I just got back from the a youth ministry conference and as always I had an amazing time. I was encouraged, convicted, inspired, met new people and reconnected to old friends. One of the things I have learned at most events is that if I don’t quickly narrow down my trip to be about a few things I will become overwhelmed and not really gain anything from it. I have described it to others like drinking from a fire hose.
This year I decided to gravitate towards two things. One was student leadership. Too much of my ministry is about myself, my efforts, and my personality. The second, and truthfully how I am going to get to the first, is on prayer. If there is ever a subject that most believers can resonate with is that their prayer life is going poorly. Or at the very least it could get better.
With that conviction, I attended a seminar on both student leadership and implementing prayer within your ministry. Timothy Eldred, the seminar speaker and author of Pray21 pushed his audience to hand off ministry but do it by starting with a 21-day challenge. Partner up every willing student with a willing (and screened) adult. Then have them pray together for 21 days through a simple (his words, not mine) daily, devotional.
Call it coincidence or God’s timing, but we were already teaching on prayer the next three weeks. So we decided to toss it out there as an offer. At the end of the first week we asked if any one would be willing to take the challenge to join us in prayer for 21 days with a partner. We got thirty students and thirty adults to jump into this together. We challenged them to pray for a few reasons:
- Prayer works
- It is a time to realign our heart to God’s
- Through prayer, God will reveal things about ourselves that we would have never seen without that time and sacrifice.
We made it as simple as possible for a few reasons. I don’t need one more thing to micromanage, and if you make it too complicated people won’t do it. So we said that if you sign up you are:
- Agreeing to pray for 21 days with an assigned partner. You are praying WITH that person, not for them.
- You will contact your partner through phone calls, email, Facebook, text, face-to-face interaction.
- If you miss a few days keep praying. You are better off doing Pray17 than Pray0.
We email out daily reminders that have been written by an intern and myself . It has been so fun to hear the stories and we are only one week in! I can’t believe it took a book to partner up every willing student with every willing adult.
I encourage you to check out Timothy Eldred’s web site and get some details. (www.pray21.com) He is a wise man, good teacher, and generous with resources and suggestions. For us and our ministry, I am optimistically hopeful for what God is doing in the lives of 60 people individually and collectively.
Jeff Bachman is the High School Pastor at Rock Harbor Church just up the road in Irvine, CA. Feel free to leave comments or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and of course subscribe to his blog The Until Matters.