Growing up in farm country, California, the phrase I heard most often from my friends was, “I’m so bored! There’s nothing to do here.” It was sort of true. There were tons of cows everywhere, and every kind of fruit tree and field of greens imaginable. Not a thriving metropolis.
So what’s a young, hip, incredibly cool person to do with such a sad scene? Initiate the crazy.
I wish I had started it, but it wasn’t me. I’m pretty sure it was my wild youth pastor, Thad Reece. He started opening up the youth hall at 6:00am two days a week, and a group of 10-15 of us would actually get our butts out of bed crazy early, get ready for school, and meet at the church to pray. There may also have been donuts involved, but we were really hungry for something more. We wanted to see Jesus.
I can’t explain how this happened, but doing this twice a week changed things...in us, and in the people around us. We went to a huge public high school (2500 kids), and we started going around every Friday at lunch asking if people knew Jesus. A lot of the students responded and gave their lives to Christ. Parents called the office upset that someone was talking to their kids about Jesus. The principal got riled, but anything student-initiated is completely legal. Our passion for Christ grew, and we saw God move in specific ways. Boring went out the window once we started praying.
So, how do YOU get on this prayer train? Here are five things to consider:
1. Ask God for help. It’s usually always the best first step. He’s a Creative Genius and knows just what we need. Plus, He LOVES when we ask Him for help.
2. Check to see if your local church already has a prayer meeting in place, then go check it out. Praying with other people and seeing what their prayer life looks like is fantastic. I always learn a lot. Your church may not have one though, so:
3. Start your own prayer group. Look around you at your friends. Think of a few people you could ask to join you in prayer. Then, ask. Set a time. Show up. See what happens.
4. If praying around other people makes your armpits sweat, that’s ok. It did for me too. Prayer gets easier with practice. It may help to:
- Write down a few specific things to pray for. Have a focus. It may change week by week, but it’s good to get everyone on the same page.
- Pray the Word. It’s Biblical and you can’t go wrong. You can even look up verses by topic to pray (this little book helps), write them on note cards and bring them with you (or bring the book). Cheat sheets!
- Pray how Jesus instructed us in Matthew 6:9-13. You can read the verses out loud specifically, and even go through line by line and add in your own personal thoughts and requests. Try it!
5. Be consistent. There were times when I started my own prayer group and no one else showed up, or just one other person would come. So I would just pray anyway. God is still there. In fact, there’s three in the Trinity. You’re already starting out with 4 people. It’s a crowd!
Bottom line: Step out and pray. You will never regret it! And the more you do it, the more you see God move, and the more exciting it gets! It’s sort of addicting.
If you want to grow more in prayer, here are some great resources:
The Beginners Guide to Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets;
Pastor Jayde Duncan of Antioch Church started a great series called "Teach Us To Pray" in January 2016 - Listen online.
How can you find out if your church has a prayer meeting set up? Who can you ask to pray with you? How frequently could you meet? What can you pray into that you want to see God move toward? Now. Go. Do. It.