December 31st, 2017 was a monumental day for me.
I had the opportunity to baptize my youngest daughter, her best friend, my son-in-law and our nine-year-old grandson. Each one of them shared an amazing story of God’s grace, intervention and anointing.
In particular, our grandson, Jordan, caught everyone’s attention and imagination when he told the story of how God had used him in his younger sister’s healing. A few days before the baptism, Jordan’s sister, Aviah, had gotten some sawdust in her eyes and she was in excruciating pain. Her mom and dad tried everything to relieve the pain and were contemplating taking her to the hospital. Jordan stood in front of his sister, put his hands over her eyes and prayed: “In Jesus Name, please heal my sister.” He removed his hands and instantly the pain was gone and she could see clearly. God healed her through the faith and hands of a child.
Is it possible that God can demonstrate His power, His presence and His authority through the life of a spirit-filled child? Of course! I am always moved by Luke’s description of Jesus teaching in the temple as a pre-teen. He writes, “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. (Luke 2:47-48) The anointing of the Holy Spirit is not limited by age. Children do not receive a “junior” Holy Spirit but rather are filled by His presence in fullness and power. Do our children get words of knowledge? Can they express prophetic words? Do they exemplify levels of faith that challenge those much older? All of us would agree that they do, but often we disregard or ignore their gifts and words because of their youth.
Portage Alliance Church is one of our churches leading the way in helping children understand, embrace, and use the gifts that God has given them. In particular, they teach children how to listen to God and to speak words of wisdom over others. I was intrigued to learn about how many adults were delighted to have these young children listen to God on their behalf and to speak into their lives with scriptures, prayers, and pictures. Many were amazed by the insights, the depth, and the simplicity of the thoughts these young theologians were communicating.
Paul said to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) It is natural for us to trust the work of the Holy Spirit within us but it is often extremely challenging to trust the work of the Holy Spirit in our children. Could we envision a day when the majority of our church ministry teams would actually be inter-generational? Where sixty-year-olds and six-year-olds minister together, laying hands on people for healing and hope.
One of the things I enjoy the most is putting my grandkids to bed. The bedtime ritual always ends with me praying a blessing over each of them. I think I am going to change it up next time, and asked my grandkids to lay hands over me and bless me. Maybe the word I need, or the touch I crave will come through the power of the Holy Spirit in the tiny hands of a child.
Dave Hearn is the President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. He has held C&MA leadership positions at local church and District levels. He served as District Superintendent for the Canadian Pacific District from 2005 to July 2012. He loves spending time with his family, and he’s passionate about living on mission fearlessly.