Friday, July 3, 2015

Teaching/Encouraging Prayer with College Students

Do you teach your students to pray? I've been in different groups lately where the leader has asked, "Would someone pray for _______ right now"? And, no one volunteers. I was in a meeting of deacons some years ago where almost all said they were not comfortable being called on to pray at church without advance warning. I do realize that praying aloud in front of a group is different than praying silently or at home with your family. But, what does our discomfort with public prayer say about our praying?

One of my basic commitments in College Ministry is the weekly meeting with leaders. When I started this practice many years ago, I was startled to realize how many Christian student leaders in a College Ministry were unwilling or afraid to pray aloud with just me present. When we would reach the end of our hour long meeting, I began to say things like, "How are we going to pray, stand on the desk, take turns, sing, what?". Most would say, "You pray". But, after a few times, I would say, "I'll start and you finish.". Occasionally, I would come to the point of saying, "Someone is going to pray and it's not me.". By the end of the year almost all were comfortable praying out loud with others.

So, are you teaching and encouraging your students to pray? Do you assign or allow students to sign up for Prayer Partners to meet weekly? Do you ever have a time of prayer (not just a quick opening prayer) at your Leadership meeting? Do you ever speak on prayer? Do you ever have an extended prayer time at your large group meeting?

I often say in large and small groups, "Let's pray and if you want to pray out loud, please do and then in a few minutes, I will close it". Sometimes lots of people pray and sometimes I'm the only one who prays after a long silence.

So, are you teaching prayer in some way or just assuming everybody prays, knows how to pray, or is comfortable praying out loud with others!

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