Last week me with a few friends headed out to Westminster, Maryland. We were ministering at Faith Christian School, during their spring spiritual emphasis week.
All week, we were walking through the story of Daniel from the Old Testament. It's amazing how many parallels exist between what young Daniel experienced and the realities that young people in America are confronted with. Though the language, context and era's differ drastically, the core essence of the imposing challenges have a striking resemblance.
On Thursday, we were looking at how God spoke to Daniel, placed things inside Daniel's heart and mind, and purposed to use Daniel to influence his generation and the culture around him. We proposed the question: "What if God desires to speak to us and like Daniel? What if God's purpose is to use us to influence our generation and the culture around us? What would He say to us? What would He say to you?"
It was during this time at the morning chapel, which consisted of Kindergarten to fifth grade, that I had Ashlynn (one of our team members) come forward. Ashylnn is an eleven-year-old fifth grader. She shared that this past fall, she asked God that very question, "God, what do you want to use me to do to change the world around me?" She immediately heard God speak to her. "Ashylnn," God said, "I want you to go to a nursing home and pray for sick people."
"That afternoon," Ashylnn shared, "I called my grand-father and asked him if he would come and pick me up and take me to a nursing home." He came. They went. And, Ashlynn began praying for sick people. (Did I mention it was in a nursing home?) Ashlynn, then began to share of some things God spoke to her after she did that and the outcomes.
After she finished, I simply turned to the room full of K-5th graders and asked, "Anybody have any questions for Ashlynn?" Immediately, hands went up all over the room. And for the next twenty-five minutes these children asked question after question about hearing God, how to know if it's really God. I've been in settings with adults and not heard some of the questions I heard from these little ones.
Ashlynn answered question after question... She shared how God speaks to her. The learning process she's journeyed to understand what's her thoughts and that which is God's, and how to listen. She broke out into a mini-workshop on the various ways God speaks to us today. From thoughts in our minds, to mental pictures, to visions, to dreams, and so forth. Did I mention she's eleven?
Every little eye was peering forward, bottoms had moved to the edge of the seats, bodies leaning forward, as ears were tuned into what was being said. At the same time, there was a sacred sense beginning to fill the room. These children actually began to believe that God could speak to them, through them, in such a way to actually use them to change the world around them. I'm not sure which was a cooler sight, the look on these kid's faces as they heard this, or the expression on the teacher's faces as they were realizing she was simply sharing from personal knowledge, study and experience without any clue sheet, cue card or guided prompting from an adult.
When we finished with this time, we handed out paper plates and markers. We had the students spread out around the room and simply ask God the question that was earlier proposed. The question that simply gives God space to speak into our lives, into our circumstances, how He longs for us to be the change. We started with simply saying, "God, what do you want me to do this summer?" Within a few minutes, many of the students had stuff written on their plates.
We wrapped up by having children pray with one another about what God had spoken to them. Several of them shared with the whole group what they were to do... Amazing, absolutely amazing, not to mention inspiring. God is so creative!