Praying For Your Youth Ministry
As I drove home from church one Wednesday night, I looked up to see a church sign that read:
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”
Let me say that I’m not one to think too much about church signs. I usually look at what is posted, nod my head (or laugh if it’s funny), and continue driving without giving any more thought to it. However, when I passed this particular sign I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Do we realize how important prayer is in our relationship with God? In our daily lives? In our ministries?
I’m sure we could all say that we believe that prayer is vital, but be honest: how often do you actually do it?
For me personally, it wasn’t something I did often. Sure, I prayed for my youth group every once in a while, but it wasn’t something I was serious about. I’d pray fervently for my students one week, and then forget to even mention them to God the next. Prayer definitely wasn’t my steering wheel. It was not until the Lord truly laid it on my heart to get serious about praying that I began to see the importance of it. When I began laying every matter of our youth group at His feet, I began to see Him move and work among my students in a way that I hadn’t before.
Friends, I desire this for you, as well! I desire that we would all be youth workers, small group leaders, and volunteers that spend time in prayer concerning our ministry. In doing this, here are some key things to remember:
1. Strategize. Is this mandatory? Not necessarily. Although, I believe that if you’re going to get serious about something, you need to plan well. You could say all day long that you are going to pray more for your ministry but at the same time, not be intentional about actually doing it. It’s imperative that you figure out how this is going to take place.
When I decided that I was going to get better about praying for my youth group, I picked a place (my office) and a time (the first thing I did for the day). I will admit that there are days this doesn’t happen—at times I’ve gotten to work and had a pressing matter that needed to be taken care of immediately…other times I’ve just forgotten. (I’M AN IMPERFECT HUMAN, OKAY?!) But, no matter what I always recall my prayer plan and do my best to stick to it.
Your plan does not have to look like mine at all. Do what works for you! And keep in mind that your prayers are not limited to the strategy you create, as you can go to God at any time. Again, having a plan simply helps you to be more intentional about setting aside time to pray specifically for your ministry.
2. Pray for Your Group as a Whole. Think of those things you would like to see happen in your student ministry as a whole. Unity? Dedication? Servanthood? Salvations? There are many prayers that we can lift up to the Lord concerning our entire ministry—students and leaders.
3. Pray for Individuals in Your Group. This one can get tricky, especially if you have a large group. It is not impossible, though. Praying a general prayer over your group is vital, but there is just something special about lifting up individual names to the Lord.
If you’re like me and have a smaller group (30 or fewer students) find a way to choose a few students each day to pray for. If you have a large ministry, encourage your small group leaders and volunteers to begin praying for a select group of students by name each day.
I have no doubt that when you make prayer the “steering wheel” of your ministry, you will begin to see God work like you have never seen Him work before. He is a wonderful Father that hears the words of His children!
Get out there and P R A Y .