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?
I’m staring at my wall this morning with a bunch of emails that need tending, and tasks to be completed before 5. I’m a little hungry and my mind keeps wandering and I’m really tempted to just have a game night with our middle schoolers because it seems easier than talking about the Holy Spirit.
But I know that it’s just a moment of distraction, a little bit of tired sinking in from the 2 year old induced all nighters we’ve been experiencing lately as parents. I’m tempted to look at my wedding pictures for a few more minutes, thinking to myself, “so that’s what we looked like before we had children.”
Life is like this. It ebbs and flows. It fires fast and quietly slows.
We find ourselves wondering how we got ourselves into a few messes that we didn’t really have time for while daydreaming about a few more messes that we’d rather be swimming in. And the awesome beautiful reality of our every day walking around life is waiting for us to wake up and dive in.
So, I need a little prayer and I’m guessing you probably need one to. If you pray for me, I promise I’ll pray for you (sorry about the borderline Michael W. Smith quote there, totally didn’t mean to do that…unless you really like that song, then I totally meant to do that.)
I’m praying for you . . .
- For your friendships to grow deeper. For your ministries to thrive in healthy ways.
- For your homes to be messy and for that to be OK.
- For your conversations to be full of grace.
- For you to be able to say “no” a few times today so that you can say “yes” to what matters most.
- For your influence and leadership abilities to be strengthened.
- For your awesome families. For your boyfriend or girlfriend.
- For your husband or wife–may they be blessed and find themselves overflowing with full cups.
- For your amazing kids (both biological and ministry-logical).
- For you to adopt someone into your family that is a bit invisible. That you would
- know someone and love someone more than you love yourself.
The Instagram creeper within me–prays for your pictures to be seasoned with good food and funny moments, life, laughter, and little obsessions with triangles and chevron, dirt bikes, and glowing city lights.
I’m praying for God to give you what you need today. And for you to have fun doing whatever you find yourself doing. To serve in ways that give you life. And to know that you are loved.
I’m praying you would know that you are loved, not for what you do or how many kids walk through the door, but loved because you are you. And for you to know that you were worth Jesus to God and that’s just something we don’t hear very often because we are usually the ones saying it.
God bless you with purity of heart and mind today. With clarity and strength. With a catalytic converter that turns your doldrums into passionate service.
So we’re up and at ’em. We’ve got dragons to slay–but in the meantime, it’s comforting to know that we stopped for a moment and took time to pray.
(Oh, and cheers to Michael W. Smith, and the rhyming and whimsical Dr. Suess . . . I appreciate the way you’ve subtly influenced this post.)
Over the weekend I had the joy of celebrating another year of ministry with some of our youth leaders. My face still hurts from the laughter that ensued. When you spend time in ministry together, friendship is inevitable. I value the people who make reaching out to teenagers possible and am excited to be working with them again for another year.
I had our leaders give me a verse that I could pray over them while we serve together.
I’m reading them for the first time this morning and I’m blessed to speak these powerful words into their lives and families.
You have people in your life that you care for deeply…maybe you find it difficult to know what to pray? Why not ask them? Find out the verse that they’ve been holding on to lately and write it down. The Word of God is always a great place to start.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up: do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do no fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God! I will strengthen you and help you! I will hold you up with my victorious right hand!” Isaiah 41:10
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores MY SOUL. He guides me in paths of righteousness, for his names sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!” Psalm 23
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” John 3:16
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes fear the Lord and sun evil. This will bring health to your body.” Proverbs 3:5-8
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Take to heart these commandments that I give you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a symbol on you hands and on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates….” Deuteronomy 6:4-12
“He has shown you, O Man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
I pray these words over you today and believe in faith that God’s is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ever ask or think. May you feel them alive in you as you serve your family, your neighbor, and your church.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.
A while back, I wrote an article on truths we’re keeping from our youth groups. While the response was positive, some people wrote back desiring an article directed towards parents.
Parenting is one of the most difficult things God has tasked us with in this life, but it can also be one of the most fulfilling. Parents desire much for their kids: happiness, success, friendship, marriage, and many children. Perhaps the greatest struggle parents have is to balance physical needs and spiritual needs. We all want our kids to be saved, but few want their children to be missionaries, or even worse, martyrs.
The youth leaders also have a difficult responsibility; they want to influence students while also respecting parents and their leadership. Sometimes he or she must tell the children to do things or think things that are different than what their parents believe, and this causes great stress and difficulty for the leaders. Here are some things that most youth leaders wished parents knew and believed before ever dropping their children off for youth group.
