Let us pray.
We thank you for all of the days of our lives, especially for the days you bring us together as a family of faith either in this sanctuary or in other holy places.
We thank you for opportunities we are given to grow closer to you as a youth group and as a church.
We also thank you for the people that have been placed in our lives to help us grow into the kind of people we are called to be – our adult youth leaders and Sunday School teachers, our parents, and our teachers in school.
Holy God, we lift up our prayers to you for ourselves, our friends, our community, the Universal Church and our world:
For our families – brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, godparents and our pets,
for girlfriends, boyfriends, no friends, best friends,
for newborn babies among us
and all who are in need of an extra helping of your grace.
For our nation’s presidential election process and that all may treat each other with dignity and respect.
For the men and women of the police department, sheriff’s department, fire department and all first responders.
For our educational system in Jackson and surrounding areas and for Vision 2020.
For injured, abused, neglected and lost pets and that all will be responsible pet owners.
For the end of racism.
For us to be better stewards of your creation and for the end of pollution.
For those youth in the juvenile justice system, that they may find hope and healing and lead productive lives.
Loving Lord, we lift up to you all those who are sick or suffering:
For those who live with cancer, addiction, autism, depression, Parkinson’s and loneliness
and all of those with physical afflictions.
For those worrying over the health of their loved ones.
For every name lifted as a prayer request, may they know your mercy.
For those grieving the loss of a loved one.
God, we lift up to you those around the world who do not have enough –
enough access to healthcare,
We pray for those looking for work.
Holy Creator, we pray for peace on earth:
For all who live under the threat of war and for victims of war everywhere.
We pray for the men and women who serve our country.
We pray for those impacted by violence – for the perpetrators and their victims and all touched by the ripples created by violence.
We pray for our world and her leaders, may they make decisions out of love for all of your people.
Good and gracious God who makes all things new:
We pray that you will be with the new college freshmen as they step out of their high school lives.
We pray for those entering high school, middle school, and elementary school – for those who had good school years this year, and those looking to make things better next year.
May we know you are with us, not just in this space but everywhere and always.
Finally, we lift up in your name:
Our church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and our sister churches in the world that we may offer safety, friendship and a faith community that is inclusive to everyone in their journey with Christ.
We pray all of this in Christ’s holy name and we join our voices together to pray the prayer that Jesus taught us, saying, “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
*This prayer is an adapted version of the Prayer of the People – Youth Sunday – found at
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Use this quick lesson to help your youth ministry discover the importance of prayer.
Say: A couple of weeks ago while I was on a business trip, I was talking on my cell phone with my wife (yes, they do more than send text messages!).
I had just received some great news and was excited to share it with her.
Suddenly, I realized that she hadn’t said anything for several seconds.
I looked at my screen and it said that we still had a connection.
I said her name several times and waited for a response but did not get one.
I was frustrated because I was pretty sure that she was still on the line, but for some reason my conversation was only working one-way.
After hanging up and trying again, we were able to resume the conversation, but later I got to thinking about my experience and realized that prayer can sometimes feel the same way.
I know that God can hear me when I pray, but when His voice feels silent in my life, I sometimes wonder if the connection only works one-way.
Read 1 Kings 19:11-13
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain, ” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave…”
Say: In this story, Elijah was searching for God. First, he looked for Him in a windstorm, then a powerful fire, but God was not in either of those things.
This was a very significant experience for Elijah because God had established a pattern of appearing in these ways over hundreds of years when communicating with His people.
God appeared in a burning bush to Moses in Exodus 3 and in billows of smoke on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19 with winds that shook the ground.
Despite these patterns, Elijah does not feel God’s presence until he hears the faintest of whispers.
Do you ever find yourself expecting God’s voice to come in windstorms and explosive fireworks?
I know that when I am desperately seeking God in prayer, I most often want to hear or see His response in very obvious, visible ways.
If I am sick, I pray for healing and want to feel better immediately.
If I need help with a problem, I want a clear solution.
If I am in emotional pain, I want God make the pain go away.
Sometimes, though, I feel the same way I did during my dropped call with my wife.
I talk to God in prayer and feel and see no change.
It is in those moments that I need to remember that God’s voice sometimes comes in a gentle whisper.
He doesn’t always work in dramatic ways.
Sometimes it is in the little things that God moves the most.
I might not feel healthy right away, but He may nudge me toward the help that I need.
A solution may not present itself to fix my problems, but He can use those problems to make me stronger.
The pain may not always go away immediately, but He sometimes uses that pain to remind of all that He has blessed me with.
These are just a few tangible ways that God speaks through a whisper.
How are you looking for God to respond to your prayers?
Maybe the connection hasn’t been lost.
Perhaps you are just not listening carefully enough.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
How has God spoken or moved in your life in a way that seems like a powerful wind or fire?
How has God spoken or moved in your life in a way that seems like a gentle whisper?
What things in your life can make it difficult for you to hear God’s whisper?
Why do you think that God uses a whisper sometimes instead of a dramatic experience?
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If you liked this lesson, you will enjoy this…
Youth Group Game on Prayer
Father God, today we make mention of the youth in this next generation, not just the ones we know, but also those across this nation and the world. We pray for an encounter with You, the One who can change everything.
Grant them a spirit of wisdom and revelation of insight into mysteries and secrets in the deep and intimate knowledge of You. Open eyes, hearts, and ears as only You can do. May all in this next generation know and understand the calling You’ve placed upon them, the inheritance You’ve given them, and what You, Father, have positioned them for and their purpose in this time and hour.
We pray specifically for those who are far away from You; meet those who are wandering aimlessly. Meet them with Your supernatural power and the anointing of the Holy Ghost. May they experience Your presence and be drawn to You in a new way.
We pray for those who are wondering whether You care about them, if You know their names, if You heal, what their destinies are, and if they can have an effect on this world. Father, we know that You even caused this wonder. We pray for each person who is wondering about You and pray that connection would be made to You. Bring each one of them a personalized, detailed experience with You. Bring them personalized moments with the Holy Spirit that only You can give.
We thank You, Father, for a ramping up. A shift has come in the heavenly; the operation of Your Spirit is going forth in a greater measure and a greater way to effect the next generation. May the power of God—the power that raised Jesus from the dead—become like a heat-seeking missile that goes and finds those who need You.
We ask for deposits of Your grace and mercy in operation by the Holy Ghost in the name of Jesus. We ask for supernatural encounters for the youth of America as well as the youth of the nations. Reach them supernaturally. Reach those in the most secluded and isolated places.
We pray for Your divine presence at every educational venue in America: our high schools, colleges, elementary schools, and preschools. Make Yourself real. Make Yourself plain. Set up divine aid and assistance of Your Spirit. Reveal Yourself to the next generation so they would personally know Your power and Your glory.
Father, we thank You for pastors and spiritual leaders across the world. Give them ideas and new avenues to influence and cause children to come to You. Give them divine wisdom for this time and age.
We believe our prayers are making a corridor for You to encounter our youth and release Your power upon them. We praise You, God, for You are a God who answers when we call. We agree for these things to be done in the precious name of Jesus, amen.