Here is a practical way to develop prayer partners for your ministry
It all started with a simple Facebook post: “Would you be willing to pray for one of our teens by name over the course of this weekend’s retreat?” I posted it and forgot about it — honestly at the moment I was more concerned with my list of snacks that I had to procure rather than making sure that my teens were covered in prayer. Of course, we had been preparing well, but I realized I was not doing my due diligence in caring for the spiritual needs of these teens entrusted to our care. That quick Facebook post prompted an avalanche of responses — and became the catalyst for one of the favorite things that we have incorporated into our youth ministry program.
These days, a few weeks out before every major event in ministry, I create a simple spreadsheet of those parishioners and volunteers willing to pray for a teen by name. The praying person then receives a teen’s first name (first name only to protect privacy), as well as a general overview of the event and specific things to pray for. I also encourage our prayer partners to follow us on social media to be able to follow along with what is happening at the retreat or event.
Although it is important to involve others and gather their prayers, the incredible part always comes when we tell the teens that they have been prayed for by name. Hebrews 12:1 says:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us.”
This simple habit of shared intercessory prayer allows our teens not only to see the beauty of the Body of Christ on earth interceding for them, but also to be joyfully reminded that all the angels and saints are interceding for them, too.
This last summer, after a particularly intense conversation with a teenager, I shared that someone was praying for them all weekend. The sheer relief on that young person’s face served as an important reminder to me of what a gift it is to be known by others. In a world that tells our teens that they are alone — and that they have to do it all alone! — there is great power in the simple knowledge of knowing that you are being prayed for. There is great power in knowing that others are running the race with us.
An Invitation to Something Greater
Yet this is not just a one-way prayer street — we collect the intentions of those that have promised to pray for us, and we, in turn, pray for them and their intentions by name over the course of the weekend. Not only are they supporting us in prayer, but we are interceding on their behalf, as well. After events, I send a follow-up email to our prayer partners, I always love to hear their responses of encouragement and gratitude for the chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple invitation to remind others that it is our great privilege and responsibility to pray for others, and ultimately to journey together on our walk with the Lord. After all, a life lived in and through and with and for Jesus implores us to remember that we are never alone.
Lauren Scharmer, MSW, has served as the Director of Youth Ministry for Saint Louis Life Teen for the last five years. See SaintLouisLifeTeen.org.