I love Prayer Journeys! I think that prayer should be the most exciting thing that we do! I love making prayer fun. However, anytime that you make something exciting, it will take extra time and resources. Below are some tips on how to conduct a successful prayer journey.
1) PACE YOURSELF
It may not be possible to do a large display every service. My suggestion is to do a prayer journey or prayer event once a month or once a quarter. I personally like to do something like this to kick off a new series. Also, at the beginning or end of the school year and the beginning of the calendar year is a great time to do a full interactive service. If you try to do to much each week you will burn yourself out and take the excitement away from the activity.
2) BE COST EFFECTIVE
Interactive services can be expensive. To give you an idea, I recently bought supplies for 120 participants at a total of about $100. That is not a bad ratio, but most of us still don’t have the ability to cover these costs. In a local setting I began to build a reputation for using lost of props and supplies. Parents would bring me random objects to see if I could use them. I once had a lady in the church give me 200 yo-yo’s. I would periodically post a list of needed supplies in the church bulletin with great results.
3) BE FLEXIBLE, PROBLEM SOLVE
You must start out with a detailed organized plan. You must also be prepared to make changes during the event. Recently, I led a prayer journey and I had a one-minute countdown to transition between each station. This was too much time so we changed the countdown to 30 seconds. You have to be willing to be flexible and make changes as you go along.
4) MODEL PARTICIPATION
It is crucial during an activity like this that you and your leaders are fully engaged in the activity. If you are not moved by the event they will not be either. Much more is caught than taught! Model participation and your students will most likely follow you.
5) KEEP IT SMALL
I like to have groups of 6 to 10 per station. If you have a small youth group then you can keep the whole group together and go from station to station. One leader told me after a prayer journey that the stations reminded him of small groups at their church. Do your best to keep it SMALL and intimate and it will have a LARGE impact.
6) EMPOWER OTHERS
Try to use as many people as you can during the prayer journey. I have always been impressed to see how everyone will step up! As a youth pastor I found that a good model was to have a staff member paired with a responsible student to lead during an event like this. If I were doing this prayer journey at my group, I would have a staff member paired with a student at each station.
7) USE A CREATIVE TEAM
It is very difficult to come up with new creative ideas on a continual basis. I was guest lecturing at Urshan college on how to build a creative interactive service. My thought was, why teach them about creating one? LET’S CREATE ONE TOGETHER. I presented them with the Lord’s Prayer then had them help me create the stations. We created a GREAT plan as a team. When I was youth pastor I would use students and staff to brainstorm events. Give your students a voice and they will surprise you!
The greatest tip I can give you is to HAVE FUN! Yes, prayer is a sacred discipline, but I endeavored early on in my student ministry to do my best to make the spiritual disciplines as exciting as any other event that I hosted. I want my students looking forward to prayer night! So, use these tips and give your students an exciting night of prayer!