Our Church just finished up a 30 days of Prayer focus. The goal was for us, as individuals, to be in daily prayer with the Lord, praying for things specifically and seeing how God works in our midst because of our commitment to offer it up to Him. Accepting the challenge, I was excited about this and wanted to see what happened. It even reminded me of a time when I saw God work through prayer in a mighty way.
When I was the WyldLife Director for Northwest Fairfax Young Life, the volunteer leaders and I wanted to really seek the Lord and rely on Him and his provisions for our upcoming summer camp trip. So, this one particular year, the volunteer leaders and I committed to get together each Thursday to pray during the spring and early summer for our camp trip. We would first write on the dry/erase board our camp requests. Then, we would pray from them and individual middle school students we really wanted to go on the trip. When it was all said and done with, the Lord provided over 100 middle schoolers to come! It was the largest camp trip we ever went on (and I believe the largest still) and we had a significant number of students come to know the Lord during that week! It was a great blessing from God.
As I reflected on that camp trip, I realize that the only thing we did differently from previous years was that we strategically prayed for students and for the camp trip. Oftentimes, in ministry, when in meetings or planning out events or curriculum, a common practice is to pray at the start. Do you do this? I am sure you do, but do you know why we do this? I don’t know about you, but when I pray, it is for God’s wisdom to come upon us as we make decisions so that more people may come to know Him. As noble as this request is, should our prayer time before the Lord be more than just a thing we do before a meeting, event or a decision is to be made?
Remembering my summer camp example convicted me in how I am currently praying for the youth and the youth ministry. I believe that if I am going to experience God’s blessings like my summer camp trip, I need to PRAY STRATEGICALLY for my ministry. When King Solomon took over as King of Israel, the Lord gave him a chance to ask for whatever he wanted and it would be given to him. So, in 1 Kings 3:5-14 Solomon asked for wisdom. Why? Because he was so young and with the responsibility he had to lead being so great, he needed God to be his wisdom and guidance. In the same way, as Youth Pastors and Ministers, the responsibility we have to share Christ to our youth is so great, we need to be actively praying for God’s wisdom and guidance. Why try to go at this alone? We need to be asking God for wisdom and discernment consistently.
But, praying strategically is more than just praying for wisdom and safety for your students. It is praying specifically for your students by name, your program for what you hope would happen and become, for your leaders (and for more leaders), and many other things on your heart. As Christ points out in Luke 11:5-10, if we ask, seek and knock, God will provide and bless us. So, if this is true, why wouldn’t we come before the Lord with boldness and strategically pray for our ministry.
So, how do you pray strategically? Here are some examples:
- Be specific. Write down specific things you can be praying over so that, when the Lord answers it, you will be able to identify how he is working in your ministry. Write down students by name and pray specifically over each student.
- Pray for things that only God could provide and answer. This isn’t an ultimate wish list kind of thing. But, think through some areas that you know are beyond your reach and only God can do.
- After you make a list of things to pray over, organize them to pray over them throughout the week. For example, you can pray for your existing leaders and new leaders on Sundays and Thursdays while you pray for different students in your program daily.
Again, these are just a few examples, but as I have found out many times, it can be very easy to get into a routine and pray as we always have – not that there is anything wrong with that. But, when we do this, I believe that we can miss out on what it means to pray intentionally and see how God blesses your prayers and your heart for others and your program. Try something new this week and refresh or create a prayer strategy so that you can see God at work.
TAKE A MINUTE and…
- Examine your prayer strategy. Do you have one? Do you need to update it or change it in some way? Look over it and update it as needed or create one.
- After you have created or updated your prayer strategy, have your volunteer leaders look over it and offer input to so that they feel included and a part of the process.