If you are looking for a creative way to spend an evening with your youth in prayer, consider the outline below. You can use this to focus on God, each person, each other, and the world.
There are several activities below as examples of things you can do with your group. The typical timeframe would be 60-90 minutes but you can adjust it to fit your schedule. To bring added interest, you can use video clips, and visual resources as aids. You will want a comfortable room, with low lighting, music, bibles, tissues, and paper.
Begin the session with an introduction on prayer. You can use scriptures, a story, a video clip, or live testimony from another youth. The introduction should be engaging, relevant, and create interest. Here are two scriptures you can use as well:
‘Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.’ 2 Chronicles 7:14-15
‘I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.’ Matthew 18:19-20
WORSHIP – FOCUS ON GOD
Have a time of worship using songs and music. The songs should relevant for the age range you are dealing with, and should be entirely focused on God, not our needs. The goal is to bring the entire focus for the evening to God, not our troubles, struggles, or youth activities.
During this worship time, you may wish to break into a song, and have a youth lead a verbal praise to God, for who He is, and/or what He has done. You may wish to use scriptures from the book of Psalm during these times, where the psalm is read and then accompanied by a personal praise. Praying the Word brings the will of God into your prayer session. Psalm 100 is a great passage to use.
FOCUS ON YOU
Gather the group together and time of repenting. Talk to the group about our human weakness, and everyone’s need for repentance. Read Psalm 51, and 1 John 8-9.
‘If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.’ 1 John 1:8-9.
Engage the youth. You don’t want to preach at them, you want to repent with them. Create a safe environment where they feel it’s ok that they’ve messed up, as long as they repent and try to change. This should be a quieter time, where each can reflect on their life, and confess their shortcomings to a merciful God. Remind them to think about those who they may have wronged, and repent and ask God how to make things right.
You may wish to have a time where they write down their faults and then thrown them in the trash or shredder after repenting. They need to know that God will not condemn them, nor hold past sins over their head that they’ve repented of. You can also have the papers pinned to a cross to show that God took those sins upon Himself for us.
If your group is willing, consider having them go to each other and ask forgiveness for anything they’ve said or done to hurt each other.
Other suggested passages are Psalm 19:12-14, Psalm 66:18-20, and Psalm 139:23-24.
Pray for the fruit of the spirit to work in their lives, using Galatians 5:22-23:
‘But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!’
Do not rush this time. You want the youth to know that sin is not something to take lightly, but rather, something we need to spend time on changing and acknowledging. End with another worship song, thanking God for His forgiveness and mercy.
FOCUS ON FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Every person has someone else that they can pray for. Ask the students to take this time and focus it on other people in their life. Are their friends who need salvation? Do they have family members who need God’s help in their relationships? Is there someone sick they can pray for? Do they know someone struggling in their relationship with God? Is there a backslider who needs someone to care and intercede for them? This time is focused entirely off of the youth member.
A good scripture to read for evangelism is Read Mathew 18:19-20.
As you talk about people in each youth member’s life, ask them to write down the names and needs (on a sticky or small paper) of those who come to mind. You can gather all the papers and place them in the center of your group, or hand them out for others to pray over, or in groups. Pray for the needs that night. Don’t just hand them out to pray over later. If you can, keep the papers and follow up on them at a later date. You want to know when God has met the need so you can give Him thanks for it.
Here are some example things you can pray:
That each person will see their need of God and go to Him for help and salvation.
That each person will be willing to make their relationships work, and to change themselves in the process, forgiving, and letting go of past hurts.
That God would use you to reach your friends with God’s hope and love.
That backsliders would acknowledge they need to return to God, and that they would feel loved by God and feel welcomed to return, regardless of anything they’ve done.
That families would grow stronger together, being patient and forgiving, and put God first in their home.
That those who are bound by addictions would have a clear mind that can sense God drawing them, and that they would not find happiness in their addiction.
End with thanks to God for hearing your prayers. Collect the prayer requests for use later.
FOCUS ON THE WORLD
Plan on having a majority of time in this area. God wants us to put His kingdom before our own. Often, this is the area with the least amount of time spent on it. But God said that if we take care of His kingdom, “all these things will be added unto us.” We need to be kigfdom-minded, and today’s young people want to make a difference in their world.
Read the following:
‘I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.’ 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Have prayer resources available for your youth to gather in groups and pray over. This can include things such as:
- Maps: pray for nations and missionaries in those nations. Pray for the 10/40 Window and diverse people groups, such as Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Tribal groups, and the unchurched/atheists. (Go to win1040.com and joshuaproject.net for more resources.)
- Photos of government and city leaders.
- Missionaries photos, including missionary kids. (Go to GlobalMissions.com and UpWithMKs.com for more resources.)
- New churches being built and home missionary churches in the U.S. (Go to namupci.com for more resources.)
- Photos from news articles about war, famine, disease, natural disasters, etc.
- Photos of orphans and child/youth soldiers.
- Pray for those who are currently imprisoned for sharing the gospel. (Go to prisonalert.com for more resources.)
Have your youth gather in groups and lay their hands on these photos and maps. Pray light (revelation) into dark nations. Pray for new churches to be built, and more missionaries to be sent to the field. Pray for God to use those who are imprisoned to reach those in their cells and areas with the gospel until they are delivered, and pray for their strength.
It’s highly suggested to have prayer stations set up around the room where youth can go to each one and find associated scriptures, and visuals to help them pray.
Light in the Darkness.
Give each youth a candle or flashlight as a object lesson to bring awareness to the importance of sharing the gospel to our world – a light always dispels darkness. The more light you shine, the more darkness that is removed. God has need of people to go into nations of the world with the Truth. We may not all be able to become missionaries, but we can all pray. The more we pray, the more light that is brought by the answers to those prayers.
Close the evening with a final time of worship. Don’t rush it. Engage the students in enjoying what they’ve experienced that night. The more they enjoy it, and see the benefit of it, the more they will want to do it themselves.
As you lead your group through these sessions, also be aware not to focus prayer on just a list of things to pray for. Prayer first, is a relationship.
These ideas use visual or activity prompts to encourage individual and group prayer. Several can be used together to develop extended times of creative prayer with your group.
‘I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.’ 1 Timothy 2: 1-4
BIRTHDAY PRAYER BOARD
Put up a wall calendar and ask the young people and leaders to write their names beside their date of birth. Include other members from the church if you wish and any significant dates from the church and youth group calendar. Each week use this visual prompt to stimulate small group prayer for individuals and activities.
PRAYERS IN A HAT
Ask everyone in the group to put their name on a piece of paper. Place the pieces of paper into a hat or another convenient container. Then pass the hat around the group and ask each young person to take out a piece of paper. Encourage them to pray for that person during the coming week.
NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST
Ask the group to face each of these directions in turn and then pray together in silence, or out loud, for any specific needs, personal, individual, local, national, global in that direction. Find out where the missionaries from your church, or those you support, are working and pray for them as you face the direction of their mission field. Bring a compass to the meeting!
Invite someone from your church or local community i.e. police officer, health worker, businessman, educator, local politician, to talk a little about their role and share prayer requests for the needs of the community related to their work and role. These can be developed for personal or group prayer.
Invite the young people to go for a walk around your neighbourhood or town. If you have a large youth group divide into smaller groups, each accompanied by a leader. As you walk make notes of the things you see i.e. particular homes, schools, shops, people. Consider and discuss possible prayer needs for each of these situations, and make a note. You could pray right there and then, or perhaps go away and write up your list of locations and prayer topics.
Collect together some of the TV news headlines (local, national, global) from the previous week as a short video or PowerPoint presentation. Alternatively, select 3-4 headlines from newspapers and stick them to a piece of card. Ask the members of the group to write a prayer about one of the subjects, and then in turn, to read them out. Or, give out copies of the day’s newspapers and ask the young people to cut out or highlight stories they wish to pray for.
PRAYER MAPS (1)
Place a large map of your nation at the centre of the room. Read 1 Timothy 2: 1-4 and invite the young people to get into small groups of 3 or 4 and encourage them to pray for those in authority. Pray for your government and leaders. Pray for wisdom as they govern.
Ask the young people to form new small groups to pray for the church in your nation. Pray for the church to be bold in ‘speaking the truth in love’ and pray for revival. Pray for your church to have a greater impact and witness in your community.
PRAYER MAPS (2)
Place a large map or globe of the world in the centre of the room. Around the map place photographs and newspaper articles of situations around the world which need prayer and intercession. Highlight nations where you know missionaries and Christian ministries working to reach people with the Gospel. If you wish, ask members of the group to research certain nations and bring prayer requests from the information they have gathered.
Article by Grahame Knox from Insight. Used with permission.
Come Holy Spirit of this Great Southland
Inspire our entire faith community,
as we prayerfully discern new horizons for spreading joy
in the lives and communities of the People of God.
Come Holy Spirit of YouthFill the hearts of young people with the hope and love of Jesus Christ;
enliven our community with the creativity, energy and joy of youth;
guide us together, as we strive to offer God’s mercy
to those who feel abandoned or outcast.
Come Holy Spirit of FaithEmpower our community to be courageous;
unite your people as witnesses of love.
Walk with us, as we blaze new trails of discipleship;
accompanying young people as we renew the Church together.
