Using Music to Prayerfully Lead Youth to Christ

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Mix Up Your Use of Musical Genres


One of the first things we teach young people about prayer is that it is communication with God. If our teens are to have any kind of relationship with Christ, they must know how to pray. Learning to communicate is a skill that takes practice, experience, and example. When we lead our youth in prayer, we can accomplish all of this with music.

I took an unofficial social media poll and found that most youth ministers use Praise and Worship music for group prayer or Adoration. Praise and Worship is a great access point for youth. The music is contemporary and relatable and works to evoke emotion.

Spiritual music of all kinds can have a profound impact on teens, especially if they are coming from a place of faith. I remember attending a very elaborate Easter Vigil with teens from our youth group. These teens were deeply drawn to the faith through their youth group experience — which included group Praise and Worship singing, something they really embraced. Some came from faithful homes and some from more lukewarm environments. The Easter Vigil had exceptional music. The choir prepared for weeks and professional vocalists and musicians were hired to enhance this special liturgy. The teens were entranced by the deep spirituality and tradition of the chant and the majesty of the classical pieces. The mystery of the Resurrection was made present to them through it. One might not have guessed that these teens had the spiritual maturity to receive this prayersong favorably, but it was unforgettable to witness their faithful response.

Teens are more than their age. They are spiritual people not too far from the rest of us on our crooked journey to heaven. They are capable of so much, and we should work to reach them where they are and stretch them beyond it. Keep in mind that teens are capable of great depth of faith. St. Dominic Savio and St. Maria Goretti are good examples of how our own youth truly have a great capacity for sainthood.

Lastly, it can be easy to stick to one kind of music that “works for us” when working with teens, but if you mix it up, you will reach more of the youth on an individual level, challenging them to grow


KATE DANELUK is an author and speaker on education and Catholic ministry and is the creator of the Making Music Praying Twice education program. Find out more at


Image credit: geralt, pixabay, clef-593912_1280

This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, March 2018.

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