This week’s Ministry Tip comes from Jonathan Espy. He is studying student ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has worked with student ministries in different capacities for several years. In 2012/2013, he served as the interim leader for the high school student ministry at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. This post is a prayer experience that he led with the group.
During my time at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, I led high school students through a series on Wednesday nights about renewing our minds. We focused on different aspects including students’ perspectives of who God is, not conforming to the world, and what to focus our minds on. The last week of the series, I set up a prayer experience for the students to help recap what we had covered and to give a way to practice renewing our minds through scripture and different actions of prayer. I used six stations. To set this up, I printed the instructions for each station (in large print), posted them each on a piece of butcher paper, and laid them around the room. We opened the night with a few songs of worship. Then, I led them into the time of prayer. We took about 30-40 minutes for this part of the night.
Supplies: Bibles for those without (I didn’t want them using their phones for this, but that was just my preference), markers, pens, note cards, scraps of paper, butcher paper/poster board
Prayer Experience (Renewing your Mind)
Instructions: Use this time to renew your mind through prayer and meditation. Don’t talk to one another as we do this but spend it talking with God. Go from station to station (no particular order), read the instructions and pray as guided. You will need a Bible for every station so grab one here if you don’t have one. You don’t have to stay at the station once you read the instructions so feel free to move about the room. Take this seriously and do what is asked at each station, even if it makes you a little uncomfortable. Really use this time to focus your mind on Christ.
- How Great is our God: Renewing your mind starts with your idea of God; who God is to you. It is important to make sure your view of God matches with that of Scripture. Read Psalm 97 and take some time to meditate on who God is to you. Then write down words that describe the greatness of God.
- Living Sacrifices: When we recognize who God is, our desire becomes to worship and serve Him. Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our lives as “living sacrifices” to God as an act of worship. Where you are, kneel before God as a sign of surrender and worship. Pray and ask God to show you how to be a living sacrifice to Him. Tell God specific parts of your life that you desire to use for His glory.
- Things of the World: Romans 12:2 says to not conform any longer to the patterns of this world. Take a note card (or use the back of the one from the “Think on these things” station) and write out “Things of the world” at the top. Then make a list of some patterns of the world. Read over your list and pray that God will help you recognize these patterns as worldly, that you may no longer conform to these things. Keep this with you as a reminder to not conform to the world.
- Think on these things: Read Philippians 4:8. This gives us a list of things that should guide our thoughts. Take a note card (or use the back of the one from the “Things of the world” station) and write “Think on these things” at the top. Write out the characteristics of what to think on from this scripture (Whatever is true, noble, etc…). Think about what guides your thoughts. Do your thoughts fall into these characteristics? Pray that God will help your mind and your thoughts to be glorifying to Him. Keep this with you as a reminder to let these things guide your thoughts.
- Give us Clean Hands: As we renew our minds, we realize God’s greatness. We also recognize our sin. Read Psalm 24. This reminds us of God’s authority over all things and points out that God is holy and above all things. Our sin keeps us from God. We know that through Christ our sins have been washed clean and we have been given the opportunity to have a relationship with God. As seen in verses 3-6, when we recognize the greatness of this gift through Christ, we should desire to live with “clean hands and pure hearts.” Thank God for the great gift of salvation. As you pray, hold out your hands in front of you. This symbolizes having clean hands. Think about the things in your life that make your hands and heart unclean (sin). Ask God to help you live out your faith with clean hands and a pure heart.
- By Him and For Him: Turn to Colossians 1. In this passage, the Supremacy of Christ is shown. Read verses 15-23. We see that Christ holds all things together. Verse 16 says that all things were created “by Him and for Him.” As we renew our minds and present ourselves as living sacrifices, we must remember that our lives are for Christ. Think for a moment from God’s perspective. How do you think He would have us live our lives? Take a piece of paper and write a short mission statement you think God would give His people. This should be a sentence or two that tells what guides your life and decisions. Write the statement for the purpose of letting ALL THINGS in your life point to Christ. Read and pray over what you have written and ask God to let this mission (His mission) be evident in the way you live.