Monday, July 19, 2004

Teaching Prayer

Over the summer I'm trying to write a course for the young people of the churches I serve about prayer.  Basically, I want to help them to pray.  There's very little available (that I can see) that helps young people learn how to pray, and so I'm writing my own.  All suggestions very welcome!!!
The problem I face is one the one hand to present a range of different ways of praying.  I know different things work for different people, and I want to help them find how prayer works for them.  On the other hand, I don't want to offer so many choices and possibilities that they are paralysed by the range of options.  So I'm looking for something that gives some focus to it.
As I say, I'm right at the start of the process of coming up with this course.  But I'm getting really excited about it.  There's so much to cram into 8-10 sessions (some self-restraint necessary - there's a lifetime to explore prayer), and I'm expecting to learn things myself.  There's a good deal of potential here, I just hope I can pull it together.


Sarah Dylan Breuer said...

Personally, I like the idea of doing the course as something that teaches the young leaders in the parish to offer an event for the whole parish ... a sort of "prayer buffet." I'd tell the youth group that they will be putting on an event to expose the whole parish to different ways of praying, and then I'd expose them to several different styles, letting them decide to which ones they're most attracted and how they'd like to present it to others. Then, I'd put on an evening for everyone in the parish, with several segments in which participants can choose to which room they go. In each room (perhaps there are five different styles of prayer involved, and three segments of time), one style of prayer is happening, and members of the youth group spend a VERY short amount of time showing participants how that style of prayer works, and then the rest of the segment doing that style of prayer with whoever shows up.

I find that young people who have decided that they are really committed to something are among the best teachers of that something that anyone could find, that the prospect of exercising real leadership in an intergenerational community is a powerful motivator for young people, and that lifting up the leadership of young people is a powerful motivator in the formation of old folks.


Mumcat said...

I've been praying all my life, but one thing I wish someone had taught/told me was that it was okay to be angry at God and actually yell. I didn't even think of this myself. I was well over 50 before someone told me it was okay and to try it! That it had never occurred to me was an eye-opener in and of itself.

I wish I'd known sooner, but then I was raised to believe that one had to be polite to God just like one had to be polite to the woman at church who always pinched your cheek or the preacher or one's mother if not moreso. Mother had a very hard hand when she was sassed but God would get you forever for being sassy.

Any real relationship has moments that are less than polite and less than calm and collected. So teach them to regard prayer as talking with a best friend who isn't going to get upset if one vents -- even if it is aimed at God!

Anonymous said...

I've been pondering and praying about this myself as a young person in church mentioned she wished there was a class on praying. I'm thinking of doing something like that this summer- did you come to any decision? Did you do a class on prayer yet- not sure of the date of this...