youth worker, youth ministry

Teaching Students to Pray

By Doug Franklin February 27, 2012

The greatest mystery to me about prayer is that Jesus prayed all the time. Why did He pray? Wasn’t He God? Didn’t He already know what was going to happen? Mark 1:35 says, “Jesus rose before dawn to pray to His Father.” This was His daily habit. When the disciples were in the boat and the great storm came, Jesus didn’t run to help them. It says He stayed on shore, watching and praying for them, and in the ninth hour of their distress He went out to help them (John 14:23) Why did He wait? Why didn’t He walk across the water in the first hour to help them? Why did He think it would be more powerful for Him to pray instead of act?

So often we think that prayer is about changing God’s mind. We ask Him over and over again hoping that He will do what we ask, never realizing that He has already answered by saying no. The answer no is not an indication for us to stop praying but an invitation for us to start changing what we are seeking. God knows what is best for us. He sees the big picture. If He says no, ask Him what direction He wants you to head. If He says yes, continue to pursue what God is giving you.

While praying, consider your pattern of prayer. Lay before the Lord your understanding of His character, adore Him for who He is. Confess who you are, a sinner, in light of His holiness. Thank Him for grace and your adoption as His child and come to Him with a grateful heart, asking Him for His will in your life. As God reveals His will to you stand ready to respond with changes in your character, relationships and lifestyle. Prayer is not about changing God’s mind—it’s about changing your life.

When teaching students to pray stress having a prayer journal for the following reasons:

Christian means Christ-follower—for us to be followers of Christ we must know Him and He must have our time. A prayer journal helps us organize ourselves before the King. It allows us to come into His throne room as humble servants instead of kids at the mall who have lost their parents. A prayer journal is a tool designed to bring vision to our lives. Watching how God answers our prayers over a period of time will give us a good indication of His vision for our lives.

A prayer journal makes spending time with God a priority. It establishes a measurable time and place for an encounter with God. A prayer journal also gives students a place to record what God is saying. Without a place to write down God’s response to our prayers we are less likely to be listening for them. The key to a prayer journal is being able to track God’s response.

The consistent use of a prayer journal will bring you to the point where you can’t live without growth in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe that a prayer journal will bring Christ alive in students like nothing else will. They will have a chance to experience joy in their relationship with Christ like never before. Joy comes from knowing the One who makes everything right.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More