Darin Stevens shares: A Teenager’s First Prayer

One of the joys – and challenges – of working with teenagers is helping them to experience God in the normal places of life.  Non-churched young people often assume that ‘God’ is that thing people do at a church building on Sunday morning.  Those more familiar with church often assume, “If I want to connect with God I have to wait until the next big youth event so I can get ‘topped up’ on God again.”  This is why at our weekly youth drop-in at the coffee shop in town, we try to bring the Supernatural and natural worlds together in a way that shows teenagers can connect with God anywhere and anytime.  A recent example shows how this can work:

I was just walking out of the door of the coffee shop at the end of the evening.  As usual, groups of teenagers were still hanging around on the high street.  One of teens stopped me and said, “Can you make sure to pray for me this week?  I just put in my application at a place in town and I really need the job.”  “Sure,” I replied.  I looked around at the three other guys standing next to us and said, ‘Can we pray for Paul* right now guys?”  Well, those were the words that came out of my mouth.  But in my head I was thinking, “What am I doing?!  This is never going to work.  One of these guys has never been in a Christian conversation with us before and another has specifically told me he does not want to pray out loud.”
Then the most amazing thing happened.  They bowed their heads and started to pray for Paul.  The lad I knew I could count on started first, followed by the teen who had told me not two weeks before that he didn’t want to pray out loud.  The most encouraging moment was when the teenager who was completely new to all of this said, “Is it my turn now?”  “Sure,” I said, “If you want to!”
He nodded and then started to pray:  “Dear Father…well Dear Second Father…I mean, I already have a dad, so I guess you are my Second Father.  Hello.  I haven’t talked to you in a while.  But my mate Paul needs your help right now.  He needs a job.  So will you help him get one?  Amen.”
It’s fun to be there when a young person first connects with God and it feels so right to help a person do this in a place as normal as the high street on a Tuesday evening.


Darin (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) lives with his family in Oxfordshire, England. With over twenty years experience in leading youth ministry and training youth workers, as well as developing and delivering degree-level modules in Theology, Mission and Youth Ministry, he now oversees Start to Stir.

Categories: Youth Ministry Resources

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