Intro From Julie A. Smith:
"Children and revival?" – A thought that many of us might not think go together, but oh yes, they do! I've had dreams and visions of it.
When I was in Thailand a few years ago, I had a dream of the enemy trying to silence the voices of the abused, neglected and orphaned children there. Then I had a vision of these same children as soda pop cans. God poured Himself into these soda pop cans, shook them vigorously, popped them open – and they exploded everywhere.
God gave them powerful, prophetic voices and they stood in the face of the enemy and said, "No more!" to the abuse around them. These simple words, "No more!" started a revival in their environment, and the enemy became terrified of them.
Read this word by David Walters about some amazing accounts of children from Scripture, and from the days of John Wesley who ignited a move with children. Be encouraged, pray, and let's get behind what God wants to do with the children in this present day and hour.
Julie A. Smith, Editor
The Elijah List
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Did You Know That Revival Often Comes Through Children?
This article is from David Walters' book, "Children Aflame," which accounts of how God moved so powerfully through little children in both John Wesley's meetings (about 1725 AD) and in his and his wife's Kathie's meetings.
Traditionally, children in the Church have been regarded as cute, sometimes bothersome, little things that we have to oversee. Parents look for churches that will take care of their little ones while they can enjoy the service without interference from their children – a welcome break from parenting responsibility. Most churches have tried to accommodate by designing exciting, high-action programs for the kids to enjoy.
Their argument is this, "Of course we want to give children some spiritual input, but we must remember they are only kids with short attention spans and limited understanding, so let's have nothing too deep."
Games, videos, puppets, clowns, balloons, and fun with some spiritual content is the emphasis. Spiritual dessert, or spiritual candy, becomes their main diet, and although most of us like desserts and candy, we cannot eat only those things.
I am not attacking spiritual fun things; I believe they have a value, but not at the expense of radical preaching with signs and wonders. If we major on the fun and games for our kids, rather than their spiritual potential, we will see a large children's church evolve into a small youth group.
Most of the churches I have visited have more children in the church than youth. Why is this? It's caused by dropout. Because many youth outgrow the little fun and games that they had in children's church, and now they have lost interest in staying around. We have failed to give them a sense of destiny and purpose.
Making Our Children Mighty For God
The first book I wrote was called "Kids In Combat." I guess that is rather a strange title when it's relating to kids. Years ago, we were happy enough to raise our kids to be good. Most parents want their children to turn out good. It wasn't that difficult to achieve it forty years ago, but today, good is no longer good enough. Satan has an all-out attack on our children. They are being born into the war zone, so they must be dressed for battle. Parents cannot protect their children by tying them to their apron strings; they must be dressed in the full armor of God.
When I teach children on Ephesians 6, I tell them that God has armor to fit every size of child. When kids are allowed to watch occult cartoons, and our youth watch MTV, they are heading for trouble. The public school has become a war zone, so wimpy religious kids will not make it in that environment. If children and youth find it hard to enter in and praise God in the church service, they certainly will not be bold at school or in the marketplace.
If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you have trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5
Unless we can make our children mighty for God when they are young, they will not make it as they grow older. We will lose them to the world.
"So, how do we make our children mighty for God?" someone may ask. We must start ministering the presence of God while they are still in the womb.
Remember John the Baptist responded when Mary greeted her cousin Elizabeth: "For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy" (Luke 1:44). Also, John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb (see Luke 1:15). We cannot preach salvation messages to infants and expect them to repent and respond to an altar call, but we can minister to their spirits.
Their minds may not understand, but because they are spiritual beings, they will respond to the presence of God. That is why it is necessary to have anointed people working in the nursery. They are not there just to change diapers and feed bottles, and play with toys and coloring books, but they are called to be custodians of destiny. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). We have seen nurseries turned around from disaster areas to anointed schools of the Spirit.
No unsaved people should work in a church nursery. No teenage girls, if they are only doing it to escape the service. No negative people, who complain and talk about all the problems of the Church. Use the anointed people with a real call to the infants upon their lives. Create a wholesome spiritual atmosphere, where the presence of God is evident. Read the Word of God over the infants, pray over them, sing the songs of Zion over them; that way you will minister to their spirits.
Children Are Not Given a "Junior" Holy Spirit
Many children's pastors have become frustrated because they are never allowed to occupy the adult pulpit, even though a number of them have an awesome anointing and are very capable preachers. Although the Lord doesn't see it this way, they feel that they have been relegated solely to the "little league," so they feel barred from entering the major league. It would also be very uncommon to bring the children into the main sanctuary to testify or minister. Usually the senior pastor's policy is "out of sight, out of mind." As long as there are no serious problems, leave well alone. So we have two separate entities in the same church, and never the twain shall meet.
