Back-To-School Prayer Events For Your Youth Ministry
The beginning of a new school year is the perfect time to emphasize the importance of prayer in your students' lives as it pertains to their schools and their friends. Here are two events I have found that are surefire ways to raise "prayer awareness" in your youth group.
See You At The Pole
See You At The Pole is a simple but powerful concept: students gather around their school's flag pole on a specific morning to pray for their school and their friends. This must be a student led effort. On-campus Christian clubs (similar to the ones run by First Priority) are the best places to initiate and promote this event. So what does the youth worker need to do to plan for SYATP?
- Check the SYATP web site in early August to find out what the theme and Scripture focus is for the year. This year the theme is Reveal, based on Matthew 6:9-13.
- Offer students the opportunity to buy t-shirts. I once read that the average Christian t-shirt is read 2,000 to 3,000 times before being discarded. What a powerful witness!
- Purchase SYATP posters from the web site and have students place these around the campus and in classrooms. Remind them to get permission from the principal and teachers before putting up posters.
- Let the school principal know when the event is scheduled, what time it will take place, where it will take place, and what club or student group will be in charge. Be sure to thank the principal for any support. This is also a great time to build relationships with school administrators. (If food is served, maybe bring extra food for staff at the school.)
Support your students, but remember that SYATP is a student-led event. Follow up the event by allowing students to share about their experience.
Student Prayer Walk
Our church is in a small community and most of our students attend the same middle school and high school. We love getting together with other youth groups for a Prayer Walk at the school on a Sunday evening in August or September. The students meet at the front of the school and are given a Prayer Walk sheet. I usually identify about four or five key common areas around the school then give students about five minutes to pray at each station. Here is a sample of a Prayer Walk sheet we used last year.
- The Flagpole: Pray for God to give you the courage to make a bold stand for Him for this year. Pray that your faith and the way you live out your faith will match up. Pray for Christ to shine through your life each day this coming year.
- Main Office Building: Pray for the principal and assistant principal(s). Ask God to bless them in a mighty way and give them wisdom in all their decisions. Pray for the secretaries and other administrative personnel.
- Main Entrance/Courtyard: Pray for all the students who pass by this way each day. Pray for your Christian friends. Pray for the students who are not Christians. Pray for God to do a miraculous work on your campus and to use you any way possible to bring His message to others. Pray for any Christian clubs on campus and for the impact these groups will have. Pray for students who live daily with abuse and family addictions and those in poverty. Pray that God will help you to be sensitive to their needs.
- Teacher Parking Lot: Pray for all the teachers. Pray for each one of your teachers by name. Thank God for them and ask Him to protect them each day.
- The Flagpole: Return to the school flag pole and have students spend a few moments alone in prayer. You can have them pray over scriptures or specific needs in the youth group or at the school. Challenge them to make prayer and reading the Bible a daily priority. Have someone close with a prayer.
Both See You at the Pole and a Student Prayer Walk are excellent ways to help your students focus on the power of prayer. This focus could give students a vision of what God could do through them at school. And this vision could change both the individual and the people he or she comes in contact with each day.
- Do you do either of these events? How have you seen these events affect your students?
- What other events or initiatives do you do to encourage "prayer awareness" in your group?