A Prayer for the Next Generations
So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
not forgetting his glorious miracles
and obeying his commands.
Then they will not be like their ancestors—
stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
refusing to give their hearts to God.
The headlines are not encouraging for the future of faith. It seems like every other week, I read some story about how the next generations are more secular and less religious than my generation and those that have come before me. Increasingly, folks under 30 seem to be satisfied with no faith in God or with a generic religiosity that bears little resemblance to orthodox Christianity.
I’m sure the surveys behind these unsettling news stories have accurately captured some dimensions of faith among the next generations. Yet I am not discouraged. In part, I trust that God is in charge and will work all things for his purposes. But, in the context of my work with Foundations for Laity Renewal (of which Laity Lodge is a part), I have met dozens of younger Christians whose faith is solid. Moreover, in ways that surpass the norm of my own generation, these under-30 Christians are exceptionally thoughtful about their faith, perhaps because in their generation you can’t slide by with lukewarm Christianity. Furthermore, they are exceptionally engaged in the world, seeking to live out their faith in a transformational way in every part of life.
For example, not long ago, I met with several vibrant believers who feel called to serve the Lord in New York City. As I listened to their stories, as I heard about their vision for cultural engagement, I felt encouraged. Yes, there may be fewer members of the next generations who check the “Christian” box on surveys, but there are many for whom being a Christian is much, much more than checking a box. It’s their calling, their commitment, their passion.
So, today I am praying for the next generations. I am praying for those who have rejected the shallow faith that is common among members of my generation, but have yet to find anything to replace it. I am praying for those who, cheered on by the “new atheists,” have rejected God. And I am praying for those Christians who are seeking to serve Christ in a world-transforming way. I’d invite you to join me.QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you know any under-30 Christians who are actively seeking to serve Christ in their daily lives? (Are you one of these people?) Are you praying for them? Would you be willing to pray for them on a regular basis?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, today, I want to pray for the next generations. I think of those who make the headlines because of their lack of faith or their confusion about faith. I ask you to reveal yourself to them, to draw them to your love and grace.
I pray also for those who have said “no” to you. May they see through the distortions of the “new atheists.” And may they see beyond the failures of Christians to live as people of love and truth.
I pray for those who have chosen relationship with you, even when this requires them to swim against the cultural tide. I thank you for their thoughtfulness, their vision, their faithfulness. Help them, dear Lord, to continue to grow in your grace. May they bring renewal to your church. And may they find ways to live out their faith in the world, serving you each day in all they do.
All praise be to you, God of all generations. Amen.
Here’s how . . . .
This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.