Gather Round Part 2
Get everyone to form a circle around someone who needs or wants prayer (or is perhaps being sent out). Then you do the counting of 1,2,3 and then everyone has to pray out loud together. Encourage everyone to stretch out their hands towards the person and to believe that there is real power in corporate prayer. The hands out signifies directing the prayer specifically to that person.
The Biblical side to go with the prayers...
In a very real way, we see the power of this in The Bible, with God using Moses stretching out his stick to part the waves of the sea - Exodus 14.21, 'Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea..' The whole point of praying together is that the voices of God's people can bring down the city walls (Jericho), and we have the promise that where God's people meet together and pray in his name, their prayers will be answered - Matthew 18.19-20, "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."
There is something very empowering, supportive and liberating, about being in a team that is doing something, such as being in the army or a teamwork weekend done well. In Mosques, we have all seen the pictures of the people praying together, bowing down as one. Although we do not agree with much of Islam, we can learn from them in some ways. There is a sense of community that comes from praying together, doing the same thing. It's the same in our Sunday services when we sing together, for example.
Without copying, why not have a time of prayer and response that involves your group bowing down in the presence of God. Do this in a way you and your group feel comortable with. But prayer and worship should involve our bodies. Bowing, kneeling, are all ways of humbling ourselves before the Mighty God. But doing this together may well create a very special tie. Think about it and why not try it at least.
Names In A Hat
Get everyone in the group to write down their name on a piece of paper then squish it up. Then we put the names in the hat, shake em up and we take out a piece of paper each. You then pray for that person all that week.
Pretty simple stuff this. Get a young person to lead this through. They stand at the front and ask people to shout out prayer points. As they do another young person writes them into Powerpoint or similar via a video projector / screen etc. Then you can pray out loud together for each point or get into groups and pray etc.
Have a piece of paper divided up into rectangles, squares and assorted shapes that make up a kind of jigsaw pattern ('here's one I prepared earlier..' kind of thing) and get young people to write down prayer needs, of varying kinds. One prayer request for each square. Then, cut up the shapes with prayer requests on give one to each person / or a couple to groups. They and go away and pray for this for a set time. Then, everyone comes back together, re-assembles the jigsaw and prays together in unity for the requests. It's a kinda fun and different way of doing prayer!
If you don't have a prayer team covering the youth work for your church then ask for those who want to support the work through this. We have a prayer team who get a 4-month-long prayer calendar which is done so that every young person, leader and activity is prayed for each day! The young people and leaders all have a calendar each too. We send out a brief A6 letter covering the team and a brief description of the youth work for those who aren't aware of what goes on.
This is a Biblical process. Like in Acts 13 when Saul and Barnabas were sent, in their mission to the Gentiles. Apostles should be sent from a church. They should also report back to the church in some form. We see Paul doing this in his letters in the New Testament. So, if people are going out as missionaries or doing work in the local area, there is a Biblical pattern of sending.
In practice, we sent a couple by forming a circle around them, some laying hands on them, people then prayed out loud. You may have other ways of doing this according to your church tradition and what the young people feel comfortable with.
Prayers for Healing
Talking to one of the young people recently, we started talking about how people would find out if their spiritual gift was healing, for example. So, without seeking the gift, maybe it's an idea to do a session where as a group you pray for healing for different things. These may be physical, spiritual or emotional. Be sensitive and careful.
Jesus has given healing as a gift. Too many seek healing and not righteousness - the wrong way round as Matthew 6.33 makes clear. Others are afraid to try to use the gift from God. Others see this gifts as no longer operating. Also wrong.
Just try if you want to or don't already do this. God looks at the heart. If our hearts are right and are reasons are Biblical, God will have his way. Be very sensitive with this and like I say, you may want to pray as a group together.
Time to do some research and take a look at the history of your local estate or town, city. There are definitely territorial spirits over specific areas, regions, cities etc. If these can be identified, you can target specific prayer against these strongholds (eg war, violence, alcohol, drug abuse, incest etc - all common in many of our estates).
One example was when I went to an estate in Swansea and had a picture of a warrior over an area of housing. On asking the project leader, he told me there were several battles in that area in the distant past. It seemed that those forces were still lurking!
The problems may be consumerism and mammon in city centres or commercial centres. Identifying them also enables you to be more effective in targeting practical action. Get reading today!
This area is quite controversial. I believe in it but if you don't, fine. Don't diss those who do believe it, just continue in your area of ministry. However, make sure you don't just dismiss because of pride, ignorance or cos of feeling uncomfortable etc! Be challenged to think about this and other areas!
Perhaps once a week or once a month. Ours is young person inspired and we believe others will join in from the church as a whole. Just get in a room and wait on God, seek God, cry out to God and see what happens basically!
We had one of these recently and it just flowed, it was wicked. We had 4 sections: prayer for the church, prayer for Exeter (the city where we live), international prayer issues (including the suffering church) and personal prayer for people in the group or other young people. In the Exeter prayer part, we did a sheet looking at the census, the historical Exeter (kind of spiritual mapping which is like looking into the past of an area and praying over those issues) and other issues like against the specific locations of evil activities (occult shops, masons etc) and trouble spots etc.
