Yawn. Eyeroll. Whatever. Teaching your students to pray can be challenging. But what’s more basic and elemental to a Christian’s growing relationship with God than learning to cry out to our heavenly Daddy in prayer?
So how do you actually teach them how to pray? There are four essential steps.
Try This! ❯
Pray about and identify your plan for teaching/re-teaching your students how to pray. Then schedule the topic of prayer into your teaching calendar.
They need to…
- …see authentic prayer modeled well.
- …learn how to do it themselves.
- …develop the passion that moves prayer beyond a “Santa Claus wish list,” to a vibrant means of connecting with God.
- …just do it.
In the last few issues of Mobilize, we’ve explored Step 1 and looked at creative ways to amp up your own intercessory prayer life and increasingly model prayer well for your students. Today, let’s explore Step 2. Over the next two weeks, we’ll unpack Steps 3 and 4.
Sometimes teenagers don’t pray because they don’t know how. Of course you can purchase or develop a good series on prayer on your own that will show your students how to pray with power, but there are also a couple of different simple acrostics you can use to teach them to pray. Either the PRAY acrostic (Praise, Request, Ask, Yield) or the ACTS acrostic (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) are helpful, holistic prayer outlines that are easy to grasp and simple to remember.
At our Lead THE Cause summer training events, we teach the PRAY acrostic. If you aren’t familiar with it, or could use a quick review, here’s a brief look at how it breaks out.
A Simple Way to PRAY
Praise: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name.” These eight words embody who our loving, personal God is (Our Father), how sovereign He is (in heaven) and how holy He is (hallowed by your Name.) Help your students grasp the core truths packed into this singular sentence so they know how to personally approach and praise God.
Request: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is done in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.” The first request we bring to God is not our Santa Claus wish list…or even our own personal needs (although these are important to God!) No, the first request is for HIS Kingdom to come and HIS will to be done. Teach your teenagers to pray for God to do mighty things in their own souls, in your youth group and at their schools. Teach them to pray for God’s kingdom to advance one gospel conversation at a time, until it saturates their campus and community. Then, of course, teach them to ask for their “daily bread”—the ongoing provisions that they need and want.
Admit: “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.” Teach your teenagers to confess their sins to God and claim His promised forgiveness (1 John 1:9). This trains them to refuse to wallow in the mud when they fall, and to get cleaned up through confession as they passionately pursue their relationship with God.
Yield: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Equip your teenagers to yield themselves to the Holy Spirit, knowing that a spiritual battle between good and evil rages all around. Teach them to put on the full armor of God, so they can stand against the temptations they face every day.
Or if you prefer the ACTS acrostic—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication, and are looking for a fully developed lesson on prayer for your group, you might want to check out Dare 2 Share’s one-week, downloadable Youth Group 2 Go curriculum on prayer called “The World’s Greatest Wireless Connection.”
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray from a holistically, Kingdom-advancing perspective. Let’s make sure we follow His lead and get prayer on our teaching calendars!Sometimes teenagers don’t pray because they don't know how. Click To Tweet