Rooted in Prayer: Inviting Students to Pray With and For You
Monday on the youth ministry side of the blog, we looked at St. Paul’s “rubric” of three different types of prayers we can speak over our students. Today, we’ll invite you to encourage your students to pray for you.
A woman from my church recently stopped me in the grocery checkout line. Though I did not know this woman well, she told me that she and a group of women had just been praying for me during their weekly prayer gathering. I was amazed at how her news encouraged and humbled me. The fact that I was unknowingly being prayed for by women in our church reminded me of the power of prayer through the Body of Christ.
Fellow minsters, we need prayer. Lots of it. Life in ministry is often lonely and burdensome. Ministry aside, everyday life feels difficult enough to drive any one of us to our knees. It is our hope that Rooted in Prayer today would convict us of the importance in asking our brothers and sisters for prayer.
When we do, we remember that even if we could, we were never intended to do ministry in our own strength. We open a door to more vulnerable and intimate conversation as we share what is weighing on our hearts. And we actively battle against the work of the evil one as we complete the armor of Christ by “praying at all times in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6).
To be honest, I have yet to fully understand how to appropriately ask for prayer from my students. I am a firm believer in showing “scars, not wounds” so as to keep us from crossing tricky emotional boundaries. Yet, I also want students to know that their youth minister is very much broken and needs the Holy Spirit to intervene in every area of her life. When I do not offer a prayer request at the end of Bible study, I convey the (completely!) false idea that I am beyond the need of prayer, implying that just because I am in full-time ministry, I am protected from sin. I also rob students of the opportunity to dialogue with their Heavenly Father in prayer.
Several months ago, in one particular small group, the Spirit convicted me to share that I was feeling spiritually dry. I asked that these girls might pray for me to taste the Lord’s nearness in this season. Immediately, I felt self-conscious of my request, wondering if I had exposed too much. I feared that admitting a spiritual dry spell meant I was nothing but a phony to my students.
Months later, I went on a walk with a student who shared that she too was in a season of dryness. She shared that my prayer request had helped her understand that spiritual dryness is not the result of poor or illegitimate faith, but rather a normal and sanctifying part of our walks with the Lord. Plus, if St. Paul – one of the Lord’s most faithful servants – can ask, “brothers, pray for us,” so too can we (1st Thessalonians 5:25).
Guys, my friend is really struggling in her job right now. Will you pray that I might be given wisdom as to how I can love her well? I am debating if it’s time to buy a new car. Will you pray that I would be given financial provision and be a good steward of my money? I am seeing a relative this weekend who is not a Christian. Would you pray that I would be given the opportunity to talk about Jesus with her? Would you pray that my heart would be directed to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ (2nd Thessalonians 2:5)? Your prayers mean so much.