Paul - A Friend for the Summer

Paul gives us much to think and pray about, change and do, ways to act with family and others we meet, and guidelines for how to have a more satisfying summer closer to God.

By Caryl W. Krueger

Categories: Paul, Summer

With school ending, youngsters are looking forward to more unstructured time, both alone and with friends. Summer will go more smoothly if, along with the usual activities, you take some time to introduce your youngsters to a new friend: Paul. And, by reading a prayer he wrote to the people of Ephesus, you can start learning your own summertime prayer that has ten good messages. (Actually the book of Ephesians has many more.) So as not to overwhelm the family, make one verse the subject for discussion during each of the next ten weeks. These prayerful citations are quoted from the New English Bible - and following each verse, I've suggested some ideas for your discussion. Do remember, that the people Paul is writing to have far more difficult challenges than most kids face today!

Here are selected quotes from Ephesians:

1:17: "I pray that God.....may give you the spiritual powers of wisdom and vision....." How do we get spiritual power - and how can we use it in summer activities? What does spiritual vision enable us to do?

1:18: "I pray....that you many know what is the hope to which he calls you..." Through understanding Christ Jesus, there is a wonderful future for you. What wonderful things do you expect in the days ahead?

1:19: Paul prays " vast <are> the resources of his power open to us who trust in him." These resources that God gives us - how could they make summer more satisfying? Are these resources limited?

2:17: Paul prays ".....peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near by:....." Although Paul is speaking of the division between Jews and Gentiles, hurtful divisions still exist today. What are some that we can heal among our friends?

3:12: Paul prays "In him <Jesus> we have access to God with freedom." While God gives us freedom, what does this let us do – or not do? Is freedom a present possibility or just a vague hope for the future?

3:16: Paul prays "......he <God> may grant you strength and power....." While there is physical strength, is there another kind of strength and power we would like to have?

3:17: Paul prays ".....that through faith Christ may dwell in your hearts in love." Does this mean we must love everyone? Does that mean bullies? What does it mean to love others? Is love "mushy?"

4:2: Paul prays "Be humble always and gentle, and patient, too." Does humble mean you think little of yourself? Should boys be gentle? How can families express patience? Where can we start?

4:7: Paul prays "But each of us has been given his <God's> gift......" What gifts do each of us have? Aren't there people who seem to have no gifts? What do we do with our gifts?

4:18: Paul prays "Give up living like pagans with their good-for-nothing notions." Wow - do we sometimes live like pagans (whatever they are today)? What "notions" can we get rid of this summer?

In these few verses, there are plenty of things to consider in the weeks ahead - things to think about and pray about, things to change and do, ways to act with family and others we will meet, and guidelines for how to have a more satisfying summer closer to God. Some of the concepts are more difficult than others, but any school child can benefit from the study of them as a family. And parents will benefit, too. So take the lead!