A Few Tips To Help Teenagers (Creatively) Build A Prayer Habit
Which makes it even more important to do what we can to help students be succesful in this area of their spiritual lives.
Over the years, I've found that if I can give students a "hook" of some sort, it makes it easier to help them learn how to pray. These are just a few things I've done (or known of others doing) that have worked for me. Maybe they will help you, as well.
Texting Students' Names To Each Other
This one ain't rocket science. A few years ago I had 5 guys in a group. Each guy was assigned a different day of the week, as in, "Monday is John's day." On Monday I'd send a text to each guy reminding him to pray for John. Then Tuesday it was the next guy's day.
Years ago, we had a student who was dealing with a significant health issue. We wanted to pray for this guy, so we tied a simple piece of thread around our wrists like a bracelet. The bracelet was to remind us to pray for this student. Just a way of reminding students to constantly be in prayer.
Texting Prayer Requests Mid-Week
Pick a day halfway between your last meeting and your next one. Send a text or Facebook message reminding guys of the prayer requests you shared in your last meeting.
Rock In Your Pocket
Yup. I said aquarium rocks, though it could be any cool looking object small enough to fit in your students' pockets. With one group I had, I gave them all these little purplish glass-looking rocks used to put in the bottom of an aquarium. I told them to carry it in their pockets for a week. I asked them to say a prayer of some sort (prayer of praise, prayer for someone in our group, prayer for their family, etc.) every time they were aware of the rock. We didn't do it for longer than a week, but the idea was simply to get them in the habit of praying throughout the day.
I once printed off Ephesians 6:18 on a piece of cardstock. I put it on a cool background and printed it in color. We did a short discussion on the verse, then I cut the cardstock into 6 squares (one for me and each student in the group). I encouraged the guys to put the card on their rear view mirror or dashboard and when they saw it to remember to pray. Again, similar to the previous two. Just a simple visual key.
I actually haven't done this, but have a friend who has and it seemed to work. Have students think of a time each day where they would have a few minutes to pray. Instruct them to set their phone alarms to go off at that time. Then, give them some instructions on how to pray, maybe a different emphasis each day of the week.
These are some of the more effective ways I've tried through the years to help students develop the habit of prayer. (I've tried others that didn't work as well. Maybe that's another blog post????)
If you have a second, share a tip or "hook" you've used before that's been successful in helping students remember to be in prayer.