Leaving a Legacy of Prayer

Have you ever thought about the legacy you are leaving behind?  I’m sure we all have at one time or another, especially when it comes to family.  How about at church? When it comes to church, specifically Mariners’ Church, have you ever thought who will fill the pews in 40-50 years, once most of us are long gone?  What will they look like?  Who will they be?  Will they develop a passion for God because of what they see in the generations before them?

“A House of Prayer for all People” has been our motto, catch-phrase, or purpose statement since the late 1800’s.  I love this long standing statement developed by those who once worshipped in our pews.  “A house of prayer” is pulled directly from how Jesus defines a house of worship in Luke 19:46.  The outward focus of the phrase “for all people” is perfect for a place that wants the whole city to feel welcomed.

This should be part of our desired legacy once we are gone.  To have people from every walk of life be among us.  Having a diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and social economics allow us to learn from each other and grow.  Furthermore, it is a greater reflection of God’s heart, since he is the Creator of all.

A House of Prayer for all Children!

We also want “A House of Prayer for all people” to be for every STAGE in life.  This goes beyond a vision of a diverse and multigenerational community. It is a vision of a spiritually healthy community, which is nurturing to everyone. 

We believe it is of the utmost importance for the growth and health of our families, and our church as a whole, that we learn from each other. This is only possible if we don’t silo ourselves off in generational pockets of friends. 

This vision has always included children (and always will)!  Otherwise, who will be in the pews in 40-50 years, if the children of today don’t fall in love with God? We have the privilege of teaching them to start walking with Him from an early age.

This is why I’m very excited about what is happening in the Children’s Department, for 6 weeks, starting on April 14th.  We (Rev. Todd and Dr. Christiane) are going to be teaching the Lord’s Prayer to our children and families.  This means your grandkids, children, neighbors, and everyone you want to invite!

If we are going to be a house of prayer, we continually need to teach and practice prayer in our church, especially to the next generation.  What better way to do this than to start with the Lord’s Prayer? We will be teaching the prayer Jesus prayed in response to the disciples asking:

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name….”  Luke 11:1

Jesus was modeling prayer by doing it in front of the disciples.  They watched him get up early and stay up late praying.  This compelled them to ask, “Teach us!”

The prayer the Lord gave us is a model prayer.  Each phrase is important and rich with meaning and teaches his disciples, including us and our children, different aspects of prayer.  

This is why we will be going phrase-by-beautiful-phrase through this anointed and  important prayer.  But we don’t just want the children and grandchildren to be dropped off to learn, we want you to join them!  I love thinking about our little children’s chapel with kids, parent(s), and grandparent(s), and care-giver(s) praying together.  

Although the presentation will be intentionally for the children, the content and learning will be for everyone. It won’t just be teaching, but we will actually be praying together.  Also, we will be offering material for the parents and grandparents to take home and read.  Primarily a book called “The Lord and His Prayer” from Bishop NT Wright.  This will be sure to deepen your own prayer life and understanding of prayer even outside of our time together.

You may say, but I don’t have children or grandchildren in town.  Why are you telling me this?  I’d like to give you 3 reasons why I’m taking the time to write a letter to everyone about this important teaching for children:  

  1. We need your help  – We need your involvement to get the word out. Would you take some time to think about and invite neighbors, family, or friends with children 0-12 years old.  Even those with very small children can come and begin to learn as parents how to pray with their babies and toddlers.  There are cards you can hand or mail out with a personal invitation.  You can find them on the table outside of Charlotte’s office.  You could even just forward this email (the link at the end of the email contains the same card)
  2. We need your prayers – Would you commit to praying for the next generation of believers that will be worshiping at Mariners Church?  Pray God continues to make us a multigenerational, healthy body of believers!  Pray this class is a new start toward that long held goal.
  3. It takes a team – Even if you aren’t part of the Children’s Ministry team that so faithfully teaches our children, you can be involved on Sunday!  Come with an open heart and mind. Welcome the families, and the noises that come with small children.  Let’s not be offended easily. You can be a channel of God’s love, even (maybe, especially) to those you don’t know. Remember: we are all part of HIS big family, and we learn from these children as much as they can learn from us.

I always remember this verse when thinking about embracing children in our church.  This is what Jesus did:

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,” Matt 18:2-4

As we all think about who will be the next generation in love with God and others, pray we at Mariners can be part of raising them up and sending them out!

Blessings and Peace,

Rev. Todd and Dr. Christiane

Here is the link about our 6-week study: