Over the next few weeks, as we get closer to Lent, we’ll be sharing a series of posts on prayer. Our hope is that these conversations will deepen not only your prayer life, but also the prayer lives of the youth you work with on a daily basis.
Traditionally, Lent is a time to reexamine one’s prayer life. The problem for many, both youth and adults, is that we have never been taught what a life of prayer might look like. Sure, we say prayers at each of our gatherings, we have the best of intentions, but if someone asks, “Can you teach me to pray?” we don’t always know where to begin.
Perhaps the first step is to recognize that prayer is an act of gratitude, an act of thanksgiving for all that has been given to us. The psalms are full of individuals giving thanks to God. Each Sunday, many of us sing the doxology reminding us of the gifts that have been given to us by God. We praise God from “whom all blessings flow.”
When we our prayer life begins with an act of gratitude, we have the option (if we choose) to live more freely. When we live more freely, we find ourselves connected more deeply to God, to our family, to our neighbors, and to one another. When we live connected with one another we can start to see life with others not as a series of competitions, but as a series of moments and interactions with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we live connected with others, we can discover that each single day has a purpose, an opportunity to deepen our relationships. All of this can start with a simple prayer of thanks and gratitude.
We’ll conclude each post on this series with a practical activity on prayer. Our goal is to not only teach our youth what prayer is, but also help them discover what prayer is.
A Prayer Exercise on Gratitude:
- Discuss what gratitude means.
- Have your youth create the most exhaustive list of gratitude they can, thanking God for all of the goodness in their life.
- Watch this video from Sanctus Real entitled "Thank You."
- Close with silent prayer. Have each youth write on a chalkboard, banner, or something creative that you can leave in your youth room what they are thankful for as their "offering" to God.