What is prayer?
Edge Night Outline
Goal of this Night
The goal of this Edge Night is to invite the youth into a relationship with God through prayer and to help the youth to understand what prayer is and that it is the foundation of our lives as Christians. This night will focus on Jesus as our model of prayer and reflect on His example to help us to pray.
About this night
This night begins our semester on prayer and will lay the groundwork for exploring all the different types of prayer. Before we can get into all the forms of prayer, we need to understand what prayer is. Prayer is the raising of our hearts and minds to God and requesting good things from Him. Prayer is an encounter with God and the beginning of a covenant relationship with Him. We are constantly searching for something; St. Augustine puts it beautifully when he says, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” Prayer is our opportunity to rest in God.
The night will begin with a “play” on the idea of Twitter, making the connection that God is constantly trying to communicate with us. In the icebreaker, each small group will come up with a creative Twitter username and come up with some creative and funny “tweets” that have to do with God, prayer, and sharing it with others. After this icebreaker, there will be a comical skit that shows God sending out “tweets” to us. The skit will transition into the Proclaim, which will cover the basic points of prayer. After the talk, there will be a witness and then a time to reflect in small groups. Within small groups there will be two additional activities: a Scripture search and a time for each small group to write their own prayer to share with the large group. After each small group has completed the activities, the night will move into a time of prayer where each teen will be given an invitation to deepen his/her prayer life. If possible, have the closing prayer in the church.
Before The Night
There are some good videos to illustrate the points of the night on prayer. One video on www.skitguys.com is called “The Way We Pray.” It would be fun for your Core Team to re-create a similar video using characters that your middle school youth would know. For instance, in the video, they reference the Napoleon Dynamite movie (a dated reference from 2005). Find more up-to-date characters and then show the video during the Edge Night.
This night covers the topic “What is Prayer?” and it begins our semester on prayer. In this night we shared that prayer as a conversation with God and a chance to enter into a true and lasting friendship with Him. We discussed that if God could communicate with us in today’s terms, we would receive “tweets” all day long of how much He loves us. Throughout this semester, we will discuss the importance of having a prayer life and how we can better understand various forms of prayer given to us by the Church. We come to understand the importance of prayer with Jesus as our model. With all the noise of the world, Jesus would go off by Himself to pray. In the same way, tonight we challenged your child to commit to praying each day – to find a time that he/she can regularly approach God in prayer. This could also be a good idea for the family to develop a time of prayer.
Here are a few discussion questions for the ride home:
- How would you describe prayer? Why is prayer important?
- What keeps you from praying?
- How can we as a family commit to prayer more?
- What commitment did you make to prayer?
Tonight’s environment will resemble the Twitter home page (it may be beneficial for you to check out www.twitter.com). Cut out several Twitter logos from blue construction paper and hang them around the room. Have a large piece of paper or board where you can post “top tweets” from people like @pauloftarsus, @BlessedVirginMary, @TheRockPeter, or @PopeBennyXVI. Get creative in coming up with fun tweets from saints or church leaders. The youth will also be adding their own tweets to this board, so make sure there is a way for new messages to be attached. In the front of the room, set the scene for your skit, which will be a “split screen” between heaven and earth. To create a heaven scene, scatter clouds around using either white construction paper or pillow stuffing (you can find it in most craft stores). On the other side of split screen, two youth will be talking; you can create either a coffee shop environment or just put out two chairs and a desk.
In the church or chapel there will need to be some minor set up. Use a crucifix or an image of Jesus as your focal point for the Send. Surround the crucifix/picture with candles to create a place of prayer. As the youth enter, be sure to encourage them to be reverent.
• Construction paper
• Bulletin Board or large butcher paper
• Thumb tacks or tape
• CD or iPod player
• Bibles for each small group
• Handout A: “Prayer Scripture Search”
• Handout B: “Invitation”
• Index cards (one per youth)
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