INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR CHILDREN 2014

International Day of Prayer for Children 2014

A Day of Prayer for Children will be held on Sunday 30 March 2014.

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Background

The following statistics were shared during January’s General’s Consultative Council (taken from 44 countries across the five zones where The Salvation Army is operating):

Young people under the age of 24 constitute half the global population, with 1.2 billion between the ages of 10 and 19 (Crossette and Kollodge 2011). Four key issues emerge from this trend:

  1. The challenge to provide food, shelter, health and education.
  2. The economic and political impact of ‘bulge’ numbers of young adults in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) countries.
  3. The impact of demographic and technological change on patterns of marriage, family and social life.
  4. The increased importance and impact of global child/youth culture.
     

2013 statistics

  • Each year, 40 million children are subjected to abuse 
  • Suicide is the third highest cause of death among adolescents worldwide
  • Approximately 20% of women and up to 10% of men report being sexually abused as children, while between a quarter and a half of all children report being physically abused
  • 3 million young girls are subjected to genital mutilation every year
  • Family, faith communities and religious/sacred texts are considered foundations and predictors of spiritual vibrancy
  • Youth scored highest on each of the foundational factors, as well as wholeness and spiritual vibrancy
  • Christian youth demonstrate the highest levels of wholeness and spiritual vibrancy
  • Hispanic and European countries scored lowest on wholeness and spiritual vibrancy.

Under 15 years of age (9 or 10 year-olds are considered teenagers)
 

Family 

68% of parents are married.
56% feel loved in their home.

Teens with married parents are less likely to engage in:

  • Substance abuse
  • Sex
  • Violent behaviour.

Teens with negative family experiences report:

  • Highest suicidal tendencies
  • More permissive sexual attitudes.

Family life, therefore, is one of the biggest influences on teen behaviour. Research suggests that, regardless of the family composition, it is the degree of positive family experience that determines positive outcomes. We need to reach and instruct parents in how to spend more quality time with their children while they have the opportunity. We must guide our youth and children’s leaders to engage with them in the best way to attract them to the Christian family.
 

Questions

What is our responsibility for the world’s children?

How can we help to provide food, shelter, health, and education for them?

How can we as a corps be as family to children in need of love and care?

 

Prayer

Lord, we are burdened by the responsibility for our children, your children. We pray for children who are orphans and those who live in broken families or suffer neglect or abuse. Have mercy on them! Lord, have mercy on us and help us, by your grace, to fulfil our responsibilities towards the children of the world.

 

Faith

59% believe that something is morally or ethically right if it 'works for them'.
19% read the Bible daily or weekly.

Teens who read the Bible at least monthly report:

  • Better relationships with parents, purpose for living and religious beliefs
  • Fewer sexual experiences, substance abuse, crime, lying and physical aggression.

Teens who have a high level of Bible engagement are:

  • Nearly four times as likely to believe that prayer can change what happens in life
  • Over five times more likely to recall a time when their religious beliefs changed the way they behaved.

In summary, Bible engagement provides the strongest influence on positive teen behaviour. We must pray for and guide our children, communicating with them in a way that challenges them, but also in a way they will understand.
 

Questions

If our lives were the only ‘Bible translation’ available to our youth, what kind of gospel would they come to understand?

How do we read, share and live the Bible together with our young people?

 

Prayer

Lord, we pray that all over the world more children and young people will come to know you and build their lives on the foundation of your Word.

 

Media

76% search the web at least weekly
78% admit that television is influential

Regardless of faith or family experience, children and teens with high media exposure report the highest levels of:

  • Substance abuse
  • Sex-related behaviour – pornography and engaging in sex.

Searching and chatting on the web is one of the most popular and influential forms of media worldwide (compared to television or music).
 

Summary: All children are precious to the Lord. Media influence is linked to some of the most destructive child and teen behaviour – sex, crime and substance abuse.
 

Questions

Explore together what it is like to be a child in today’s world.

How can we listen to the voice of children and get a better understanding of their situation?

 

Prayer

Lord, we ask you to help us hear the cry of our children and become advocates for youth and children in our society. Help us to create room for children in the church, promote their place in our life and worship so that they can ‘be themselves’ and develop as you would have them develop. Help us also to humbly listen to them and learn from them.


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