This guest post from Jay Campbell, Director of Youth Ministries at Fairfax UMC in Virginia, offers this adaptable plan for inviting your youth into a night of prayer by exploring the whole church, learning about what ministry is taking place in each space and offering prayer for God's work in those ministries.
I love offering students different ways of prayer and I love helping youth see what the church is and what it can be. Prayer Journey Through the Church is a night of prayer that gets youth to pray, learn about the life of the church, and to pray and imagine for what the church can be.
We gave each youth and adult leader a journal/guide for the night to direct them to various places in the church. One time we had prayer stations present at each spot they visited. Another time the prayer stations/guides were in their journal. As they walked from one space to the next, they were reading about what happens in the life of their local church in each space.
After taking a minute to consider what ministry is happening in and through the local church, they are given prayer points to spend a minute or two praying for the ministries that the particular space represents.
Both times I have done this the youth have shared how eye opening it was to learn what all was happening in the life of the church and it helped them see some of the spaces differently. It has also helped them see that the church can be more and to imagine new possibilities.
Here are some examples of the places we used:
Staff offices – Explore the offices and perhaps conference room. This is where the staff spends a lot of their time praying, planning, dreaming, and preparing for works of worship, spiritual formation, community building, active transformational mission in the world, counseling, visioning, handling all the administration and communication, developing resources for congregational spiritual growth, continuing to learn about theology and practices of ministry, and much more.
Prayer Points – pray that God would lead all churches throughout the world; pray for the staff of this church, that they would be led by the Spirit in all that they do; pray that God will raise and build up authentic church leaders who are humble, dedicated, passionate, willing to learn and servant hearted.
Christian Education Rooms (where adults, children and youth meet weekly)
This is the space where spiritual formation, education, community, and growth happen. (Share a little bit about what unique discipleship opportunities are available in your church in these spaces. Also consider any other groups that meet here such as: AA, ESL, etc…)
Prayer points – offer prayers for multiple generations to continue learning and growing in their faith through conversation and study. Pray for immigrants and people who may have struggled with addiction to find healing, community and their needs to be met and cared for by this congregation. Pray for who is not meeting in these spaces and how God can use us to connect to new people.