Praying 4 One Another
Whether life is painful, frustrating, difficult, fun, or exciting, my youth group provides an atypical approach to community prayer. Instead of spouting out prayer concerns and listening as the youth pastor leads a prayer, we have taken a different approach, cleverly named “Prayer ‘n’ Share.”
The concept is simple. The floor is open not only for people to speak about their week, their struggles or joys, and the labors and successes of others, but also for people to show support by acknowledging that they will pray for a group member during the week. If a girl tells the group that a friend is having a rough time at home, the pastor asks if someone would like to take up the matter in prayer during the week. People raise their hands, and someone is chosen to keep the girl’s friend in prayer until the group meets again. At the end of Prayer ‘n’ Share, someone is asked to pray for the whole group for the week. Also, if appropriate, people are mentioned by name in prayer requests so that we can pray for them in a more personal way.
My youth group isn’t always gloomy, begging God to spare us from terrible fates. More often than not, Prayer ‘n’ Share is a time to celebrate as well. If someone got an A on a paper, had a victory in a game, or discovered something cool in a scripture passage, the whole group rejoices.
What is most important about Prayer ‘n’ Share is the knowledge that our peers care about us and support us and our loved ones in all the seasons of our lives. It’s an opportunity to feel hope during a week that seems hopeless. Sometimes we want to be independent; we think we can handle problems on our own. However, the community of believers that surrounds us every Sunday is a nice reminder of how much we need one another in this crazy world. Seeing prayers fulfilled is especially wonderful, and youth group members routinely inform the entire group when prayers have been answered. Mutual support helps sustain a life devoted to God. We all need someone to lean on, so knowing that we pray together keeps at bay the darkness that we sometimes feel when we’re alone.
Before I knew about “Prayer ‘n’ Share,” I talked with some friends about forming a small group, dubbed “Teens Living Radically for Christ” (admittedly, an ambitious name). Every week I tried to email everyone prayer requests and some scripture passages to read. The group was small, but we had fun and felt that we were doing something good.
This week, think about how you can strengthen the ways you and your friends pray for and uplift one another. Then grab some friends and share some prayers!