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He will pierce your darkness

He Will Pierce Your Darkness

We have all been in seasons where the darkness has overwhelmed us. Understanding fails us and our sense of God is lost in inner anguish. We lament over things that have been long gone but it feels like it just happened. Heaviness and despair can be our companion more often than we would care to admit. But in this place of darkness is where God can do his greatest work!

In the darkness, there is a sense of apprehension and caution. The Lord sees light and darkness as the same, He often dwells in thick darkness in 1 King 8:12. The darkness doesn’t limit the Lord, but we are aware of our limitations in the darkness. In the middle of the night when forgetting our surroundings, we can be reminded quickly and painfully after colliding with stationary objects.

Jesus can calm and muzzle our storm, but His timetable is often very different than ours. Our “noisy soul” with unresolved things can hijack our present reality. He dispels our restlessness, with His peace. His strength is displayed in our weakness and is more powerful than anything coming at us or within us. The work in darkness has an eternal purpose. “God uses darkness so that we can’t rely on anything that we see or know, but we learn to reach out to take hold of Him.”

Here are a few steps to help identify what is happening:

  • Acknowledge what you understand is going on – be prayerfully transparent.
  • Confess any known sin
  • Agree with the promises God has given you and speak them out loud
  • Reach out for help. Have Godly people aware of what is happening

Profound Things Learned in Darkness

The arena of darkness can allow God to do his best work, we are no longer making a show to anyone, but it is now us and Jesus alone. Maybe pain, failure or sickness led you to a dark place, but Jesus will lead you through. Everything can be different after a dark season because we allowed a deep work of the soul to take place–we are then made different.

Here are a few things learned:

  • How to engage Christ on an authentic level
  • To seek Christ with our whole heart.
  • Christ brings us deeper and closer with a growing sensitivity to the things of God
  • Understanding and Rhema are added as we abide
  • Christ handicaps our ability so that we radically reliant on Him, and Him alone.

In these seasons, God’s plan is to promote us in the spiritual world first, then the natural world. We are being transformed from the inside out and being made like Jesus. As a blind person relies on their other senses for navigating, so we lean on the Holy Spirit to be our everything. This doesn’t come naturally; there is a process of trust and a relationship that must be fostered.

Hebrews 5:8 “Even though Jesus was God”s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” As we go positive and mix faith with truth, rather than fight it, Jesus removes obscurity and we begin to live in the reality of what we know. “God wants to teach us not to doubt in the darkness what He has shared with us in the light.” The environment may have changed but Jesus has not.

Darkness has a Purpose

As believers, we are light bearers. In the unseen world, power is determined by the amount of light that we possess. As we are in the Word and walking in faith, we accumulate and absorb light and reflect the power and authority of God.  We see this illustrated in Luke 11:34-35 “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is clear, your whole body is also light; but when it is evil, your body is also dark.  Therefore, take heed, lest the light that is in you be darkness. If therefore your body is full of light, not having any part dark, it will be all light, as when the lamp shining might light you.” As we fellowship in the light it amplifies and we see more light in Psalms 36:9.

Smith Wigglesworth wrote “I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe.” Smith’s paradigm had shifted and now he was moved by God and nothing else. God uses darkness to re-calibrate us to a new standard. Jesus leads us to himself and a radical reliance on His word is learned. He weans us off the reliance on familiar feelings and self-orientation and teaches us to trust His Word.

New places of hope create new places of strength and refuge. As we come to the end of ourselves several things come to light:

  • Preeminence – We learn to become second
  • Pretense – Our agenda becomes second
  • Pious platitudes – Knowledge without life is done away with

Christ is our faithful guide, and as He progressively makes known His mysteries, we will discover the eternal weight of glory attached to them and thank Him for the privilege of getting to know Him in darkness. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to move us, and nothing else.

Light Pierces Through

God is the light that shines in our darkness, as we learn to believe, embrace and be persuaded of His promises; they bring precise light and show a way through. We begin to learn deep things from God in Job 12:22; and He adds treasures from darkness to our life in Isaiah 45:3.

