uring an alter service at a Church of God preteen camp last summer, a counselor came to me, the camp speaker, and said, “One of my campers would like to pray for you. Is that OK?”
“Sure,” I said, and knelt down. The 11 year-old girl (I’ll call her Karen) placed her hand on my shoulder and began to pray.
Karen did not say a simple “God, please bless Pastor Lance” prayer. Instead, she offered fervent, anointed, soul-stirring intercession, as powerful as any ever offered for me.
Then I watched Karen pray for some of her peers around the altar, and told her God had gifted her to intercede for others.
After service, Karen’s counselor told me the girl’s stunning story. Just a few weeks before camp, Karen’s mother’s boyfriend had killed himself after being arrested. He had been jailed for impregnating Karen’s teenage sister.
Yet, here was Karen at camp not only experiencing God’s healing presence for herself but also, in turn, letting the Holy Spirit minister through her to others. It was humbling to think how God had used this girl to bless me.
Karen reminds me of another remarkable yet unnamed girl, whose story is told in 2 Kings 5. Syrian soldiers kidnapped this girl in one of their frequent raids on Israel, then marched her 130 miles to Syria. There she became the slave of the wife of a Syrian army commander named Naaman.
Incredibly, this traumatic experience did not shake this girl’s faith in God. When she learned that Naaman suffered from leprosy, she told her mistress, “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy” (5:3 NASB).
As a result of this girl’s testimony and faith, Naaman went to Israel and was miraculously healed under the ministry of Elisha.
In the early years of the Church of God, the Evangel frequently contained testimonies like these:
• “There are about 150 members of the Church of God at Aracoma, West Virginia. About 30 children [have] received the Holy Ghost in the last four months. Hallelujah!”—Fannie Conley (July 2, 1921)
• “The Lord has wonderfully manifested Himself here [Charleston, Mississippi] this year. Many have been saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost. The sick have been healed. One little girl who had lost her voice was instantly healed when the saints prayed for her, and she went to the organ and sang and played.”—E. Haynes (October 17, 1914)
• “My schoolmates persecute me, but I mean to hold on to Jesus. Pray for my schoolmates. I love them and want to see them saved. I want to live a life that will be convincing to the children. I am a little girl only 11 years old, but I know Jesus and He loves me.”—Arzona Raynor, Omaha, Arkansas (March 13, 1920)
On March 17 of this year in my church, Pastor Chris Moody preached a message about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. When he gave an altar call for people to receive this gift, at first no one responded. Finally, 9 year-old Rachel came forward with her parents. Following her lead, a few adults and two teenagers responded.
After church, I asked Rachel, “What did the Lord do for you today?”
She said, “He baptized me in the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues.”
Those really were her exact words.
May we make room in our worship services for our children, teaching them the ways of God, helping them receive from Him, and letting them minister to us through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.