These six ideas all use pen and paper to create a space where your young people can quietly speak to God on their own. For some people, writing down their prayers can be a helpful way to focus their thoughts. It can be a great alternative to praying out loud as a group, especially for those who are less confident with praying, or those who like some quiet time to process and meet with God. These written prayers can be used during a normal youth group session as a response to a study or message, and some also work well as part of a service, or as one of a series of prayer/worship stations.
Set up a cross at the front of your space. Write prayers on small squares of paper and invite them to leave their written prayers at the cross as a symbol of bringing those prayers to Jesus. This is a great method to use if you are focusing on things that they are concerned or anxious about. Alternatively, use post-it notes and then stick them directly onto the cross.
Write a letter to God, or keep it short with a ‘twitter prayer’ – a prayer of just 140 characters (or less).
Glue together two popsicle sticks to form a cross. Invite your youth to write their prayer (in just a few words) onto the sticks. Encourage them to take them home as reminder to keep on praying.
Set up a prayer box and invite your young people to write their prayer requests and/or thanksgiving prayers on pieces of paper and post them into the box. Let them know that during the week you will read them and be praying for them. You could make this regularly available each week. It is amazing some of the things that they will share when given this opportunity.
Get everyone to sit in a circle. Place a large sheet of paper in the centre, with a topic or issue written on it which is to be the focus of their prayers (e.g. exams, poverty in NZ). Invite everyone to write their own prayer onto the sheet of paper. This is a great way to encourage everyone to participate as individuals while being able to join with all the prayers of the group as they see them written together on the page. Stick it up on the wall to remind them to keep on praying.