A Heart For All Ages

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READ: Joel 2:15-17, 28, 29

The Lord obviously values all ages. He expects all ages to pray (vs 15-17) and He shows His favour regardless of age (vs 28, 29)

THE ELDERS: Having declared that the people should gather and that the congregation should be sanctified, Joel requires the elders to assemble (v16). In saying this he is not referring only to those with spiritual leadership since he refers to the priests separately (v17). When the Lord says that "your old men shall dream dreams" (v28) it is obvious that the elders are to be blessed along with everyone else. Let's pray for the more senior members of the church that they might bring all of their experience and in return discover a fresh envisioning from the Lord.

THE CHILDREN: After the elders Joel specifies the children (v16). The Lord also speaks of "your sons and your daughters" (v28). Let's pray for the children in our churches that they will feel valued and integrated. Let's pray for their homes and their ability to develop a real prayer life and a growing relationship with the Lord. And lastly on this point, let's pray for all the children's workers in our churches.

THE BABIES: It may come as a surprise that Joel expects the babies to be present at the national prayer meeting (v16). It is important that an appropriate spiritual environment is provided for our formative years. Let's pray for the work that goes on at this level in our homes and in the church, and for all the workers involved.

THE YOUNG MEN: Young men have great potential but they can also have great preoccupations. Perhaps that is why Joel particularly sites the need for the "bridegrooms" to be present at the national prayer meeting (v16). The Lord particularly mentions young men in the context of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as candidates for fresh envisioning (v28). The need for a serving heart is brought out by the Lord's mention of "menservants" (v29). Let's pray for the young men in the church that they might fulfil their potential without distraction and with that real humility shown by a serving heart.

THE YOUNG WOMEN: Having pinpointed the bridegroom, Joel also pinpoints the bride (v16). Similarly the Lord "maidservants" in the context of the outpouring of His Spirit (v29). Let's pray for the young women in the church that the Lord will continue to use their ministry to the full. Let's pray especially for a real sense of value, inclusion and equal opportunity as these are areas where churches have fallen down in the past. Pray that the older women will indeed be able to provide strong and encouraging counsel and examples.