Making prayer for the youths and children a priority – Part 10
No nation ignores the plight of her youths and children. To do so is to endanger her future. For Africa, especially Nigeria, over sixty per cent of her population comprise of youths and children. Invariably, their problem touches everyone.
Youths and children are always very susceptible and vulnerable to the vices of any age. Unless they are well guided they risk losing direction, which may affect them adversely in life. To ensure that their future and destiny are not endangered, we must pray for them. To effectively pray for them we must understand the problems they face. Let me emphasise that we owe our youths not only prayers, but also much love, understanding, and counseling.
First in the series of their problems is the change in values. Youths and children face conflict in values. The clash of values is a global phenomenon, which is not peculiar to Africa alone, but affects youths in other continents. Conflict in values is driven by technological advancement, migration, the influence of social media, entertainment, the media, and targeted advertisements.
Next is the distractions caused by the use of cell phones. Cell phones are good as a means of communication, but it’s social effects and abuse among the youths and children are many. Cell phones now define the status of our youths. To belong to their peer group many of them clutch to their cell phones out of addiction. They spend much of their time talking than reading. They prefer to use social media; Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc., which is at their fingertips via their smartphones than reading books. This, no doubt is the negative influence of social media on youths and children.
Their Involvement in occultism and crime-related activities at schools and the wider communities where they live is another social problem they face. Their unbridled pursuit of money is another vice. They believe that the more money they make the more their status will be enhanced in the society. Academic excellence and handwork are compromised in favour of money.
Many of our youths are ensnared in fraudulent internet practices. They hack personal and corporate accounts of organisations, indulge in identity fraud, money laundering, and credit card fraud. They have taken to pools bating due to their love of money. Examination malpractices are quite common among them.
Another besetting problem they face is the use of illicit drugs, which gradually destroys their lives, and a sense of living. “According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), substance abuse is “the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs.” It is estimated that about 76.3 million people struggle with alcohol use disorders contributing to 1.8 million deaths per year. The United Nations reported that around 185 million people globally over the age of 15 were consuming drugs by the end of the 20th century…Tackling the problem of unemployment in the country is relevant to reducing the menace of drug addiction among the youth in our society.
According to a recent World Bank statistics, the youth unemployment rate in Nigeria is 68 per cent, and could be more.”
How then do we pray for them? Jeremiah calls for intense warfare over their destiny. He writes: “Arise, cries out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner” (Lamentations).