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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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