Come Holy Spirit of VocationStir within young people an awareness of God’s call;
reveal to us the graces of young people;
guide us all, in finding our place and raising our voices
To build a civilisation of love.
Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians, pray for us.
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, friend of the young, pray for us.
There are thousands of sites, books and ideas for prayer stations out there. Just a quick google search for “prayer stations” will bring up some great ideas. There are also Pinterest boards with ideas.
Last week I decided to create a prayer station experience for our youth. I tried to focus on creating stations based on things we had around the youth center and church.
Once I set them up, I blocked off the area so no youth could go in early. I dimmed the lights, and created a
spotify playlist of worship songs
to have going in the background. The youth were free to go to any station, in any order. They spent about 45 minutes going around to each one.
Below I have included each of the stations. The “Set-Up” is what I used to physically create the space. The “Instructions” are what I printed and had posted at each station. The “Verse” was also printed and placed at the corresponding station.
Here they are:
Set up –
I took a table and placed it below our basketball goal. I strung 4 strands rope from the goal to the table. I placed pens and paper on the table along with clothespins for them to use to attach their goals to the rope. (You could use a child’s basketball goal, or soccer goal if needed)
As we live life day to day, it becomes easy to be caught up in the mundane tasks. God has way more planned for us. Take a moment to think of what God may be calling you to do, start, or be. Write that goal on a card and pin it to the rope leading up to the goal.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.-Philippians 3:13-14
Highlighters glow under black light. So I placed four place lights on our concrete floor and had the youth write out their responses. Was a great way to show the difference between light and dark. Use whatever surface works for your group.
We are called to be light in a dark world. We reflect the light of God wherever we go, to those around us. Use the highlighter to write words or draw ways you can be a light in the world. Pray for all those things others have written down, that those before you may shine light in the darkness.
For anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” -Ephesians 5:14
Set up –
I took lost and found items we had in our youth group and put them on a table.
The articles before you are actual lost and found pieces from the church. They are most likely not looked for anymore, have been forgotten and no one searches for them.
Pray for those in the world who are forgotten. Pray for other youth who feel lost or forgotten.
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. -Isaiah 58:10
I put down a carpet, placed some bibles and blank journals on a coffee table, laid down some pillows and created a comfortable place just to be still.
Rest. Sit and rest. Read from the Bible, Journal, write a note to God, or just sit and be still in the presence of God. Stay here as long as you like.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalm 119:105
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28
Praise and Thanksgiving Wall
Set up –
We have a wall painted with chalkboard paint as part of our youth center, so it was easy enough to use that. I just placed a bucket of sidewalk chalk on the floor, and ran christmas lights around the edge for illumination. You could use butcher paper or big post it notes taped to the wall.
Use the chalk to write, or draw what you praise God for, and what you are thankful to Him for.
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. -Psalm 106:1
Wipe Your Sins Away
We have a large painting of the crucified Jesus done by the Jesus Painter in our youth center. I placed two dry erase boards by it and put poster board on the wall beside it.
The picture on the wall is of Jesus on the cross. He died on the cross so your sins would be wiped away, and you would be made clean.
On a dry erase board write something that separates you from God. It may be a sin you struggle with, someone you need to forgive or an attitude about something you need to get rid of. Once you have written it down, wipe it clean. Look at the clean white board and remember that Jesus cleans you white as snow.
On the poster board write a note of thanks to Jesus for what He did.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
-I John 1:9
Salt of the Earth
Set up –
A table with salt shakers set on it
Salt makes things taste better. Salt preserves things. Salt makes things more interesting. Salt brings out flavors in food.
Put some salt in your hand and taste. Then pray how you can be salt in this bland world, and what that means.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
Pray for the World
Set up –
We used a television and put a map of the world on the screen. Actually because we did not have a map of the world. As I sat and looked I thought how cool it would have been to make scrolling photos of situations in the world that were going on.
I placed post it notes and markers nearby.
We are called to take care of not only those around us, but the whole world. On the TV is a map of the world. Write a post it note prayer for a person, situation or place it over the TV. Let us cover the world in prayer.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1
Pray for You
I had a computer monitor with a Poll Everywhere poll on the screen. I placed my iPhone in front so they could use it to enter the concerns. My hope is that we will use this more in the future, so this was a way to introduce our virtual prayer wall.
I would go by and see the concerns posted and pray for them, however next time I hope to contact several adults who would monitor the wall and pray for the requests as they were made. Or have a station somewhere else in the room with a monitor for youth to pray for the concerns posted.
How Can We Pray for You?
Using the phone provided text 419561 and your prayer request to 22333
There will be people praying for each concern as it is posted.
What prayer stations have you used? How do you use them? What questions do you have?