For several years now, I have been translating, adapting and distributing resource materials relating to Viva's World Weekend of Prayer (WWP) for children at risk. I have been doing this as part of my work with Unión Bíblica (Scripture Union Spain), rather than through formal contact with Viva themselves.
Prayer is an integral part of Scripture Union's aim of "encouraging people of all ages to meet God daily through the Bible and prayer". Intercessory prayer is part and parcel of "meeting God", especially prayer on behalf of those who are closest to God's heart - i.e. vulnerable and needy children - and this in itself is a response to the reading of Bible passages such as "A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in his holy habitation" (Psalm 68:5).
This year I translated Viva's WWP poster, PowerPoint presentation and 5 prayer sessions for children. I am happy that through Unión Bíblica's partnership with La Semilla de Trigo (the Spanish branch of Grain de Blé / Grain of Wheat) and the Asociación de Educadores Evangélicos de Madrid (Madrid Christian Educators' Association), we have been able to promote this material to a wider circle of contacts through e-mail distribution, Facebook posts, digital prayer bulletins, etc.
I have already received some feedback from churches who have used these prayer resources, including the following comment:
"I am using this wonderful material you attached with my children in Sunday School and we are really making the most of it. They actually keep quiet and show great interest in the stories displayed in it, and pray!!!! which is a great task for them. Thank you for sharing this material with all who love and teach children." RosaMy own church at Castiñeiras (A Coruña), in NW Spain, decided to take part in WWP for the first time this year. The Sunday School children had already worked with some of the translated prayer materials on the Sundays leading up to the WWP and the 2-hour meeting I had with them on Saturday 5th June. Sixteen children, aged 6-13 years of age, attended this special meeting. They enjoyed expressing their feelings and reactions to the situations depicted in the prayer resources by means of half an hour of free art response. Then they rehearsed songs and Bible readings for a 30 minute presentation they would be taking part in during the morning service the next day at church. Finally, the children and their teachers engaged in a short time of prayer.
This gathering was also important for me, as it was the first real interaction I have been able to have with the children as a group since I joined the church earlier in the year.
Yesterday (Sunday 6th June), we celebrated WWP with the whole congregation. The church leaders had already decided to shift the normal morning service to the evening, and had announced that arrangement the Sunday before, so that the maximum amount of time could be devoted in the morning to prayer for children at risk. About 100 people attended the all-age morning service, which included a display of the children's art responses from the day before, the adapted WWP PowerPoint presentation, case studies from the translated lesson materials, Bible readings led by the children, songs, congregational responses and open prayer. Several of the church members approached me after the service with positive remarks expressing a desire to continue celebrating the WWP in future years.
It's vital to pray for children at risk in today's world. Even more strategic is when children themselves are involved in praying for other children - this is a powerful means of grace in God's hands. Viva estimate that around 3 million people may have taken part this year in WWP events around the globe - over half of which will have been children!