1. Youth Group is not a substitute for your responsibility
Many parents are tempted to see youth pastors as a profession. They drop the kids off to the doctor and expect them to take care of their kids’ health. They drop them off to the dentist and expect them to take care of their teeth. They drop them off at school and expect the teachers to do all the teaching. In all three of those areas, the parent isn’t involved. In fact, most parents realize that any input from them is probably only going to do damage. Many parents treat their kids’ spiritual life this way as well. And while there are people gifted by God who know scripture well and can have great influence on their kids spiritual life, parents cannot be tempted to see youth group as THE place where their kids grow spiritually. It is only one place where that happens. It may be the most impactful place where it happens, but it cannot be the only place.
If only one hour of 168 hours a week is spent learning about God, then we are training our kids to believe that God only matters one hour out of the week, when He should be the center of every single second of the day. As parents, we must own up to the fact that God has given us great responsibility over our kid’s spiritual maturity, and that youth group is just a cherry on a Sunday.
2. Church is the weekly priority
One way we can teach our kids that we value their spiritual life more than any temporary success they can experience in this life is by prioritizing church. Even though it isn’t a substitute for parental responsibility in their children’s spiritual life, it is the weekly priority. We are communicating where our heart is when we value sports above attending church. We are teaching them something when watching football, or allowing tiredness to come between us and the incredible blessing of fellowship with the body of Christ. There is nothing more important in our week than to gather with our eternal brothers and sisters. Sports, money, or rest should never some between us and God. Instead, we should fight–and fight hard–for the opportunity to meet with the church.
3. Your attitude towards church influences your kid’s attitude
Just making church the priority is not enough. We must have the right attitude when coming to church. If going to church is like pulling teeth, then we will be communicating a great deal to our kids. They will hate it more than us. If we are always criticizing people and gossiping, we will ruin our children’s view of the church. Of course, we don’t want to lie about the situation because that wouldn’t be wise either, but we must be excited about going to church.
And there is so much to look forward to! We have a preacher who has spent all week studying a passage of Scripture in a way that I could never have time for. On top of that, he had my interest at heart. He wants me to grow as a result of his message. We have other people who are eager to pray for us and get to know us, to encourage us to love Christ more and serve him better. We have music that is chosen to help us know God better, and chosen to help us worship God in a unique way that we cannot do at home by ourselves. We must see Sunday morning as the greatest couple hours of our week, and our joy will be communicated to our children, as well as to their leaders.
4. Youth Leaders need your prayers
Leading a youth group can be discouraging when so many kids are apathetic towards God. You may preach a sermon with so much passion that you’ve worked on all week, and the response is minimal; kids would rather be on their cell phones. Sometimes parents are a little difficult to deal with. Your kid’s leaders need your prayers: for their marriages, for their attitudes, for their preparation, and for their love towards your kids. And there is no one more suited to pray for them than you, since you know your child’s weaknesses better than anyone else.
5. Youth group can’t save your kid
It is always very difficult when a child walks away from the Lord. With every passing year, the number of kids that I know who walked away from
the Lord grows exponentially. Kids who once professed a love for Christ now no longer care about Him. The parents are devastated, and rightfully so. We must resist the urge to blame. Perhaps we could have parented better. Perhaps the youth leader could have spent more time with their children. But it is not wise to blame humans. It is God’s responsibility to save our children, and even the best of parents have children who walk away from the Lord.
Instead of blaming, our time should be spent evangelizing our kids. Once we’ve done that clearly, it should be spent loving them and praying for their salvation. It may be wise to evaluate where our priorities were over the years. Perhaps if we need to repent and change in some areas to do so, it may also be wise to ask forgiveness to our kids for prioritizing things that weren’t as important, and asking them to forgive us for not prioritizing church. Then we must quickly cast our burdens on the Lord and go on the attack with the Gospel and with our love towards our kids.
Too many parents think that by simply taking their kids to youth group, they will be magically saved in the same way that taking our kids to the dentists takes care of cavities. The Holy Spirit doesn’t work that way.
6. Youth Leaders might be scared of you
It is sad to say that many youth leaders are scared of the parents. You can tell even at a young age when one of my children bumps his head or gets a scratch that nursery workers are afraid to tell us, not knowing that I’m excited about my boys being toughened up a little bit. This fear only grows exponentially as children get older. Youth leaders may be afraid to confront a kid over fear of how the parents will react. They may be scared to give advice over fear of contradicting parents. It would be helpful for parents to let youth leaders know that they trust them and are thankful for them and the time they invest in their children, especially when the youth leaders are volunteering their time. As parents, we should be the youth leader’s biggest fans, and they should see parents as their greatest allies rather than their enemy.
Many people think that youth groups are a waste of time, but I don’t. I think that they are some of the greatest things God uses to advance his kingdom and to stir up a desire to serve the Lord like nowhere else. As parents, we have a huge responsibility to be thankful for these people. After all, God has given them a desire to influence our children to love Christ and to value Him above all else.
This article was originally published on TheCripplegate.com. Used with permission.
Jordan Standridge is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is also the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion. You can find his personal blog at surrender.us.
Publication date: July 6, 2016