Wednesday, April 11, 2012
One of the biggest challenges I've had in several years of youth ministry is getting teens to pray, especially out loud. Sometimes it's because they're shy or don't want to appear overly "spiritual" in front of their friends and peers. However, most of the time it's because they honestly don't know how. I am currently a leader in our church's youth group for teens in grades 9 to 12. We do our Bible teaching time together as a group but at the end of our meeting we separate so we can have some time to discuss things privately, things that girls & boys might not necessarily want to talk about around each other. Obviously I can't speak for the boys but I can tell you that the girls & I do have some pretty meaningful conversations, as well as prayer requests. Prayer still seems to be a bit of a challenge for them, which is why I try to explain it like this: prayer is simply speaking to God. That's it. No fancy shmancy, flowery, poetic wording necessary... just speaking the way you usually do, honestly, from your heart. In our little group, we used the term "OMG" as an example to how we can use everyday modern language to speak to God. "OMG...Oh My GOD"...something that has often been considered to be one of the most overused catch phrases of all time. But just like almost anything else, we can use it to bring glory to our Lord. I prefer to use it this way, oh my God, my personal Lord & Saviour, my best friend & confidant, the lover of my soul & keeper of my deepest secrets. OMG...my own little semi-secret code between my God and me...and my girls in my group, if they choose to use it. Some of my girls have been surprised to learn that I allow any kind of prayer they want to give. There is nothing too small for us to bring to the throne of God. In our group we pray about everything from Math tests to crushes and everything in between and beyond. Some of our requests are answered the way we hope. Sometimes we are answered in ways that we don't understand... at least, not yet. The main thing I am trying to share with my girls is that to have a relationship with God we need to keep communicating with Him. If a little acronym like "OMG" works to help bring the kids I minister to a little closer to Christ, then I think it's worth possibly making some legalistic folks that are more worried about semantics than reaching kids at their own level a little uncomfortable. Is He your God? If not, do you want Him to be? If He is, how is your relationship with Him? Is He a distant deity or the Lord of your life?