If you are looking for a creative way to spend an evening with your youth in prayer, consider the outline below. You can use this to focus on God, each person, each other, and the world.
There are several activities below as examples of things you can do with your group. The typical timeframe would be 60-90 minutes but you can adjust it to fit your schedule. To bring added interest, you can use video clips, and visual resources as aids. You will want a comfortable room, with low lighting, music, bibles, tissues, and paper.
Begin the session with an introduction on prayer. You can use scriptures, a story, a video clip, or live testimony from another youth. The introduction should be engaging, relevant, and create interest. Here are two scriptures you can use as well:
‘Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.’ 2 Chronicles 7:14-15
‘I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.’ Matthew 18:19-20
WORSHIP – FOCUS ON GOD
Have a time of worship using songs and music. The songs should relevant for the age range you are dealing with, and should be entirely focused on God, not our needs. The goal is to bring the entire focus for the evening to God, not our troubles, struggles, or youth activities.
During this worship time, you may wish to break into a song, and have a youth lead a verbal praise to God, for who He is, and/or what He has done. You may wish to use scriptures from the book of Psalm during these times, where the psalm is read and then accompanied by a personal praise. Praying the Word brings the will of God into your prayer session. Psalm 100 is a great passage to use.
FOCUS ON YOU
Gather the group together and time of repenting. Talk to the group about our human weakness, and everyone’s need for repentance. Read Psalm 51, and 1 John 8-9.
‘If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.’ 1 John 1:8-9.
Engage the youth. You don’t want to preach at them, you want to repent with them. Create a safe environment where they feel it’s ok that they’ve messed up, as long as they repent and try to change. This should be a quieter time, where each can reflect on their life, and confess their shortcomings to a merciful God. Remind them to think about those who they may have wronged, and repent and ask God how to make things right.
You may wish to have a time where they write down their faults and then thrown them in the trash or shredder after repenting. They need to know that God will not condemn them, nor hold past sins over their head that they’ve repented of. You can also have the papers pinned to a cross to show that God took those sins upon Himself for us.
If your group is willing, consider having them go to each other and ask forgiveness for anything they’ve said or done to hurt each other.
Other suggested passages are Psalm 19:12-14, Psalm 66:18-20, and Psalm 139:23-24.
Pray for the fruit of the spirit to work in their lives, using Galatians 5:22-23:
‘But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!’
Do not rush this time. You want the youth to know that sin is not something to take lightly, but rather, something we need to spend time on changing and acknowledging. End with another worship song, thanking God for His forgiveness and mercy.
FOCUS ON FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Every person has someone else that they can pray for. Ask the students to take this time and focus it on other people in their life. Are their friends who need salvation? Do they have family members who need God’s help in their relationships? Is there someone sick they can pray for? Do they know someone struggling in their relationship with God? Is there a backslider who needs someone to care and intercede for them? This time is focused entirely off of the youth member.
A good scripture to read for evangelism is Read Mathew 18:19-20.
As you talk about people in each youth member’s life, ask them to write down the names and needs (on a sticky or small paper) of those who come to mind. You can gather all the papers and place them in the center of your group, or hand them out for others to pray over, or in groups. Pray for the needs that night. Don’t just hand them out to pray over later. If you can, keep the papers and follow up on them at a later date. You want to know when God has met the need so you can give Him thanks for it.
Here are some example things you can pray:
That each person will see their need of God and go to Him for help and salvation.
That each person will be willing to make their relationships work, and to change themselves in the process, forgiving, and letting go of past hurts.
That God would use you to reach your friends with God’s hope and love.
That backsliders would acknowledge they need to return to God, and that they would feel loved by God and feel welcomed to return, regardless of anything they’ve done.
That families would grow stronger together, being patient and forgiving, and put God first in their home.
That those who are bound by addictions would have a clear mind that can sense God drawing them, and that they would not find happiness in their addiction.
End with thanks to God for hearing your prayers. Collect the prayer requests for use later.
FOCUS ON THE WORLD
Plan on having a majority of time in this area. God wants us to put His kingdom before our own. Often, this is the area with the least amount of time spent on it. But God said that if we take care of His kingdom, “all these things will be added unto us.” We need to be kigfdom-minded, and today’s young people want to make a difference in their world.
Read the following:
‘I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.’ 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Have prayer resources available for your youth to gather in groups and pray over. This can include things such as:
- Maps: pray for nations and missionaries in those nations. Pray for the 10/40 Window and diverse people groups, such as Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Tribal groups, and the unchurched/atheists. (Go to win1040.com and joshuaproject.net for more resources.)
- Photos of government and city leaders.
- Missionaries photos, including missionary kids. (Go to GlobalMissions.com and UpWithMKs.com for more resources.)
- New churches being built and home missionary churches in the U.S. (Go to namupci.com for more resources.)
- Photos from news articles about war, famine, disease, natural disasters, etc.
- Photos of orphans and child/youth soldiers.
- Pray for those who are currently imprisoned for sharing the gospel. (Go to prisonalert.com for more resources.)
Have your youth gather in groups and lay their hands on these photos and maps. Pray light (revelation) into dark nations. Pray for new churches to be built, and more missionaries to be sent to the field. Pray for God to use those who are imprisoned to reach those in their cells and areas with the gospel until they are delivered, and pray for their strength.
It’s highly suggested to have prayer stations set up around the room where youth can go to each one and find associated scriptures, and visuals to help them pray.
Light in the Darkness.
Give each youth a candle or flashlight as a object lesson to bring awareness to the importance of sharing the gospel to our world – a light always dispels darkness. The more light you shine, the more darkness that is removed. God has need of people to go into nations of the world with the Truth. We may not all be able to become missionaries, but we can all pray. The more we pray, the more light that is brought by the answers to those prayers.
Close the evening with a final time of worship. Don’t rush it. Engage the students in enjoying what they’ve experienced that night. The more they enjoy it, and see the benefit of it, the more they will want to do it themselves.
As you lead your group through these sessions, also be aware not to focus prayer on just a list of things to pray for. Prayer first, is a relationship.