Group prayer has always been strange to me, but You say, “When two or three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.” So we gather, in Your Name, and I am glad that You are in our midst.
It is crazy to me, the way You are in our midst. When I go on prayer walks in the night with You, alone in the silence, You are there. You do something to me, to my being, that sets my broken heart back, back into the place it is supposed to be.
I want both the children and the youth group to know that you do that.
I have never been more than hot garbage at best, a man doomed for destruction. Dead or in prison were the only places that I was going. For years I resisted talking to You, finding all excuses. But You, You continue on after me. You are my very life. You are the light of life.
You say to cast our cares on You. I care about the ones that sit in front of me in our worship gatherings: the youth group kids, I worry about them. I have met some of their parents, seen the desire in my brother’s and sister’s hearts for their kids, wanting them to know You. I want them to know You, too. Please, help them to know at this age, where they are now, that You love them; not a better version of them, not a “get your act together first” them, but that You love them right now. Help them to accept Your love, love that is beyond comprehension, love that no one deserves but is.
I confess that I’m not where I want to be in so many ways. Yesterday, I snapped at a wonderful woman that I work with. I apologized to her and to You. I don’t feel less of Your love. I know Your grace is sufficient. Steven, the brother of my friend Marcus, tried so hard to earn Your love. Over and over, screw-up after screw-up, the accuser told him he wasn’t worth anything. He couldn’t believe that You could love him. He said, “I can never get this right,” and he gave up. Steven missed it. He missed You, missed that Your love for him is as deep as Jesus Your Son.
Help these youths to know that You love them. Help them to see that You are a warm fire in this frozen cold. You are a hug in our loneliness. You are hope.
Please, I pray, Lord, stir up their hearts early to pray. However that works--if it’s in a quiet room alone, if it’s on a prayer walk, if it’s while doing a task, or all of it--help them to be the youth group full of people who pray. I missed so much in my early life because I refused to pray. I read my Bible many times, but I would not pray, like a robot with no heart, moving through the “right” things. Then You had a friend plead this same plea I have today, and the gift is life, alive at last. Live, pray and live.
For the little children, my prayer is this: that You would open their eyes to Your greatness that is present in the world You’ve created, that they would enjoy the beauty of the sunset, the clouds that look like fields in a sky farm, feel the warmth of spring time and the wonder of fall with the leaves changing, and that they would be able to say in their hearts and minds, “Wow, You God are amazing!”
I pray that when they pray, they would feel You close. That they would grow in their love for You and that they would be able to experience Your love for them. I pray for their parents, that You would give them wisdom and a will to carry out Your way of parenting, that us as parents would draw near to You, and in so doing this, we will be led by You.
Thank You, Lord, for being with us, during this time, and always. One of my favorite things about You is that You never leave. I can’t hide from You, and You still love me, love us.
Thank You for interceding, Jesus. In Your name, I ask these things, Amen.