Personal prayer is difficult enough, but there are moments when the Holy Spirit is asking us to pray with a teenager or other adult. Be not afraid, the fruits outweigh the challenge. This call to pray with another may be after you have had a great one on one conversation or during a moving moment on a retreat. It may simply be after meeting with your discipleship group and pulling one of the members aside after. Either way, when you feel this prompt by the Holy Spirit, it is helpful to have a formula to follow so you and the person you are praying with can navigate a time of prayer together. Below are a few easy steps to help you be successful when praying one on one with a teenager or other adult.
Invite the person to prayer: First, prayer must be an invitation. Ask the teen “Daniel, would you like to pray with me?” If they say yes…
Give them a road map: “Wonderful, so what we will do is begin with the sign of our faith and then I will pray out loud and say amen and then you can say a prayer, either out loud or in the silence of your heart. When you’re finished, say ‘amen’ out loud so I know you are done and then we will close with a (insert common prayer here: Our Father, Hail Mary or Glory Be) Hail Mary together. Sound good?”
Ask for intentions: “Great, so what can I pray with you for?” Here the teen may list 3 things or 10 things. Either way, you must do your best to remember them so that you can name them specifically as intentions in your prayer time. Some of them may be simple like “that I do well on my test” or some more profound like “that my dad and I have a better relationship”. Either way, this is a time of active listening, so don’t be afraid to ask questions like ‘what is the name of your grandma that is sick?’
Make a connection: Teens today do not have enough positive physical contact. Before you begin ask the teen if you can place your hand on their shoulder or join hands. If they say no, then simply sit next to them, otherwise make the connection as you begin praying.
Execute the Road Map and do 3 things: Move forward exactly how you described in the road map. Begin with the sign of the Cross and then do these 3 things:
- Use their name.
- Affirm them / thank God for them, with example(s)
- Pray for their intentions
This part is vital and it may sound like this. “Lord Jesus I thank you for Daniel and the man of God he is becoming. I thank you for the joy he brings to our group; especially in the way he welcomes people in the beginning. I pray for the upcoming test Daniel has as he desires to be a good student. I also pray for the health of his Grandma Rose and for healing. God, the intentions that Daniel has shared show his love for his family so I would ask that you bless him in his role as a Son and a sibling. Help him to grow closer to you as your son as well. Amen”
Then give Daniel his turn to pray out loud or in the silence of his heart and close with the common prayer once he says ‘amen’ aloud.
Thank the teen: Finally, once prayer has concluded, thank the teen for praying with you and offer a hug if appropriate.
Use this roadmap to get started, you may find elements to tweak or make your own along the way, but you cannot get better at praying with teens unless you start praying with teens. Take some time with another adult and practice this and you’ll be amazing at how bold you will be willing to be the next time the Holy Spirit puts prayer with a teen on your heart.
If you found this post helpful, please share it with others involved in ministry. Comment below with your tips on the bold act of praying with others.