published on Thursday, February 10, 2011 by firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
As the director of student ministries at my church, I spend the majority of time with children and youth. It's in the times spent with my middle and high school youth that the subject of prayer is brought up most often.
I find that it's generally easy to get the kids to say a prayer before a group meal due to the fact that the person praying gets to go through the food line first. We don’t allow the old standby “God is good, God is great…” (Not that there is anything wrong with that prayer -- it’s just a little too easy). So a hungry youth will always jump at the chance to “talk to God” briefly so that we can proceed with dinner.
But recently at a Sunday night youth gathering we talked about what prayer means to each of us. It is interesting to hear from kids their personal views on this very “scary” subject.
It seems like the kids are faithful in their everyday prayer life, praying for guidance in making tough decisions, safety in travel and sporting events, strength to get through a tough test or project and so many other daily struggles that plague teens today. It is comforting to hear their requests as they pray for each other and for those whose lives have not yet been touched by God. We remind each other not to be scared to share our prayer requests or to ask God for strength and comfort. After all, aren’t we just talking to God? He knows our prayers before we even lift them up to Him.
We also made prayer bracelets to remind us of prayer needs as well as the thanksgivings and blessings in our lives. That night, as we were gathering to leave, we talked about how blessed each of us was to be able to gather each week and share God’s love: to come together in good times and bad and be there for each other.
When the kids departed for the night some were wearing their bracelets, some had put them on their purses and book bags, others were hung on key chains or from their rearview mirrors, while others said they were going to put their bracelets next to their beds as a reminder before their evening prayers. It was my prayer that night as I drove home that each of those youth will continue to be in prayer through all that life throws at them. Their bracelets may fade or break, but God’s love and mercy will be there always.
With or without prayer bracelets or other trinkets, all we need to do each and every day is to look around us and see our blessings. Whether it’s the beautiful mountains we live in, our warm homes, family and friends, or a wonderful church and church family, we all are uniquely blessed. We don’t need to be at church or a church event to talk to God or have Him speak to us. We must always have our hearts and minds open to what He is asking of us and go about our daily lives sharing our faith with others.
Myra O’Connor is director of student ministries at Hayesville First United Methodist Church in Hayesville, N.C.