Your youth knows that they should pray, but do they know why? Or do they even know how? As a Sunday school teacher, youth leader, or parent, it is our job to make sure they do know how and why. They need to know that Jesus is a friend that they can turn to no matter what. He is here to help us when we need help or just someone to talk to when we are feeling lonely. Prayer is the most important thing to know and yes it seems like it should be obvious on how to pray, but for some kids and teens, it's just so incredible to be able to talk to Jesus Himself that they don't even know what to say or how to say it. They may find it scary even, but it is obviously something very important that they need to know how to do without fear.
Jesus is our friend, talk to Him like your talking to a friend. That is the best and most literal advise you can give on the subject. Talking out loud to yourself wandering about something? Maybe your not talking to yourself, but your talking to Jesus. He's right there with you wherever you are and He hears even your thoughts. You don't even have to speak out loud for Him to hear your prayer because He know what's in your heart and He hears you. Most kids have had an imaginary friend, was there any problems talking to them? You may not see God but He is always listening.
Some may have a problem about only talking to God when we need something but He wants to hear from us a little more often. Don't forget to give thanks to Him and let Him know how much you love Him. Ask Him what you could do for Him! Yes, there is much we can do for Him so maybe instead of asking for things for yourself, you should come to Him saying you have no requests today but would like to take hear His requests. The Lord wants to use us if only we would let Him know we're listening to Him as much as He listens to us.
Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter 6 verse 5-15 the importance of prayer and how to pray. The Lord's prayer is a great prayer to pray when you can't find the words to say. In this prayer we ask for God's will to be done, we ask that He gives us our daily bread which can stand for actual food and spiritual food. The prayer asks God for forgiveness of our sins but as the Lord goes on to say, we must first forgive others if we are to expect God to forgive us. And then the prayer ends with asking God to keep us away from all harm and attacks from the devil and then gives praise to God.
Before Jesus starts into His prayer in Matthew He assures us that we don't need fancy prayers to talk to Him. He actually let's us know that He already knows our needs before we ask. Praying to just to be heard by the people around us is not what God wants. he wants a true conversation that is personal and honest. Don't be ashamed if your to shy to pray in public just be sure you have a "prayer closet" where you can be alone with God and talk about anything you need to talk to Him about. If it's from your heart He will listen, no need for fancy words.
The Lord's Prayer is a very important prayer to teach the youth. It is a great way to end even a preschool class. They can repeat after you as you go through the prayer and you will be amazed at how fast some will memorize it. Maybe you do teach the preschoolers this prayer, be sure your teens don't feel like this is just some little kid prayer. Jesus Himself prayed this prayer and it is for all ages! Maybe you have some teens that didn't grow up in church? Now is a great time to go over this prayer and Matthew chapter 6.
Let's help today's youth to learn how to pray to God, not for show but how to pray from our hearts. Sometimes it's nice to say a prayer to God not to ask for anything but to give thanks for everything He has done! We all like to feel appreciated, so does God. He is our best friend and it's nice to know that He is always there to listen no matter what!
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