Updated: Jul 11
“If Jesus said to pray for our enemies, does that mean we are supposed to pray for the devil?”
This question was recently posed on a children’s ministry forum after one teacher had a child ask that in kids church. I’m not stranger to this question; I’ve had kids in my own classes ask the very same thing. What got to me, though, was that more than one person replied, “Of course we should. He still has a chance to be saved!” or “Yes! He’s the number one prodigal!”
One person went so far as to say that just because the Bible says the devil ends up in Hell, that doesn’t mean that he cannot get saved and change the course of history and the Bible.
This thought is nothing short of false doctrine.
So what do we do when kids ask these tough questions?
If you don’t know the answer, it’s ok to say that. A perfect response is: “I’m not sure. Let’s look it up together,” or, “Let’s go ask Pastor Bob.”
If you think you do know the answer, check it against scripture. One of the very first things they taught us in Bible College was Hermeneutics, which is really just a big word for “scripture interpretation”. The very first rule of hermeneutics is that the Bible cannot contradict itself. If someone’s interpretation of a scripture contradicts any other verse in the Bible, then the interpretation is wrong. The Bible is infallible and, despite that one person’s belief, no, it cannot be altered or changed. So before giving the child an answer, ask yourself, “does my answer about this contradict the Bible in any way?”
Discuss the answer with the child, using scripture to show them why. We want kids to learn to turn to the Bible when they have tough questions, so teaching them from a young age to search the scriptures is the best thing we can do for them.
Be sensitive to the child’s age and situation when answering questions. Don’t give more information than necessary, especially to younger children, as it might confuse them.
Ask questions to confirm their understanding.
Here’s some homework for you. Instead of me giving the answers, I’d like you to take a look at some of these tough questions you might be asked. What do the scriptures say regarding these questions? How would you explain the verses to child who’s 4 years old? 8 years old? 13 years old? How would you explain them to an adult? Start a Bible study notebook and write down the scriptures you find. If you have questions, discuss them with your pastor, elders, or other people of faith whom you trust.
“Should we pray for the devil to be saved?”
“My heart is little. How can Jesus fit into it?”
“My grandma died last week. Can we pray for her to be saved?”
“Why did God let my little brother get cancer?”
“When I get sick, is it because God is punishing me?”
“If God loves people, why does He send them to hell?
“Do I have to obey my parents if they tell me to sin?”
“Why did Jesus decide to die on the cross to save us?”
What other tough questions can you think of that you may need to study?