Ted: Hello, friends! I am delighted that once again my wonderful wife, Nancy, is joining us as we address a very important topic--children who are at risk, and what are some of the things we, as Christians, we can do to help them.
Nancy: Thank you, Ted. As we all know, we live in a sinful, fallen world, and along with sin comes suffering. And of all the pain in this world, the most difficult and heart wrenching is when we see innocent children suffering. Thousands of children around the world are at risk. Many face abuse, neglect, hunger, trafficking to other countries, and much more. Children at risk need to be protected and helped so they can experience God's love and grow in His grace. They need our prayers.
Ted: Children are very precious to God, and when Jesus was here on Earth He showed a special interest and care for them. We see this clearly as recorded in
Mark 10:13-16: "Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.' And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them."
Nancy: Furthermore, Jesus took very seriously the spiritual education and training of children and gave one of the strongest rebukes in the Bible against those who would lead His children astray.
In Mark 9:42 He says, "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea."
Ted: So, what can we do to help children, especially those who may be in very difficult circumstances due to their family situations, abuse, neglect, and more? First of all, and very importantly, we can pray for them. Each year, the Adventist Children's Ministries department at the General Conference sponsors a World Day of Prayer for Children at Risk. This year, that special day is Sabbath, May 22. It is a day where Seventh-day Adventists of all ages--men and women, boys and girls, young people and the aged--set aside time to pray especially for the girls and boys who are suffering from various circumstances in which they find themselves through no fault of their own. You can learn more about this World Day of Prayer by visiting the Children’s Ministries website focusing on Special Days.
Nancy: While praying is vitally important, there are other actions we can take to help the most vulnerable among us. First, is to be aware. Are there children in your church, in your community, who might be in vulnerable situations? Be in tune and look for ways to show an extra measure of love and compassion toward them. Committed, godly Seventh-day Adventist Christians can have a profound impact on the life of a child or young person as they lead them to love Jesus and trust Him so completely that they feel free to talk with Him about anything that concerns them or brings them joy—to instill in them, that no matter what is causing them pain, they can share it with Jesus and He will understand.
Ted: Take time to learn the names of the children and young people in your church. Show them you are truly interested in them by listening and encouraging them. Take time to pray with and for them, and teach them to build their faith upon the rock that is Jesus Christ and His mighty Word--the Bible!
Nancy: And it is especially important that children who may not have a happy home on earth understand that they are deeply loved by their Heavenly Father and are a part of His family. In the wonderful book, Child Guidance, we read:
"God wants every child of tender age to be His child, to be adopted into His family. Young though they may be, the youth may be members of the household of faith and have a most precious experience. They may have hearts that are tender and ready to receive impressions that will be lasting. They may have their hearts drawn out in confidence and love for Jesus, and live for the Saviour. Christ will make them little missionaries" (p. 486).
Ted: I invite you to join us in praying for children everywhere during this special World Day of Prayer for Children at Risk. Let's pray together just now.
Father in heaven, you are the Father. You watch over your children. And there are many children who are abused, neglected, in difficulty. Lord, please be with them in a very special way. Help them to know that you care and that you will help them find a better way. And Lord, help us to be alert and aware of those who are around us, especially young people, children who need a word of encouragement. Help us to be channels of light and encouragement from you, from the throne room of heaven, so children will know that you are their father. Now Lord, thank you for hearing us and bless as people pray all around this globe for the special day of prayer for children at risk. And we thank you that one day soon we will all be together in a perfect place, where there will be no more abuse or neglect and we will be with you, our Heavenly Father. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.