Know someone you feel you'd like to pray with? If you're in a couple or are married, please please please pray with your partner! If not, pray with a trusted friend or mentor - Matthew 18.19-20 Jesus promises to do something 2 or 3 people pray for - if they meet in his name and fulfill the conditions! (see below)
Pass the Bible round
An easy way to encourage young people to pray. Simply pass the Bible round if you're in a group and when they get the Bible they can either pray out loud or silently if uncomfortable and then pass the Bible onto the next person
Write prayers on pieces of paper or paper 'leaves' and hang your requests onto a tree. The tree can be a real one or a created one. If you're going somewhere for a week or weekend, start the week with these prayers and see how many have been answered by the end of the week. Remember, if in the UK, use an indoor tree, yep, even in the height of Summer!
Names in a hat
Get everyone in the group to put their name on a piece of paper. Put it into a hat or something then go round the room and get each person to take out a bit of paper and pray for the person on that piece of paper for that week. Do this weekly
Get all the group sitting around in a circle. Get everyone to turn to the person on their left and put a hand on their shoulder. When prompted, people pray out loud or silently (depending on the group dynamic) for that person. After a given time, they turn round and face the person on their right and pray for them.
This will only work with certain groups, with for example, no greater than 5-6 people. One by one each member takes it in turn to sit at the centre of the group. Then all the members of the group pray for that person. Swap round when finished so everyone in the group goes in the centre and is prayed for.
Got some young people who want some intensive prayer about something? Maybe an injury, a pain, a worry or some problem. Get those who need prayer to stay where they are or go to a part of the room (whatever is appropriate) then EVERYONE else (not being prayed for) has to equally gather round one of those who needs prayer. Lay hands (appropriately) where permission is gained! This can be real powerful
Each person writes a prayer request, they then put it in a hat. The hat is then passed round and each person picks one of the prayers out of the hat and prays that prayer!
Praying by numbers - Very simple idea this one. Count up to 10 or 20 and then pray for 10 to 20 things or for 10 to 20 people.
You may find it helpful to write down the numbers on a piece of paper and then write what you want to pray for alongside it. Alternatively, you may wish to use a piece of blank paper and write a prayer idea bubble chart with the word 'prayer' in the centre and prayer ideas in little bubble drawings around the outside. Or perhaps you would rather pray for people by thinking of them as you count in your head
This is an effective way to pray if you find it difficult to pray because it focuses your mind and spirit, and has a definite end to it. This may be helpful for you if you are struggling in your prayer life
One person holds onto a ball of string, prays for something and then throws the ball of string to someone else while still holding one end of the string. This continues to form a 'prayer web'. Make sure people feel OK about praying as they may not have any choice if someone throws the string to them. Let people pray quietly or out loud
A to Z
Why not get people to pray going from A to Z, trying not to make it too stupid! For example, praying for Albania, Belgium and Coventry is OK. Praying for Adam and Eve, Birmingham City FC to win their games etc. is probably not OK - but if you do want to pray for Birmingham City I'd appreciate it!
Get a map of the Year, Week, Month or whatever and put young people and youth leader's names onto the board/chart, one (or two) people's names on each day. Everyone gets a copy of this and prays for that person or those people each day.
Get your computer and spend time roaming the web. You may well need to pre-plan this or have content filter software. Look for Christian projects or organisations and as you hit their web page, find out about them and pray specifically, or just pray generally if time is short
Prayer balloons part 2
This involves sending up a balloon of praise and/or thanks to God. Again, this involves writing a couple of lines on a small piece of paper, thanking God for what he has done in your life and in the life of your friends/church. The note can also include something praising God that he loves us, that he is interested in us and wants to use us etc
The note should be written as a short prayer although some people may find it easier to write a few words rather than a couple of sentences. Whatever you do, God understands (see Psalm 139:3-4). Then roll up the bits of paper and put them in a balloon each
The other difference between this idea and the previous idea is that the balloons will be inflated with helium, not oxygen. The reason for this is so that the balloons can be released and sent up into the skies and beyond.
Stand outside as you release the balloons, maybe in a high place. Read Psalm 139 as the balloons float away and you watch them. The idea is to effectively 'send up' your prayers of praise and thanks to God
In the news recently where I live was a report about a new age centre being set up with 200 plus people training in yoga, yogic flying and farming organic vegetables. Harmless hippies? Well no. Yoga and other similar ideas such as feng shui can be a front to hidden occultic practices and backgrounds. They certainly ain't Biblical in a positive way!
So what does this mean to me? Well encourage young people to keep an eye on the media and bring up very specific targets for prayer. Another example is a nearby house to the church which is crime and drug central to many local young people. We prayed very specifically against this place and for the children and teenagers there, asking God what he wants us to do (we know most of them anyway). What is a target for you?
Set up the floor in a grid like a board game (for example snakes & ladders). On some of the squares have a prayer request. Play a game using a dice where people who land on that square pray for that thing. Hopefully this won't been seen as irreverent but just a creative way to pray!