God will add deep things so that we learn new dimensions of our faith. What we learn in the secret helps us function in the light. Nothing is in vain as we bring everything to Jesus, and He will expand our hearts with light.

Jesus imparts:

  • Identification with a personal understanding
  • Empathy with personal care
  • Patience with the surrender of natural timetables
  • Thankfulness is discovering the small things are BIG things
  • Wisdom is smart truths that are actual and not theoretical
  • Personal Ministry in ministering life rather than just a solution

Christ may seem hidden in our darkness, but the true reality is, He is near, speaking, and adding more depth in you. This darkness will pass in Psalms 139:11-12 and the dark night of the soul will break with the dawning of a new day. Don’t quit or give up let God hold you through the storm–it will pass! Collapse in the arms of Christ; let Him personally love and expand your heart, while multiplying your faith. He will pierce your darkness!

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Prayers for Battling Addiction in Others

If you’re reading this article, you may be in the challenging position of loving someone suffering from addiction. Addiction takes many forms. We usually think of addiction in terms of drug and alcohol addiction, however we know addictive behavior may also extend to gambling, work, pornography, food—even shopping and video games.

As a believer, you bring the heavy artillery of heaven to the war against addiction. (Matthew 18:18) This is no light matter! There is great power in praying God’s Word back to Him from a heart of love. Intercession is sacrifice and faith; you are laying down your life in those minutes or hours to step into faith that your heart-felt prayers will be met by God’s grace, who delights in releasing healing and restoration.

Note: There may be a temptation to pray these intercessory prayers a few times and then succumb to despair if you don’t see positive change in your loved one right away. You do not use these scriptures to cajole, convince or bargain with God. You are warring on behalf of your loved one who is under spiritual, physical or emotional oppression.

Remember: the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God for pulling down strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Trust God to hear your prayers. Your desire for your loved one to be restored is utterly eclipsed by God’s desire for them. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer” (Romans 12:12) and do not “grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

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  1. “Jesus, You say Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. (Matthew 11:30) We know if we are not feeling light, we are operating under the yoke of another. Lord, You came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18) and who the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36) I declare Your freedom over ________! Thank You, Jesus!”

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin. (John 8:34)

  1. “Father, I thank You that ________’s taste for ________ is drying up! No more does he/she yearn for it. No more does he/she seek it in secret. Bring his/her addiction to ________ into the light. (Ephesians 5:13) I remit the spirit of addiction over them; thank You for bringing them into Your wisdom.”

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. (Proverbs 20:1)

Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that is illuminated becomes a light itself. (Ephesians 5:11-13)

  1. “Father, is this not the fast that You have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6) I thank You for setting ________ free of ________!” (Note to intercessor: Have you considered fasting on behalf of your afflicted loved one?)

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6)

Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Titus 2:11-12)

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2:16)

  1. “I pray a hedge of thorns around ________, that those with wrong influence will lose interest and leave him/her alone. I pray this in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of His living blood.”

Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. (Hosea 2:6)

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

  1. “Jesus, You lived a perfect life to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. You didn’t die because we are sinners; You died because we sinned. You came to restore Your image in us, the image lost at the Fall. You conquered death in the grave to restore us as sons and daughters. Your shed blood paid a high price for us, which means—in Your eyes—we must have amazing value. Thank You for loving ________.”

For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our afflictions; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

  1. “Thank You for turning ________’s heart to You; I know if he/she abides in You—if his/her heart is on You—everything else that is not of You will fall away.”

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. (James 4:10)

And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me. (Psalm 50:15)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saves them out of their distresses. He sent His Word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. (Psalm 107:19-20)

  1. “Papa, You are gathering to Yourself a holy people (1 Peter 2:9, Ephesians 5:7); do not let ________ go astray like a lost sheep; You love him/her. Thank you for correcting him/her (Proverbs 3:12) and bringing him/her into accordance with Your perfect will. (Psalms 119:176)”

Now the works of the flesh are revealed, which are these: adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, lewdness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, selfishness, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-12)

  1. “May ________ see his/her addiction the way You do, Father; You are replacing his/her feelings of invincibility, lust, pleasure and craving with humility, conviction and confession. It is not shame or condemnation, but Your goodness that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)”

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Clean your hands, you who have sinned; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. (James 4:7-10)

  1. “Father, there is nothing we cannot face when You are for us. Holy Spirit, You are giving ________ the strength and presence of mind to turn away from ________. He/She is learning to turn to You when he/she is tempted.”

