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Get alone and get real

I asked you all on Facebook what questions you’d like us to answer and last week all of the Life In Student Ministry authors tackled the same question, but this week each of us are taking a different question that you asked.

Ministry QuestionsIf you have questions you’d like to ask of other fellow youth workers, post them at MinistryQuestions.com. There’s a great community of ministry people there who regularly give input, advice, suggestions, and more to the questions that are asked. And while you’re there, answer one or two other people’s questions, as well. Follow MinistryQuestions on Twitter and Facebook for tweets and updates of new questions that are asked.


[ by Jonathan McKee ]

Teaching teenagers how to prayYour question: “How do you address prayer with students who have zero understanding on it?”

“God is great, God is good, thank you Jesus for our food… blah, blah, blah!”

Is this prayer?

It’s funny. When I talk with unbelievers about God, most of them seem to have a lot to say to the creator of the universe, if given the chance. I often propose, “What if God were sitting right here ready to listen to you? What would you say?”

Often they respond, “Why am I here? That’s what I’d ask God!

Funny… God is sitting right here, ready to listen.

Isn’t it interesting that most people would love to get a chance to have a conversation with God, but those same people think of ‘prayer’ as something completely different. To many, ‘prayer’ is that thing you’re supposed to do before you eat a meal. ‘Prayer’ is something that some people do really well because they know the big prayer words. Heck, my Grandpa prayed in King James English. “We thank thee for thy bounty which thou has provideth…”

I always wondered if God would answer back, “Hark, I hear thy prayers hither from thy lips on this fortnight…” (Wait, is that God or William freaking Shakespeare?)

To many, ‘prayer’ is something you do if you’re in trouble and need help really quick. “God, I know I didn’t study for this test. Please help!”

When I talk to kids about prayer, I love to open up Matthew chapter 6 where Jesus clearly and plainly lays out, “Here’s how to pray.” It’s awesome. He says it so clearly. “Don’t be like this. Instead, do this.” It’s actually funny, because the things he tells us not to do are things that many of us do all the time!

For example, he tells us not just blabber, repeating our words, hoping that it will help God listen. Sound familiar?

“God is great, God is good…”

“Lord I lay me down to sleep, pray my Lord my soul to keep…”

Where do we get these freaky, memorized, blabbery prayers anyway?

I find that kids are relieved when they hear the truth about prayer, and the truth is this: God doesn’t want us to do some meaningless ritual just so others think we’re religious. God wants us to get alone and get real with Him. When we do, he’s ready to listen.

Wow. Get alone and get real with God. What a simple, but powerful message. (Probably because it’s straight from Jesus. Matthew, Chapter 6.)


Posted on September 21, 2011

  • http://www.engagingtheshadowsofyouthministry.com Matt Murphy

    Great post. I think this is a reality that leaders need to embrace so they can teach it well to their students. I've done come contemplative exercises with a spiritual director recently and have to say how much it has impacted myself.

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