The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Prayer is so important. Are we modeling this for our teens? Are we teaching them to be people of prayer? Are we giving them opportunities to pray during our youth groups? Here are five ways to make prayer a part of your youth ministry:
1. Prayer Partners
Have the students get together with another teen they feel comfortable with. Send them out with 5-10 minutes to talk about prayer requests and then to pray for each other.
This can be initially challenging for teens because it takes being willing to share and be open with each other. However, it’s a great way to get to know each other better. It also helps teach them that as Christians, it's a blessing to be transparent and real about what is going on in their lives and allow others to pray for them.
2. Prayer Circle
Have the group join together in one large circle and designate a person that is willing to start the prayer. Then, going around the circle, each person has the opportunity to pray about whatever they want. Make sure your group knows that their prayers can be simple, such as, “Please help me do well on my test tomorrow” or heavy, “Please give strength to my family as my mom battles cancer.” There is no prayer too big or too small. When a person is done with his or her prayer, they should use the phrase, “in Jesus name,” then the prayer passes to the next person.
Make sure to remind the teens that if they don’t feel comfortable praying out loud yet, they can simply say “pass” when their turn comes around.
3. Popcorn Prayer
Come together as a group. Let the teens know that you are going to open up with a prayer and then anyone can jump in and share their prayer. This prayer often feels just like popcorn. It will start off very slow as teens feel shy speaking up at first. However, it will usually have a good "pop" throughout the middle as people jump in and voice their prayer requests. As the prayers begin to die down and eventually seem to be wrapping up, come in as the leader and close the prayer.
4. Prayer Wall
Designate a wall where your youth group meets as the “prayer wall.” Keep sticky notes and pens near the wall so the teens can write prayer requests and stick them to the wall. (Prayers can have a name on them or they can be anonymous.) Each week before the teens leave Bible study, have them stop by the prayer wall and pray for some of the requests posted there.
To make this even more impactful, have a different color post it note that teens can place over the prayer requests as their prayers are answered. Have them write how God specifically answered it. The whole group will love seeing many of the prayers get answered throughout the year.
5. Model Prayer
There is no better way to encourage the teen’s prayer life than to allow them to see your own. Here are some ways to do this:
- When you pray, be humble and open. Let the teens see that it is okay to admit our weaknesses and that we all need God.
- Pray for the teens on the spot when they come to you with their concerns, struggles and requests.
- Be willing to stop your Bible study and pray if the teens are getting out of control or things seems to be going the wrong way during a study.
- Ask each week if the teens have any prayer requests and then pray for them.