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:13-14)

Encouragement for you who love someone suffering from addiction

And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:15-16)

Then will you call upon Me, and you will pray to Me, and I will hear you. And you will seek Me, and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:12-13)

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes us not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)

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is faith in God possible

Faith in God – Is it Possible?

Does it make sense to have faith in God? Is it possible to release all our fears and failures into God’s hands? Each time those questions are asked, the answer is always, “Yes.” There are times in our lives when the road ahead seems uncertain; when the answers we desperately seek are elusive. As long as we depend upon our own understanding and reasoning, our faith will waiver.

We may not always agree with what happens to us, we may not understand why, but we can rest assured in knowing that our God knows what He’s doing. Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Just because we may not always see His hands at work in our lives, it doesn’t mean He’s not working! Just because we can’t see the light at the end of this trial, or the calm after this storm, it doesn’t mean that it never will come.

The enemy will constantly lie to us. His mission in life is to completely destroy our lives. He’ll whisper in our ears that things are hopeless and will never change, but these are all lies from the pit of hell! The Bible assures us in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

God’s ways are incomprehensible: “‘My thoughts are completely different from yours,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine…my ways [are] higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

We are so precious to God that His highest thoughts are about us; they can’t be counted (Psalm 139:17-18). Knowing that God is our loving Heavenly Father makes it easier to release control of our lives to Him. Peace comes when we place our faith in God, not man.

We go from victory to victory in our walk with the Lord because every battle we face truly does belong to Him. A war may be raging all around us, but as Christians, we have confidence in knowing the war of our souls has already been won.

The truth is that God will come through for us; we are never hopeless; and what the enemy intends for evil against us, God will turn around and use for our good! (See Genesis 50:20.) Our mission as Christians is to “know God and make God known,” not be bummed out and defeated due to stress, worry and anxiety.

As sons and daughters of the Most High King, we need to stand on the promise found in Romans 8:28. God is working everything we’re going through together for our good! So, when the trials and testing comes, we need not be moved by them. We can trust our unknown future, to our known God! We can be, steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. We can walk by faith, confident our Savior has never let us down and He never will.

Faith in God – Believing the Impossible

There will be times when our faith in God requires us to believe in the impossible. Sarah and Mary both experienced impossible circumstances. Though barren, at 90, Sarah became pregnant, fulfilling God’s promise as well as an oath (Hebrews 6:17-18). Abraham’s descendants would multiply into countless millions. God’s promises bring hope.

In fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary (Luke 1:31-32). Through an innocent girl, the Savior of mankind entered the world. In every case, faith in God requires us to anticipate answers that are infinite and eternal — believing all things are possible.

What About Those Who Don’t Know the Lord?

People in the world who don’t have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are left for themselves. They might get the job they applied for, they might get through that stressful situation in their lives, they might make it safely through another day, but they also might not. As for believers, with the Alpha and the Omega, with the Beginning and the End leading our way, our provision, protection and salvation are all guaranteed. Isn’t it reassuring we have direct access to Jesus and that we can call upon Him for help every second of every day? Worrying doesn’t change anything we are worrying about. It only makes us stressed out, uptight and emotionally up and down.

Worrying makes us so bummed out that we get to the point where we no longer are reaching out to others because we are so consumed with ourselves. In Jeremiah 29:11, God said, “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

“We need to turn our mirror into a window.” We need to start looking above the “rubbish” that we’re worrying about and look to God. When we do, we’re able to reach out and help those around us and begin to see the “good” and “bad” seasons in our lives through God’s eyes, not our own. If it’s the Lord’s will you get a job with over one hundred other applicants applying, you will be the one selected. If it’s the Lord’s will you get a kidney transplant now even though you’ve been on a three-year waiting list, your name will be moved to the top. If the doctors say you have terminal cancer and there is no cure, God can touch you and heal you instantly! Worrying only causes us to doubt God’s faithfulness, become paralyzed with discouragement and get depressed.

