What I Learnt From a 10-year-old

e83ed6e02290bcf1050986a43f5afd17PUTTING MY PRAYERS INTO ACTION

Every Monday evening I am involved in a youth club for ten to thirteen-year-olds. This week I had the privilege of being part of a new initiative called prayer shack. We handed out small pieces of paper for young people to write down their prayer requests.

I work for a Christian Youth Centre, but most young people that come through our doors wouldn’t call themselves Christian. This means prayer is not something they are used to; especially being prayed for is new to them.

We have a little room, which we call our chapel. The walls are made of glass and filled with different coloured lights. The room is full of bright coloured bean bags.

The first two young people to come into the chapel were a ten-year-old girl and her twelve-year-old friend. We asked them what they wanted to pray for and they explained to us some of the things going on in their lives. When we finished our prayers, the girls were both emotional. They started sharing more, until it was time to get the next group of young people in.

During the forty-five minutes I was there, we had the privilege of praying for nine young people, both girls and boys. In all my prayers, I tried to emphasise Gods love for these young people and how they were all beautifully made in Gods image.

I was amazed to see how the young people where first of all very open to prayer, even though they wouldn’t necessary call themselves Christians. The other thing that touched me was to see how, as soon as we finished prayer, the young people would be emotional and start opening up even more to us as youth workers but also to their friends.

Some of their prayer requests were very practical, and apart from praying for them I felt the only way these prayers could be sincere is by putting them into action. If a young person shares how they struggle in school, I can make sure they get the homework support they need. If there are issues going on in their family, I can find a mentor to support them.

This feeling of having to put my prayer into action was confirmed when on Tuesday evening, as part of InterFaith week, I went to visit the Sikh temple in Gravesend: Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara. It was fascinating to find out more about the believes of Sikhs. I was touched by the people I met and how they manage to live out their faith, not the least through the hospitality they showed us by offering us a warm welcome and even a warm meal.

At some point our conversations focused on the issue of prayer. One of the wise man was sharing about his prayer life and how prayer is not just praying to God, but also putting our words into action. If we pray for someone’s headache to go away, we should also offer them a painkiller.

quote-you-pray-for-the-hungry-then-you-feed-them-that-s-how-prayer-works-pope-francis-81-13-03.jpg

When we pray, we show we are depended upon God. We are saying to God that “we need you,” that “without you we can do nothing.” But prayer doesn’t stop when we’ve laid our requests before the Almighty God. Making Him part of our needs and desires also encourages us to get into action and being the start of some of the changes we have asked for.

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