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How Prayer Works (or Doesn't) in Youth Ministry

Last night’s prayer stations went well. It was interesting at the start, with 115 students in a more intimate room, “quietness” and “solitude” weren’t the best words used to describe the space at first.
But, when we changed the music to something less intense (We were playing “Something Beautiful” by Need to Breathe), and once I gently mentioned from the mic that the next 35 minutes would be reserved for God. Our words and prayers and actions would be shifted in that direction we saw a change.
The room shifted from rowdy to reflective and the leaders watched students, one by one connect with a station.
It was a powerful night. I have three PDF’s for the “non-art” stations that I can email, just comment with your email address and I’ll send them.
The other station instructions listed on my blog were written on giant poster boards with sharpies. I think that way worked better than what you’ll see in the PDF’s but at least you’ll have the instructions for a complete night.
Some discoveries:
  • Keep the music at a subtle cadence. Choose songs that don’t build into too much instrumentation. I modified our prayer station playlist on spotify after I figured this out last night. I just tweeted it if you want to subscribe, I’ll update it every month. www.twitter.com/brooklynlindsey
  • Students didn’t have enough time to do all six stations. I’d recommend doing one or two of the art stations listed in the blog and the other three non-art. Or just give them more time!
  • Be ready for some hard things. I didn’t realize how many students would simply want to pray together. Tears. Fears. I would have prepared a few more leaders to be ready for this with some guidance for grief and abuse.
  • Be ready for some silly things. Middle school students are…well, middle school students. And high school students are…well, high school students. I gathered our 6th grade boys before they entered the room and I gave them a pep talk affirming where they are developmentally. I told them I love the way they are and that I didn’t want them to change. But I did want them to take this short opportunity to grow and to try to do something that seems challenging to them (focusing, praying, etc). They killed it! It was awesome. They were drawing and participating (not pushing and chiding and rolling around on the floor), still giggling here and there but they were engaging and I felt great about that. Giving them space yet giving them places to grow. Love it.
That should be it. I hope this helps. Would love to hear how you pray in your groups and what creative things you come up with as well! 
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Brooklyn recently founded The Justice Movement, a church youth movement that helps teenagers help others. Her priority is to inspire and resource youth to break cycles of poverty through faith in action. An ordained pastor, Brooklyn has served in full time youth ministry for the last 16 years, authored numerous books, contributes and communicates for Orange Leaders, and speaks at camps and conferences. She, her husband Coy, and daughters Kirra and Mya live in Lakeland, FL where they like being outside, playing with their dog Marley. www.brooklynlindsey.com @brooklynlindsey/ www.justicemovement.com @thejustmove