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Overview: To parallel tossing our prayers up to God like we toss a ball or a piece of paper.
- 5 small nerf balls or pieces of paper per group
- 2 clean trash cans or large buckets
Preparation: Crumble 10 pieces of paper if no nerf balls are available
Time Involved: 10-15 minutes
Game Description: Break up the larger group into boys and girls. Line the two groups up with the trash can or large buckets approximately 20 feet away. Have the students compete to see which group can successfully make 5 baskets before the other group. The group who makes 5 baskets first wins gender bragging rights for the day.
Bible Verse Emphasis: Matthew 6: 5-6 (MSG)
“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
Goal: For the students to realize they don’t have to have the right words or the right style to pray. To talk to God like they would a friend instead of tossing up a prayer, hoping to “make a basket”.
Discussion Questions (in small groups)
- Go around say your name, your school, and your favorite sport or hobby.
- Do they ever find it difficult to pray? Why or why not?
- Have they ever found themselves just throwing a prayer up to God? Why?
- What do you think prayer accomplishes?
- Go around and say something you need prayer for. Then have someone pray for those request.
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Liked this game? View this Youth Group Lesson on Prayer
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.
If you want to encourage young people in your church to pray for their schools, you could start bydownloading this prayer resource from Youth for Christ, one of the partners of Pray for Schools. It’s got lots of teaching about prayer – why not use a schools focus for some of the activities, and ask your young people what they would like to pray for about their schools. You can download similar resources on a variety of topics from resources.yfc.co.uk
Pray for Schools partner Scripture Union, have also produced prayer labryinths for children and young people based around Pray Day for Schools, whch you can download below:
children’s labyrinthyouth labyrinth
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?