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New Wineskin Publications
Bible Studies for Youth

Designed for the Twenty-First Century
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Ideas for Motivating Young People to Pray

Young people often feel shy about praying aloud in a group. The following are some strategies that can help break down their resistance and release the power of their united communication with God.

Matthew 18:20. “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

1. Brainstorm and list on the board answers to a question such as “What are some things you appreciate about God?’ Ask the students to pray short, one sentence prayer of praise to God using the items on the list.
2. Divide the class into pairs or groups of three. Ask the students to state one thing that’s been stressing them over the past week or so. The student/s in the group will then intercede for one another in the small group, asking God to relieve the stress situation each one has mentioned.
3. Ask students to work in groups of three or four to paraphrase one of David’s prayers from a Psalm that is relevant to what the students are facing at the time. For example, if some of the kids are feeling threatened or lonely because they stand for Christ, David’s words in Psalm 31:5 would be effective. After a few minutes, have the groups share their writings with the rest of the class—as prayers for one another.
4. Bring to class pictures and a newsletter from a missionary your church supports. It would be particularly good if the family includes teenagers. Read a paragraph or two from the newsletter and ask the kids to put themselves into the place of the missionary kids. What would they like to have someone pray for them? Break into groups of no more than five and have the students pray for the missionary family.
5. Provide opportunities for the students to make up their own simple lyrics for songs of worship they know. For instance, they might add verses to a chorus like “God is so Good” by expressing in the song something they appreciate about the Lord.

What if God Answered?

Imagine what your group would look like and feel like if God chose to release His power into the lives of the students who attend. What if they began to share their faith boldly and compassionately with their friends at school? What if God answered your prayers in ways that are beyond your ability to even think or imagine? He can and He just might if you and your students begin to ASK, SEEK and KNOCK.

J. O. Fraser was a pioneer missionary with the Lisu tribe of southwest China in the early 1900s. For the first several years, he preached and ministered to the people with almost no results. Of the converts made during those years nearly all fell back into their old demonic religious practices. He became so depressed that he considered suicide.

Two things happened to bring him out of the pit of depression. First, the Holy Spirit prompted him to pray in faith believing for several hundred Lisu families to come to salvation. Second, a group of eight to ten Christians in his home country began to pray consistently and fervently for him and the Lisu people.

As a result of those prayers, several hundred families came to Christ. Their conversion began a movement of God that resulted in many thousands of people becoming Christians. Today, the Lisu are working to evangelize other tribes that live near them. (Robb, John D., “Prayer as a Strategic Weapon in Frontier Missions”, Worldwide Perspectives: Biblical, Historical, Strategic, and Cultural Dimensions of God’s Plan for the Nations. Seattle, WA: YWAM Publishing, 2003. Page 252)

Fraser’s experience reveals both the incredible power and the absolute necessity of prayer. Youth leaders must devote themselves to prayer for the kids they minister to. Only the Holy Spirit can convict teenagers of the truth of the gospel and convince them to please God by rebelling against the worldly culture in which they live. In addition to praying ourselves, we must also teach our teens to pray, with both power and faith.

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