Let’s face it, most (if not all) youth ministers are type-A personalities. We plan everything out… from the number of napkins needed for a retreat to the number of jelly beans that are necessary for that crazy game being planned for the upcoming Life Night.
That begs the question: Have we consciously planned for and implemented a program of prayer in support of our ministries?
I knew, going into my second Life Teen parish start-up, that I needed as much help as I could get to ensure I was being led by the Holy Spirit and not following my own path. As I sat in front of the Blessed Sacrament, praying and seeking God’s help in it all, He slapped me (gently) alongside the head and directed me to immediately form a Prayer Ministry.
One month after I arrived, two months before Core discernment began, five months before training started, and a full eleven months before we kicked off Life Teen, a Prayer Ministry was established.
Who were these “prayer warriors” and where did they come from? I know you know them… they’re the gray-haired ladies (or men) at daily Mass… the ones that are signed up for the 3 AM Holy Hours… the troop of retired people who take Holy Communion to those at nursing homes. They also include parents, grandparents, and basically anyone and everyone who is committed to and convinced of the power of prayer.
Each was asked to pray the Rosary, at least once each week, and provided a prayer card with the Life Teen Prayer on one side, and five intentions on the other. Prior to the Our Father that begins each decade, they were asked to offer the following (5 decades / 5 intentions):
- “For teens everywhere, that they might grow in relationship with Jesus Christ.”
- “For Life Teen, locally and internationally, and their ministry to lead teens closer to Christ.”
- “For those that serve the Life Teen ministry (or who will serve it), that through their works of love they might come to know Our Lord in a deeper way.”
- “For an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.”
- “That the Virgin Mary’s mantle of protection rest over all of those who seek to serve her Son.”
Without doubt, the fruits of what God has allowed to happen at our parish have come from those seeds of prayer, planted by those original 13 “prayer warriors.” Now, that ministry has doubled in size (not counting all the nursing home residents, visited by some of those warriors, who are also praying for us). Anytime we face a need, an adversity… those “prayer warriors” are there to lift up the ministry and the teens.
How are you deliberately ensuring your ministry is being lifted up in prayer? What have you done to have it purposefully prayed for? Who are those prayer warriors in your parish?
“Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…” Saint John Chrysostom