The weeks leading up to Easter through Lent are always an exciting time…more so as I get older and have a more acute sense and understanding of the enormity of the power of Lent, the passion247prayer3 week and Easter. Easter week, especially working in a church, is always a bit of a crazy and exciting week and then it sometimes can feel like a let down after Easter is finished.

img_34213This year again at our church in Croydon, we turned our youth room into a 24-7 prayer room for the church for the week of Easter. It is so exciting to see artwork that people create while praying, see their comments left in the journal, to see teenagers taking the 2AM to 3AM slot because it needs to be filled. img_34222Our church has done something like this for the past year and a half, the past two easters, a week in September, and at Advent. The momentum is building, there is now talk of doing a 24-7 prayer room all through Lent next year and even a permanent 24-7 prayer room. God is doing some radical things in people through this ministry.img_34231

This past week I also went to a Prayer ministry meeting for our church to talk about how to incorporate some of our youth ministry students into that ministry as a means to having teenagers serve the church by praying for the congregation during our services. It’s exciting to hear adults articulate the belief and ideas that students can serve in meaningful ways like this.

I came away from these two times so totally reminded about the power of prayer. I often wonder if we cancelled every program we do as a church as simply prayed continuously for people, our community, our church…how much more might be acomplished for the Kingdom, how much more would the Spirit do in our lives and in our communities? I love and hate Richard Foster for saying, ‘The amountcelebration-of-discipline of prayer in our lives is commensurate to the amount of change we want in our lives.’ So convicting.

But this week, I came away being reminded that no matter what great idea I have for an outreach, what great conversations I have with kids and leaders, what great lesson I and our youth ministry leaders might teach to our students…it all means very little without loads and loads of prayer being at the heart of all we do for kids and all we do for the Kingdom.

Without prayer at the center, I fear that what I/we plan is more about me than about God. Am I willing to pray relentlessly for kids, for my community, for the world? What keeps me from making prayer the hallmark of my ministry? Too often I think the answer lies in the fact that ‘programs’ are easier because it feels like I’m in control and that feels safer. But all I need to do is read one of my favorite verses in all of scripture to be reminded it’s not about control: John 3:30 has John the Baptist in the midst of losing his disciples and influence to Jesus and assuming the role of village kook (remember he wears camels skins and is a known for being a desert hermit) saying to his remaining followers, “I must become less and he must become more.”

In prayer, I can become less so that Christ can become more.

What creative ways have you utilized to teach students the immense value of prayer in an entertainment driven culture?