Ok, so don't have a lot of time to write this post, I'm at my other job and about to leave work, but here it goes:
So starting tomorrow (a Thursday) we head to our fall retreat at five. This should be interesting because the retreat is thursday, friday and come back saturday. We had to this schedule because the retreat center was only available during those days. So, most kids will have to miss school friday to come on the retreat. We actually have about ten school districts represented and all have different schedules, but a couple have friday off so we tried to work around that.
Our youth group averages about forty on an average night. The amazing party and obviously it's a blessing, is that we have 28 kids signed up for the retreat as of tonight. Of course there are sometimes a couple who don't show, but there are always those who do not sign up but show up anyways. But just the fact that with this scheduling conflict, we still have more than half our group coming is proof of God's ability to work with and through anything. I can already feel the excitement for this retreat and can tell God is going to do something amazing in the lives of our kids.
I was given the opportunity to teach one of the four lessons, but have only had a few days to prepare after getting back from NYWC. This is my first time teaching this youth group and I naturally am a little nervous. I have been working pretty hard on this and am praying that God uses me to get His message across. The topic for our retreat is A Life of Prayer. This entire month we have been talking about developing the habits that will help us grow spiritually. We have talked so far about reading the Bible on a regular basis and have even given the kids the One Minute Bible by Doug Fields. It has been a great resource and the kids have been very diligent so far in using it.
So now we have turned our focus onto prayer. My teaching is on Prayer in Action. I have attached my outline in case anyone wants to take a look. Any comments or insight is always welcome. God Bless!
Prayer in Action
This morning before we head back to the business of life, most of you start back with school on Monday for the first time in a week. Let’s get into a new habit. We have challenged you to start reading your Bible regularly now I want to challenge you to pray regularly.
Let’s review some things we have learned from this retreat so we don’t forget…
◊ On Thursday night we talked about what prayer looked like…
◊ Friday, we learned the Power God brings when we pray…
◊ Friday night we learn about the faith that God requires when we pray
This morning I want to show you some types of prayer and ideas to help make prayer a regular part of your life.
First off, here are some things to try to help you get into a habit of praying
Habits of Prayer
1. review the 5 G’s of praying (have them get it out and read each G)
2. Find patterns in the day in which it would be easy to set a side time to pray
a. Before you get out of bed, before the first class starts, first thing you do when you get home, the last thing you do before you go to bed
b. Don’t “make time”, take time. Developing a life of prayer involves sacrifice. There are only 24 hours in a day and all of us usually keep busy. That is why you cannot make more time, but you can take time. Maybe its five minutes. Five minutes of less video games, or instant messaging…. …… The key is to be consistent and sacrifice time to pray.
3. Pick a thing that you are going to highlight each day in your prayer
a. Pick something that you will pray for each day (mon: unsaved friends, tues: my parents, Wed: my best friend Thurs: for my small group Fri: for my church etc.
4. Pick someone to ask you each week how your prayer time is going (Accountability)
5. Have a format for prayer. Through my prayer times I have developed a certain format of prayer that has helped me organize the things I pray for. It is not the only format to pray and it may not even be the best format to pray, but it helps me to pray regularly.
a. Pray for forgiveness
c. Pray for others
d. Personal prayer requests
6. Be in constant prayer. In 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 it says: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Just because you have a set time for prayer that you have developed, it doesn’t mean you can only pray then. The scripture says it is God’s will that we are constantly praying and praising. A life of continuing dialogue with God will help you to remember the specific time during the day you have set apart for prayer and it will make that time more rewarding.
7. Make a prayer journal. As you write in a prayer journal everyday, it becomes pretty evident when you have missed a day. Even more, after taking some time and really investing in your prayer life, you can look back and see how God has answered your prayers. Even your small group leaders use prayer journals to remember the prayer requests each of you make. I know it helps Reuben and I to look back and see how God has answered those prayers.
Now that you have some ideas behind what habits are good to have to develop a regular prayer time, it is important to realize that there are so many types of prayers. Our goal is for you to understand the importance of being specific in your prayers. There is so much more that God wants us to get out of a life of prayer than just asking him to heal a sick pet (even though that can be very important). It would be like if I was failing my Physics class and went to talk to my professor and said, “Dr. Freeman, I really need help in Physics”. He might say, “Well, yeah, duh! I’ve seen your test and you need a lot of help. So what areas are you struggling?” And I give him a blank stare and say “Uh…Physics?!?” Obviously he would not be able to help me when I cannot give him the specific problem.
While God knows the specifics of what’s wrong in our lives, he wants us to go further and be specific. By us telling God what exactly what we are praying for, we acknowledge that we recognize the areas in life that we need him most.
But sometimes it can be hard to think of specific things to pray for. That is why we are going to do some product testing before you go home and try the real thing.
On these cards are specific people or issues that you may want to pray for. Under those are possible situations and topics that you can pray about. There are many more things that need prayer and I encourage you to expand on this list, but for the purpose of this activity, we will use these categories. So go ahead and find a partner. For the next 20 minutes I want you and your partner to find somewhere quiet and really pray over these. As you pray let God lead you in the certain specifics behind each person or topic. After you have finished, come back and we will see how it went.
Types of Prayer:
3. Your relationship with family
Friends who are believers
1. Growth in their walk
2. Strength in temptation
1. Divine Opportunities
2. For God to open their hearts
1. Relieve stress
Growth in your relationship with Jesus
2. Faith in tough times
3. Daily reminders of His work
1. Wrongful actions
2. Wrongful inaction
1. Answered prayers
2. Beauty of creation
3. Gifts in your life
1. Possibility of college or work
2. Future spouse
3. Your ministry