Serious investment in our children's spiritual development has not been popular. "After all they don't tithe, they can't do anything important." But the Lord doesn't think about them that way. Jesus said in John 21, "Feed My lambs," first before He said, "Feed My sheep." Traditionally, we have done the opposite; we have fed the sheep and thrown crumbs to the lambs.
There is no male or female, black or white, or age, in the Spirit. God is eternal, therefore He dwells in eternity, not time. Time is a man-made concept. The Spirit realm is eternal. Our names were written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world. Children and youth are not given a baby or a junior Holy Spirit when they become Christians.
The great Methodist preacher, John Wesley, wrote in his journals that "Children spoke with the wisdom of the aged" (see my book, "Children Aflame").
I tell little children that they can have children right now, and old people can still have kids; the reproductive organ in the Spirit is the mouth. When Jesus told the parable of the sower, He said the seed was the Word of God. If little ones can speak under the anointing and tell their friends about Jesus, the seed comes out of their mouths and goes into the ears of their friends. If it drops into their friend's heart, then they become pregnant with the Holy Spirit, or born again, and the little child has borne fruit or reproduced. "Be fruitful and multiply," was God's first command to man. Now he wants us, the children and the old folk, to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Kingdom.
Warriors For Christ
I have been ministering a radical message about children and youth for the last ten years, and now tremendous breakthroughs are happening in churches where the senior pastors are catching the vision. No longer are our children being locked away in a back room and baby-sat or entertained, but they are taking their place alongside the rest of the Body to become mighty warriors for Christ.
Parents are now taking responsibility to train their children up in the way they should go, according to Proverbs. This is a Scripture with a command and then a promise: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old [independent] he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). What is the way he should go? Not the child's own way, or the world's way, but God's way! Some people have said, "I raised my kids the best way I could." We don't raise kids, we raise chickens; we are to train or disciple our children. For those of us who have seriously committed to training our children, we are beginning to apprehend the promise that they will not depart from it.
Serious training of children means that we do not give them choices, but we teach them to obey. I have been in churches where people have said to me, "I wish my seven-year-old daughter would have been here tonight. Such a wonderful anointing; it was just what she needed." "Why didn't she come?" I ask. "She did not want to," is the reply. "Why didn't you make her come?" I ask. "Oh, if we force her, we will turn her off, so we are waiting until she is ready and wants to come," is often the reply.
Whether we have a twelve-year-old boy who doesn't want to come because he plans to spend the night with his friend, or a reluctant teenager, who rarely wants to come even on a Sunday, that should be unacceptable. My answer to these people is, "Oh! So when it's time to go to school, you give them a choice, do you? You don't make them take a shower, brush their teeth, eat their vegetables...you just let them do what they want?" Of course not. Why do we consider those things more important than spiritual things? Is the school teacher more important than God?
The first thing I do when I preach at churches is to lay down the rules. Believe me, the children and youth respond. They even warn their parents to pay attention and not to wander out to the bathroom unless it's a real emergency. Praise God, it works.
God has more faith in children than we do. If He can speak through the mouth of a donkey, speak out of a bush, and part the Red Sea with a stick, He can certainly use a child. Age is not the criteria, but willingness. The only limitation that children or youth have in God is what we adults put on them.
The Bible has many accounts of children and youth involved in the Lord's business. Samuel ministered to the Lord as an infant (see 1 Samuel 2:11,18). Infants cried out praises to Jesus (see Matthew 21:15-16). Parents brought their children to Jesus that He might anoint them (see Luke 18:15-16). Jesus was strong in Spirit and about His Father's business at the age of twelve (see Luke 2:40-49). Children attended Jesus' meetings. The little boy with the loaves and fishes was available, and so the five thousand men were fed, not including the women and children.
The following teenagers were used: Joseph had two dreams when he was seventeen (see Genesis 37:2-11); the young lad Samuel had a word of rebuke for Eli the high priest even though he was afraid to give it at first (see 1 Samuel 3:4-18); young David slew Goliath, even though he was told he was too young to fight (see 1 Samuel 17:33). Sounds like our modern churches. The Lord rebuked Jeremiah when he tried to use his age as an excuse for not serving God (see Jeremiah 1:6-8). God chose a little pre-teen, peasant girl called Mary to be the most honored woman in all of history (see Luke 1:26-31). Teenage Timothy was able to fulfill his calling as a teenager under opposition because he had a godly mother and grandmother who were able to instill in him a genuine faith (see 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 4:12).
