I live in the Bible belt, so hearing someone say, “I’ll pray for you,” or “bless your heart” is about as common as finding a restaurant with deep fried food. My husband and I have joked that “I’ll pray for you” has devolved into this modern-day culture’s equivalent of “good luck with that.” In fact, if you really want to freak someone out, take them up on the offer with “okay, let’s pray about that right now” and bow your head.
In the United Methodist Church, we pledge to support the church in five ways – with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. There is a tremendous power in the first pledge – prayer. In what ways do you model that pledge in your youth ministry? I suspect we water down that power when we teach youth to pray.
When you pray with youth, is it squeezed in as an obligatory prayer after everyone’s shared joys and concerns, or is it something deeper? Is it a model of conversation with the Living God and an expectation for answers?
Here are a couple of opportunities to bring up prayer in your youth ministry:
Wednesday, September 26 is the day this year that many students across the country pray for our nation’s leaders and participate in See Ya at The Pole prayer rallies (www.syatp.org). No matter where your political beliefs align, we can all agree that our nation needs prayer.
Ready to try something more in depth? This October, I am looking forward to sharing Pray31 with youth. Pray31 is an new non-partisan, non-denominational project from the folks at Christian Endeavor – it’s a call for one million people to pray for America during the 31 days of October 2012. For more information on how your youth ministry or church can take part in Pray31, go to onemillionpray.com or “Like” their Facebook page, facebook.com/pray31.
Of course, participating in larger prayer movements is just one way to ignite students in prayer.
We’d love to hear your ideas – In what ways do you model and teach the power of prayer to your youth?
What has worked? What hasn’t?
Praying for you,