Faith in God – Making It Personal

Our faith in God intensifies when we invite Jesus into our lives. In accepting that God’s ways are far better than our own, we can release that we cannot manipulate or guarantee — our future. Choosing to release control to the only One who is the Way, Truth and Life give us peace and security. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not onto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”

With faith in God, through His Son, we then can say, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in the earthly body by trusting the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

God has You in the Palm of His Hand

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 55:22-23)

So whatever you’re stressing out about; stop. Whatever you’re worrying about; don’t.

We have a strong God, so let’s start giving Him everything that’s weighing us down. Let’s choose to lift up our eyes to our Lord and cast all these cares down at the foot of His cross. Let’s choose to let go and let God, believing that no matter what, our God’s love for us is unconditional, constant, eternal and will remain. Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd and promises to sustain us, provide for us, protect us and never leave us. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

And Psalm 138:8 assures us that “God will perfect all that concerns us,” so let’s stop worrying and trust Him to.

Our heavenly Father takes care of the birds of the air. He takes care of the lilies in the field. He knows what we have need of and will surely take care of you and me.

Wake-Up Call

We’re living in the last days and Satan knows his time here on earth is short. He may be relentless in his attacks against us, but our God will not relent in coming to our defense as well!

“BUT NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR US WHO BELIEVE BECAUSE NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR OUR GOD!”


Contribution by a talented author and sister in Christ who has asked to remain anonymous. (Her name might be Amelia.)

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Prayers for the Unbelieving and Lost

These prayer points were originally offered by a woman dealing with her unbelieving spouse, however you can obviously pray God’s Word over any loved one, friend, coworker, etc., struggling with (against) their Kingdom identity. We are all called to intercede on behalf of others. Pray these Scriptures in love over the unbelievers in your life. Remember, these prayers are not techniques for manipulating God into correcting the struggling or lost, but an outpouring of faith in His goodness and promises of deliverance and freedom through Christ.

P.S. – You’ll be pleased to know the woman with the unbelieving husband saw her husband eventually turn to Jesus. God is faithful to respond to His Word. Hallelujah!

 

  1. “Lord, may Your wise and knowing Spirit rest on ________. Be his/her counselor, Father. May ________ delight in You and obey Your commands. Convict ________ of sin, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and of the coming judgment.”

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: (Isaiah 11:2-3)

  1. “God, You will fulfill the purpose in each of our lives. Your love endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your hands. Do not abandon ________. Draw him/her to You.”

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me: thy mercy, O Lord, endures forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. (Psalm 138:8)

  1. “Bring ________ to the end of himself/herself and into a living, vital, intimate, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ. Open his/her eyes that he/she may see wonderful things in Your law.”

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. (Psalm 119:18)

  1. “Your hands made ________ and formed him/her; give ________ understanding that he/she may learn Your commandments and will.”

Your hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments. (Psalm 119:73)

  1. “Bless ________. Your Word says that Your kindness leads to repentance. Don’t allow ________ to continue to store up wrath for himself/herself.”

Or despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasures up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: (Romans 2:4-6)

  1. “________’s heart is in Your hand; You direct it like a watercourse where You please. I can trust You.”

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)

  1. “Give ________ singleness of heart and action so that he/she will always fear You for his/her own good and the good of our children.”

And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (Jeremiah 32:39)

  1. “Instruct ________ and teach him/her in the way he/she should go. Counsel ________ and watch over him/her. Your unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in You.”

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with my eye. […] Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusts in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. (Psalm 32:8, 10)

  1. “Help ________ to humble himself/herself under Your mighty hand, that You may lift him/her up in due time.”

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (1 Peter 5:6)

  1. “I pray a hedge of thorns around ________, that those with wrong influence will lose interest and leave him/her alone. I pray this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of His blood.”

Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. (Hosea 2:6)

 

Are we missing some Scriptures you’ve used to pray over those struggling with their spiritual identity? Let us know and we’ll add them to this list!


References

10 Ideas: Prayers for an Unbelieving Spouse. FamilyLife. Retrieved from https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/marriage-challenges/spiritually-mismatched/10-ideas-prayers-for-an-unbelieving-spouse

 

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teach prayer to teens

Youth Ministry: Teaching Prayer to Teens

When we first tried bringing prayer to our church’s junior-high youth ministry, we constructed a prayer wall. Built by placing plastic letter clings on a wall in our classroom, the prayer wall was simple enough. Our wall was divided into two sections, with one section labeled “Prayer Requests” and one section labeled “Answered Prayers”.

The students were encouraged to write their prayer requests on sticky notes and place them under the “Prayer Requests” heading. Our intention was to eventually move requests to the “Answered Prayers” and build a visible testimony to God’s faithfulness. We adults modeled what it might look like to pray over the notes publicly and then turned for child volunteers, hoping they would jump at the chance.

Well, it seemed 7th-9th graders were a little shyer than we thought.

After several weeks of modeling or selecting our more confident kids to reluctantly try their hand at public prayer, we realized something had to change. Even with the repeated encouragement to take time to quietly pray over the list before or after class, the prayer wall was languishing.

What Worked in the Past?

We recalled the younger grades, where the Sunday school curriculum was set by a weekly subscription. There was always a rhythm established to keep the children’s attention:

  1. Open play >
  2. Quick introduction to the lesson >
  3. Leave the classroom join other classes in “large group” to
    1. worship,
    2. receive a spoken message,
    3. view a video lesson,
    4. review the lesson,
    5. rehearse the day’s complimentary memory verse >
  4. Return to your classroom and break into small groups for an activity with group leaders >
  5. Read the memory verse and close in prayer >
  6. Open play.

See? Never a dull moment allowed for shorter attention spans. Since this early-teen class was a new level of youth ministry for our church and there was no template, we were drawing our own map. Here is the early rhythm we established for our kids:

  1. Open play >
  2. Attend worship in adult service for the first 20 minutes, until message began >
  3. Return to classroom and grab snacks (a cheap bribe to encourage attendance?) >
  4. Squeak out some prayers around the prayer wall >
  5. Review prior week’s lesson >
  6. Discuss the day’s lesson and supporting scriptures until adult service lets out.

A little dry, right?

Bring Back Video

We began experimenting with video and the kids said they appreciated it so we added short 5-7 minute video lessons to compound the learning. (Finally, a good use for YouTube. Thank you, Bible Project!)

Next, I sought advice from a colleague who regularly volunteers to work with early teens.

Youth Ministry Strategies for Teaching Prayer

Set the Tone

Before you do anything else, make sure you’re welcoming the children to the class. You’re aiming for laughter and light-heartedness. Be playful. Growing closer to God is a joyful experience. You’re there to grow in fun, faith and friendship.

Modeling and Volunteering

Now, about that prayer wall. Some of the tactics my friend mentioned we were already using. Those were:

  • Modeling prayer
  • Volunteering them for a turn

Of course, public speaking ranks slightly above the fear of death in adults, so we recognized volunteering them too soon or too often could be scary enough to drive our children away for good. And modeling wasn’t really having the encouraging effect we were hoping for. What else could we do?

Break into Smaller Groups

My friend also suggested breaking them into groups of two or three to pray. Here, my wife added her own touch to suggest having them share one thing they’re thankful for and one area where they need help. (Variation: Share best and worst experiences from the week and pray over that.)

When we piloted this in class, it worked wonderfully. We had the children self-select into pairs and then we modeled for them and set them to it. They took turns sharing and then prayed over each other. After a few minutes we gave them a one-minute warning to wrap up. Once the exercise was over, we asked them if they liked that approach and found nodding heads. Success!

If this were a workshop, we might ask our participants to share their experiences with the larger group; what they liked about it, what they might change, etc. Still, the smiles around the table were evidence they appreciated the more intimate format.

