huge transition both for me and my parents, who became empty-nesters that year.

This scene has been repeated in our household recently and will happen again next fall. As always, my thoughts turn to curiosity and prayer. I wonder if my parents felt then what I feel now or if they wondered about the variety of possible influences and decisions that would affect me. Did they wonder if they had prepared me well enough? I know one thing they knew: they believed in me. They believed in my personal faith in Jesus and knew I had the right ethos for living diligently and passionately. They knew I had the right foundation for living a godly life. I knew they believed in me because of how they invested in those first 18 years of my life.

I believe the same things for my children. While I wonder what life will be like for them, I believe in their foundation and future for Christ. The communities they will impact and the churches they engage with are in good hands. And I pray for them–prayers that are probably similar to how my own parents prayed for me:

  • Lord, give them and protect a deeper, daily relationship with you.
  • Use them for your purposes to grow your kingdom here on earth and in heaven.
  • Guard over their hearts and minds as others continue teach them.
  • Guide them in their friendships, including the one they will potentially unite with in marriage.
  • Keep them pure.
  • May they tangibly experience your grace and truth every day.
  • Help them show the grace of Jesus always.
  • Help them stand for the truth of Jesus always.
  • Help them know that older generations believe in them as church leaders.
  • May they always walk with and serve you with gladness.
  • Amen!

Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.