What happens when we prepare our hearts can perhaps be best explained by considering what results when we skip the process altogether. When the prayer of surrender is skipped, the children’s Bible teacher might make the mistake of thinking that God needs her (or him) to perform this service and the parents should be happy that she even invests her time in doing such a thing. The prepared heart, however, knows that God, in His grace, chose her for service and is perfectly able to raise up another faithful worker. Because she considers it a privilege to be chosen for such an honorable service, she approaches the task as humbly as she knows how, thanking God for the very opportunity to serve. When the prayer of surrender is skipped, the youth worker might wrongfully interpret a child’s apparent disinterest in a lesson as an act of disrespect or defiance, causing her to react in a way that can cause more harm than good. The prepared heart doesn’t take apparent disinterest personally, but is confident in her role, knowing that some plant, some water, but God ultimately will bring about the increase however He so chooses. When the prayer of surrender is skipped, the parent might internalize that her own children are secretly plotting to drive her crazy. On the contrary, the prepared heart knows that God has uniquely equipped her to handle all the quirks of parenthood and trusts Him to provide wisdom every step of the way.
If you, like me, are guilty of allowing the cares of the world and the busyness of the day to distract you from the preparation of the heart, I encourage you to take the opportunity to slip away to a solitary place, a closet, a bathroom, or whatever you can find. Get alone with God, even if only for a moment, and pray a prayer of surrender before you approach the task of training up a child. Pray often, every chance you get. You will undoubtedly grasp hold of a peace that surpasses all human understanding. People will begin to look at you as if you have some type of super power to work with and relate to children. You will find new strength rolling off of you like water, and creativity will flow from your fingertips like a mighty stream. As God upholds you in His righteous hand, those little ones that God has entrusted to you will be blessed beyond belief by the ministry of a prepared heart.
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