Conclusion: Smaller prayer teams needs to stay a fixture for a while. Maybe permanently.

Prayer Stations

We almost had this one. After all, we already had a prayer wall (prayer station #1.) Still, we can push the concept further by developing prayer stations. These prayer stations might focus on:

  • A religious season, say Christmas or Easter (giving to others, prophesy fulfilled, God’s love for us, etc.)
  • A local situation or people group that needs divine assistance (election results, refugee families, emergency workers, teachers, etc.)
  • Their school (pray for safety, Holy Spirit to guide faculty, clear teaching, integrity in friendships, etc.)
  • Their families (unity, health and safety, love, relationship with God, etc.)
  • Prayer itself (declaration, adoration, confession, thankfulness, supplication, intercession, etc.) (see Praying ACTS)

Using prayer stations gets the kids praying on their own (or within a small team) and it gives them guided experience with prayer; something they may not be getting at home.

Form Your Own Prayer Team Online

This is kind of like moving your prayer wall to the Internet without having to stand up a website. You can accomplish this through a Facebook group or you can use the popular group messaging application, GroupMe. You may want to get parental permission before moving forward on this one. Still, if all your kids have phones, these channels may be a good way to solidify your youth group and continue the conversation outside the walls of your church.

Reminders for Your Students

As you establish prayer in your youth ministry, be sure to remind your students the most important thing they can do is to make time for daily fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We must acknowledge God’s love for us. As God’s children, we have a right to approach Him, no matter what we’ve seen, done or experienced.

When praying, ensure your motivation is founded in faith (believing for what you want to see and the truth of the Gospel) as opposed to fear, loneliness, pain, discomfort (fruits of the Fall.) This is a focus on a covenant solution rather than a worldly problem.

We speak destiny and purpose over others; never doom or gloom. Prayer must flow out of love and compassion.

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how to pray ACTS prayer method

How to Pray ACTS

When praying, remember ACTS! Here is how to pray the ACTS prayer method:

ADORATION

Regardless of what we’re going through, we can always remember our God is a BIG GOD. He is outside time, space and matter and yet He is also by our side at all times. He created all things great, including a very organized universe full of planets and stars hung in beautiful alignment. He created all things small, like every living plant, animal and human and the earth’s wondrous ecosystem to sustain them. All this and He has set his sight upon you. He loves you and wants to have a personal relationship with you!

CONFESSION

We’ve all made mistakes. We might lose our temper or say words out of contempt. We might struggle with pride and think about ourselves too much. We might be spiritually passive, never caring to grow in our relationship toward God, preferring instead to chase the temporary thrills of this world. Anger, unforgiveness, rejection, shame, fear, pride, and a rebellious, unteachable heart can all lead to a broken life. If we don’t see it in Jesus, we’re not to see it in us. Turning away from these missteps and confessing them to God is the first step toward freedom from them.

THANKSGIVING

What are you thankful for? How has God blessed you? Sometimes we fall into the trap of focusing on what we don’t have or how we’ve failed. We might even focus on past or present hurts so much we give our power over to them. That’s when we allow those wrongs to become a part of us; part of our identity. The Enemy would love for you to be weighed down by those injustices your entire life. Life in relationship with Jesus shatters these chains, leading to freedom and peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4). What has God given you that you can be thankful for? Let Him know.

SUPPLICATION

Supplication is a fancy word that means the act of asking for something with a humble heart. You’ll notice it comes last in this list. After adoration, confession and thanksgiving, your heart will be better positioned for supplication. Too often, people turn to God only when they want something, reducing Him to a cosmic Santa Claus. Yet Jesus clearly taught us to pray “thy will be done,” not “my will be done.” Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Though many use this passage to pray that God gives them what they want, it truly means you will come to desire what God desires.

Download the one-page ACTS handout for your church, family or small group »


UPDATE

Growing up Catholic, I never understood the value of proclaiming life over a situation, yet we see this time and time again in Scripture. Therefore, I would like to offer a second version to this document: PACTS (where the P stands for “Proclamation”.) Enjoy!

Download the PACTS version »

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