Taste and See: Prayer 1 & 2

12 09 2010

High school Sunday School continues to go better than expected.  We began a study on prayer three weeks ago, and we chose to open the series with a lesson adapted from Rethinking Youth Ministry.  I found that when we went around the circle several times, instead of just once, the students really got excited about coming up with new words to describe prayer.  At the end of the lesson, we had created several posters based on the theme of “Prayer Is…” (the first was based on our descriptions; the second, on the Pharisee’s prayer from Luke 9:9-12; the third, on the tax collector’s prayer from Luke 9:13; and the fourth, on the description of Jesus’ prayer life from Luke 5:15-16).

The next week, we focused on the idea of “praying without ceasing.” I set up the altar with a burning candle as the focal point of our attention, and opened our lesson by showing a video advertisement for 24/7 Prayer from New Hope Church (watch it below…it’s super cool):

Then we read from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23…as we noted the repetition of the words “always,” “continuously,” etc, we talked about whether it was possible to be joyful always, to pray continuously, and to give thanks always.

Our spiritual practice of the day was “breath prayers.”  I remember when I was in high school, our youth ministry intern spent one night teaching us about breath prayers, and the idea obviously stuck, since I remember it to this day.  We talked about how to “do” breath prayers, then split up and actually tried out the practice.  It was a pretty low-key lesson, but some of my youth told me that they said their breath prayer all week long!

And that candle burning on the altar?  We closed Leviticus 6:13: “The fire must be kept burning continuously on the altar.  It must not go out.”  Just as the light burned to signify the presence of God, so should we never allow our prayer life to be extinguished by the busyness and distractions of life: instead, in the simplest of habits, in our very breathing, we can find ways to commune with God!

(You can find one resource on breath prayers here)

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