Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission.
by Brian Kirk
Most of us would love it if we had a group full of young people who loved to pray and were fully comfortable with sharing their deepest concerns out loud with a group. But since we are working with adolescents, this is never likely to be the case. Young people are often shy about sharing verbally with others for fear of being laughed at or not being able to really articulate what they feel. Additionally, not all young people (or adults, for that matter) are verbal learners. So here are a few prayer ideas that tap into other intelligences and learning styles:
Pass out a sheet of aluminum foil to each person. Invite students to take time in silence to craft the foil into the shape of something they want to offer up in prayer. They could create an object, an initial of a person’s name, or even something abstract. When finished, students can choose whether or not to share about their prayer requests represented by their foil creations, and then all foil prayers are placed in the midst of the group for a closing prayer.
Much like the one above, students are given a lump of Play-Doh and asked to create a shape representing a prayer need. When everyone is ready, join in a circle and have people, one at a time, place their creation in the center of the group and in some way attach it to the other Play-Doh creations to represent the way our shared prayers become one.
Pass out several multi-colored pipe cleaners to each person and invite them to create a shape that represents a prayer need in their lives. When all are ready, present each prayer creation verbally or in silence, and then have the group work as one to attach all the pipe cleaner shapes together.
Sometimes kids just can’t think what to pray about, so this idea uses photos to spur young people to consider the prayer needs in their lives or world. Cut out photos and images from magazines and place them in the center of the group. Invite students to retrieve an image that connects with them and some need for prayer in their lives. Ask each person to share why the image grabbed her attention and how it speaks to her about a prayer concern.
Place several votive candles in your worship space with a larger central candle in their midst. Light the central candle and invite kids to come forward in silence and light a votive from the central candle to represent a prayer for another person in need. Allow this to be an unstructured time so that students come forward as they feel ready, and allow individuals to light as many candles as they like. (Don’t forget to protect the floor from dripping wax!)
Establish a bulletin board or other wall space in your youth room where young people can regularly post photos, news articles, and messages lifting up joys and concerns they want to share with the group.
This one is a little more ambitious. Create wall space in your room painted with magnetic paint (yes, it exists!) and provide an ample supply of magnetic poetry words for students to create a wall of creative prayers to share with others. Similarly, paint a section of wall with chalk paint and allow them to graffiti their joys and concerns right on the wall.
Set out a plastic container filled with sand. One at a time, invite each person to go to the container and trace in the sand a word or symbol of something for which each seeks forgiveness. When they are finished, invite them to pass a hand over what they have drawn, obliterating it as a way of accepting God’s forgiveness.
CYMT is excited about its newest endeavor, Theology Together. Theology Together educates both teenagers and youth workers as they engage in theological reflection, spiritual practice, vital service, and vocational discernment. The Theology Together process produces reflective action that is embedded in the fabric of youth ministry in all of its contexts. We believe strongly that youth are theologians and belong at the center of tough, life-changing dialogue around faith, relationships, and life. We place teenagers in the driver seat alongside their youth pastors and leaders, equipping each individual to think differently about youth ministry, to provoke a sense of awe and wonder: a WOW moment.
Youth theology is theology built upon the simple doctrinal principle of the priesthood of all believers, and takes that principle right down to its natural conclusion: that all believers, including youth, teens, adolescents, etc. are theologians. It is theology that values all youth as theologians. Here we will share with you how to engage with youth theology in your own ministry.
A few weeks ago, we shared the launch of Theology Together 2.0. Today, Dwight (the director of Theology Together) will be sharing with us one experience […]