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.
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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
Dear Heavenly Father,
Take this youth group and engulf it in your love. May that love spur a deep thirst for purity and holiness on every level. Transform each teenager through your grace from the inside out until they know that they are loved fully and are free to fully love others.
Scrub them clean from the things of this world and give them a singular eye on you and you alone. May they find their security and significance in their relationship with you. May they be reminded they are secure in Christ and have significance in taking their place in His cause to “seek and to save the lost.”
May their quest to reach their unreached classmates and teammates spill over racial and socio-economic lines. May these teenagers fill this youth group with other teens of the other races and backgrounds represented in their community. May the deep unity, visually expressed in this youth group, be a fulfillment of the unity expressed in Ephesians 2:11-22 and Christ’s high priestly prayer. Use this youth group as an example of true unity in Christ that can calm racial tensions, transform torn communities and build bridges of lasting hope.
Give this youth leader the wisdom, grace, strength, fortitude and faith to lead these teenagers well. Encourage this leader through visual and visceral evidence of your power at work through them. Provide for them financially and relationally on every level.
I ask you Daddy to give this youth leader a bigger and bolder vision for their community and this world. Break their hearts for those who are lost and give them adult leaders and student leaders whose hearts are set ablaze by this same burning passion. May they fail forward together until making disciples who make disciples sets the pace for the entire church.
If this youth leader is married strengthen his/her marriage. If this youth leader is single then strengthen his/her soul. Keep this youth leader pure from sexual sin and teach them to live by your love and not the lists of legalism. Grant this youth leader favor with pastors, parents and other youth leaders in their community. Unite them all together in a holy quest to transform their community one young life at a time through prayer and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Do this all for your glory in 2015 and use it to unleash a revival of Biblical proportions from coast to coast.
In Jesus Name,
Here are some discussion questions and topics to help create interaction in your youth group. Feel free to add or subtract to fit your youth group needs.
Take the title of each section and replicate the titles by the number of questions/topics in each section and space them out in a word processing document, then cut each one out individually. If you use this list as I have it here, then print this PDF (Click here to download it) out with the titles already counted and spaced out, ready to cut out individually. Place all the titles in a hat or basket and have the youth pick one out without looking at them first. Then the youth will tell you what title they selected and you will read to them one of the questions under the title.
If they choose the RIDDLES section and do not have the correct answer, you could penalize them by having them sing their favorite song in front of everyone.
SOCIETY & LIFE
- What three major problems do you think young people face today?
- What do you feel about the poor in the world?
- If you could ask Christ to change one problem in the world today, what would you like him to change?
- If you could personally witness any event in history, which one would you choose?
- If you could cure one type of disease, which one would you cure?
- What thing doesn’t exist that someone needs to invent?
- If you had to give every human being one quality, what would it be and why?
- What do you think is the biggest problem in the United States and Why?
- Why are we likely to be critical of how other people look?
- What kind of wrong conclusions do we reach when we judge others by their looks?
- How does the media influence what we see when we look in the mirror?
JUST FOR YOU
- How would others who know you very well describe you?
- When was the last time you admitted you were wrong? Why is it so hard to do?
- What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
- If you had this week over again what would you do differently?
- If you could change anything about yourself, what would you change? Why?
- Which two people are closest to you and why?
- What type of person would you most likely want for a best friend?
- What was the best thing that happened to you this past week?
- If you could have any question answered, what would it be?
- If you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the future or in history would you visit? Why?
- What have you learned recently from another person?
- Who would you take to a desert island? Why?
- If you could change your name, what would it be?
- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
- If I gave you $10,000, what would you spend it on? Why?
- If your house was burning down, what three objects would you try and save?
- Something I’ve always wanted to do is…
- What is your favorite time of day? Why?
- Name a gift you will never forget?
- If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
- If you were a car, what would you be and why?
- If you could relive your childhood, how would you like to be different?
- You have the exact same meal for the next 12 months. What do you pick?
- If you could repeat any day in your life, which day would that be and why?
- If you were invisible where would you go and what would you do?
- If you were able to know one thing about the future, what would it be?
HOME & FAMILY
- What do you most like about your parents?
- What do you find most difficult about the Christian life?
- What is one thing you’d like your parents to say to you now?
- What is one thing you wish your parents had said to you growing up?
- What is your least favorite chore to do at home?
- What’s one thing you like about your Mom?
- What’s one trait you admire about your Dad?
- Did you get to know all four of your grandparents? If so, how old were you when they passed away?
- What are 3 qualities you admire in one of your parents?
- How many siblings do you have, and what are your relationships with them like?
- One thing I love/hate about my parents is ____________.
- What would your family say you’re like first thing in the morning?
- What does someone in your family do for you that helps you most?
- What important beliefs have you changed your mind on since following Jesus?
- When was the last time you prayed?
- Which person from the Bible do you most identify with?
- How would your life be different if you knew Jesus was returning in six months time?
- Which Biblical character do you most relate to or identify with? Why?
- How would you define the word “Christian?”
- What’s your favorite characteristic of God?
- What is one question God might ask you?
- What is your favorite part about being in the family of God?
- Where in your daily routine could you become more aware of God’s presence?
- A year from now, how would you like to be more Christ-like?
- What small thing could you do for God this week?
- What is one way you can worship God this week without using music?
- Who is a model of Christ-likeness in your life?
- What is one step God is calling you to take in faith to become more like Jesus?
- If God could only say one thing to you, what do you think He would choose to say?
- Specifically, why do you worship God?
- What draws you closer to God more than anything else?
- What is your most urgent prayer request right now?
- What are some of the changes you have seen in your life since you became a believer?
- What is one verse of Scripture that you have memorized?
- What one question would you like to ask God?
- What “non-spiritual” activity in your life makes God smile?
- In what area of your life do you need to trust God more?
- When do you feel farthest from God?
- What is one of your most favorite worship songs?
- What is something about God or Christianity that you have a hard time believing?
- If you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow, who would you want to make sure knew about Him as the Savior today?
- Why does God care more about our hearts than our outer appearance?
- Some months have 31 days; some have 30 days, how many have 28 days?
- John Smith was born on December 27th, yet his birthday is always in the summer. How is this possible?
- What belongs to you but others use it more than you do?
- The more there is, the less you see.
- If a blue house is made of blue bricks and a yellow house is made of yellow bricks and a red house is made of redbrick, what is a green house made of?
- Divide 40 by half and add five. What is the answer?
- What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?
- The more you take, the more you leave behind. What are they?
- What goes up and never comes down?
- A woman gives an astronaut $1.The woman is the astronauts sister, but the astronaut is not the woman’s brother, why?
- You can’t keep this until you have given it.
- What question can you never answer “yes” to?
Riddles Answer Key:
|1. 12||7. The letter M|
|2. He lives in the Southern Hemisphere.||8. Footsteps|
|3. Your name||9. Your age|
|4. Darkness||10. Sister|
|5. Glass||11. A promise|
|6. 85||12. Are you asleep?|
Many of the above discussion starters were taken from a variety of sources, including these: