Do you recall when you first began to feel that your parents didn’t fully understand you?
Perhaps that moment happened so long ago that it’s fuzzy.
This feeling is what social scientists refer to as generational distance. Experiencing generational distance is fairly normal, although it tends to manifest differently throughout the ages.
Music preferences, language and slang, clothing choices, pop culture fads, job opportunities, and dreams – each of these seem to change slightly from generation to generation. Recent research suggests that the life experience gap between generations widens as technology advances. This research simply puts data to the reality we all feel. That is to say, although every generation is technically 20 years apart from each other in age, the gap between Boomers, Millennials, and Gen-Z is widening exponentially.
Now, I’d guess that at least once in recent years you’ve felt you didn’t understand. Perhaps you’ve witnessed the negative effects of social media addiction on them, first hand. Maybe you’ve heard them express values, observed their habits, listened to their future plans, and truly wondered, “What planet are you from?”
If you have, you’re not alone.
With an ever-widening gap between these generations, how can parents and grandparents relate to their children and grandchildren?
I suggest softening your heart to the core present realities facing Gen-Z, and then meeting those realities with prayers that transcend them.
Here are three present realities for Gen-Z, and three powerful, transcendent prayers to plead with our God to cover them.
Present Reality: Gen-Z is the most anxious generation.
Anxiety is fear, applied and enduring. Anxiety paralyzes the mind, body, and soul, and Gen-Z is uniquely affected by this paralysis. But our God is the God of peace, not fear.
Oh God, You are the God of Peace.
Please cause my grandchildren to live in Your peace.
Help them experience Your love through emotional and psychological safety,
and manifest Your love by making them a non-anxious presence.
Set them apart in their generation through Your peace.
Present Reality: Gen-Z is the most isolated generation.
Isolation is a scheme of the devil. He would love nothing more than to create loneliness and division in the world. But our God has designed us to live the opposite: together, fully known and fully loved.
Oh God, You are preparing a People for Yourself.
Please fold my grandchildren into Your loving flock.
Bring friends and mentors to my grandchildren through Your Church-
people who will teach them, mentor them, and train them in godliness.
Set them apart in their generation through Your community.
Present Reality: Gen-Z is the future of the Kingdom of God.
The Psalms remind us that life is a vapor. Kings, queens, rulers, and dominions will pass; but the enduring grace of God will fall upon the next generation. The baton of the Kingdom of God will be passed to the most anxious, isolated generation we’ve seen.
How, oh how, could God use the most anxious and isolated of people to both deepen and extend His Kingdom? Why would he entrust the Church, His mission, doctrine, and the state of the world to these?
Isn’t it like our God to use the weak to shame the strong? The simple to shame the wise, and the humble to shame the proud? What is our Father’s business, if not overcoming our inability with His power? He has done this in every generation before, and will do it again in the next.
Oh God, call forth a remnant from Gen-Z to lead Your Kingdom.
May Your power be made perfect in their weakness.
Grant them a vision for reaching the world
that transcends their stifling present realities.
Exalt the name of Jesus even more greatly in their generation than in ours.