This is the third and final week in our “Back to Basics” series about the fundamentals of Christianity and how to teach them to your students. The first week we talked about reading the Bible, last week we talked about worship, and this week is about prayer.
Matt: One of the greatest gifts that God has given to us is the gift of prayer – the ability to come to God with any problem, issue, hurt or fear that we need help with. We need to teach the gift of prayer to our students. We need to get them to know that when life is not going their way, when the road ahead looks rough, they need to go to God in prayer. Many times a student will come to me with a problem and the first thing I’ll ask them is if they have talked to God about it yet. When they answer no, the first thing I do with them is stop, take them to a quiet place and pray with them.
We need to teach them that prayer is a conversation with God. They don’t need to use big words or throw in a “thou” or pontificate at all, they just need to talk to God as they would their friends. God wants an open dialog with us. In other words, when we talk to God, God want us to be, well, us. He wants us real and humble.
Let me add here this one thing: If you say you’re going to pray for someone…DO IT! Do it that moment, don’t wait until your nighttime prayers or a meal prayer, do it then so you don’t forget. I almost think thats a new form of blasphemy, someone tells us their problem and we look at them and say, “I’ll pray for ya, brother.” And then we don’t.
Small group leaders should always follow up on prayer requests during the week. Keep praying for your students, but also check in with them, let them know you’re still praying for them and see how things are going. Use prayer requests as a way for your students to know just how much you care.
Steven: Prayer to me is one of the most important things we can do as Christians. There is a ton of power in prayer, and it’s the best way we have to communicate with with God.
When I teach my students about prayer, there’s a great acrostic that I use, but I can’t remember where I got it. It’s an easy way to remember the four things we should try to hit on during prayer. Here it is:
- Praise – Give thanks and praise to God for the things He has done in your life.
- Repent – Acknowledge your sins and ask for help in repenting of them.
- Ask – This is where the prayer requests come in. Ask for things that you would have God do in your life or others’ lives.
- Yield – Give control of your life over to God. When we try to live life our way, it doesn’t work.
I love what Matt touched on above. I think one of the greatest sins we can commit as Christians is to tell someone we’ll pray for them and then never do it. I keep a small journal in my back pocket, and whenever someone needs prayer, I make sure to jot it down quick. I’m the type of person that if I don’t write it down, it leaves my head faster than it got there. If I write it, I can remember to go back later and pray for that person.
While I’m on my soapbox, I need to remind every youth leader that reads this to pray for your students constantly. Whether you lead junior high or high school, your students are constantly under attack from the Enemy, the world, and society as a whole. There is power in prayer, and if you neglect to pray for your kids, you’re doing them a huge disservice.
Question: What key points do you talk about when you’re teaching your students about prayer?