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty... 1 Corinthians 1:27
God Not Only Touches Children But Uses Them In Ministry
I have been preaching radical messages to youngsters from five to twenty years of age for years with tremendous results. Children and youth have been touched by the Lord and have become serious about God's call upon their lives. Our "Half Day Revelatory Training Workshop" for senior pastors, youth pastors, children's pastors and teachers, nursery workers, parents, children and teens have broken through traditional barriers and old mind concepts of the past.
A paradigm shift is taking place. People are astounded when they see little children sit for three hours in a workshop with the parents and teachers to learn how they can become powerful for God. People cannot believe that little ones can pay attention that long. Not only do they pay attention, they become so excited that they want more. Parents learn how to keep their babies from crying in church so their spirits can be fed. Little toddlers are shown how to be quiet and listen to the preacher and be willing to be prayed for at the end. This is a new thing; it's exciting, because God is doing something today that people thought impossible. "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you know it?..." (Isaiah 43:18-19).
Churches that have come into revival and renewal are realizing that God is no respecter of persons as they witness the Holy Spirit falling on the children. "And it shall come to pass in the last days,' says God, 'that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh [including kid flesh]; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy...'" (Acts 2:17).
Not only are children and youth experiencing the supernatural (many for the first time in their lives), but God is also using them in ministry. In our meetings, we have seen many people healed and delivered. The blind, the deaf, and the cripples have been healed. Pain and sickness have left people's bodies as children and youth have prayed for them. Children and teens are seeing angels, having visions of Heaven and Hell, praying, prophesying, preaching, and bringing many other kids to the Lord. How much more exciting is that than the little crafts and coloring books, which children have traditionally taken home from church in past days?
Unfortunately, there are still some churches, even Charismatic ones, that are vehemently opposed to this kind of concept. It scares the leaders; they don't know how they would control it if it happened in their church. It might make too much of a mess; some church members may get upset; it may cause a lot of opposition; but no matter, it will come. We cannot stop it, it's God. He is vindicating His little ones.
Possibly the last generation before the return of Christ is coming forth as a great army. Families are being set on fire, churches are having the children often participate in the main service with the rest of the Body. Little ones are going on mission trips. Ten-year-olds are preaching to thousands, and parents are being taught how to train their children to be anointed.
We are working with a Christian school, "Our Lord's Academy," that has adopted our vision. At that time, they taught first through ninth grade. Soon they will teach kindergarten through 12th grade. They are not like most Christian schools that have a 45-minute chapel service once a week. They often have prayer and worship for two to three hours every day before lessons. When some of the parents complained that their children's academics were being neglected, their answer was, "No! We are to put God first and He will take care of the rest, according to Matthew 6:33." Currently, they are graded in the top 95% of the country.
They not only use all our children's Bible studies, but our books for parents are required reading for the students. They are not just educating kids, but are bringing forth children that will fulfill God's call and destiny upon their lives. They love to minister and pray for whomever they can. There are many miraculous testimonies of people that they have prayed for.
In modern times, we have emphasized children's entertainment, but many years ago, churches had children's crusades and revivals, so this is not some brand new idea. In John Wesley's day, children were touched by God in remarkable ways. In my book "Children Aflame," one can read the journals of Wesley depicting God moving on children in the 1700s, and also read how God is moving on children today. This shows that the Lord will always move on our children in every time and generation if we make them available to Him and the power of His Spirit.
How do we train children to minister? The same way that we teach them to tie their shoelaces. "I do, you watch." "I do, you help." "You do, I help." "You do, I watch." These little kids start by being willing "armor bearers." They love to hang around anointed ministers and learn to do what they are doing.
Pastors! The time is short! Are we ready to make a paradigm shift? Are we ready to find anointed ministers for the children and youth? Are we ready to release the children into their divine calling? Are we willing to have a mess, so life can spring forth? Don't let old traditions and preconceived ideas stop us and our Church from bringing forth children of destiny. The time is short, let us not delay any longer.
This is an excerpt from David Walters' book, Children Aflame.
Good News Ministries
David Walters currently ministers both nationally and internationally to families, pastors, youth pastors, children's pastors, parents, children, and teens. God uses David to impart a vision to pastors, elders, parents, and teachers in a way that brings the younger saints into a place where they become effective, viable members of the Body of Christ. David has witnessed the Holy Spirit move on whole churches, including children and teenagers, who were touched by God's power. In his special "Family Revelation & Ministry" workshops, he not only unfolds the keys to parents and teachers, but also empowers them to become successful in raising families, including the youngsters, to become godly, powerful and anointed. David has been featured in "Charisma" magazine and has written articles for "Ministries Today." He was also interviewed on TBN By Dr. Mark Chironna. He is also the author of seventeen books.
David's daughters, Faith and Lisa Joy, traveled with him when they were children. From time to time he now brings his grandsons to assist him at his meetings. David believes that it is time for whole families to become part of God's mighty Kingdom.