Opening Activity: What happens when we pray?
Begin by inviting the young people to pray by saying ‘Let us pray.’ Depending on the age group or the circumstances you may ask them to close their eyes. Leave some silence, don’t say anything. And then break the silence, and ask them—’What’s the point of praying?’ Why don’t things happen when we pray! What can we expect to happen when we pray? What is prayer anyway? Is there any point to it? Why do people pray? How do people pray?
Kevin and the Blackbird in the hand
There is story told about of St Kevin who lived in Ireland many years ago. He was a very prayerful, holy man. Each day he would set out to a quiet place and sit or stand with arms outstretched. One day he was praying and a small blackbird came to rest in his hand. Kevin stayed in the same position praying. The story goes that the bird started to make a nest in the hand and Kevin was afraid to move in case he disturbed the bird. Kevin stayed there until the bird lay his eggs, the eggs hatched and the young birds flew the nest. That’s what happened when Kevin prayed!
What about when we pray?
And you never know—when you pray what will happen, but you have to be patient and wait on God, with open hands—you may not get what you asked for, but if you expect God to answer your prayer, let him give you what he thinks you need! Jesus said, ‘Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find.’ (Matthew 7:7-8) In the letter of St James, (4:3) we read: ‘Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.’
So, now, let us pray!
Do we pray?
What do we think Prayer is?
Prayer is more than asking: it is about seeking the will of God
(which you may want to get the young people to participate by holding out their arms in prayer)
God our Father,
help us to be open to you,
to reach out with open hands
to receive the good things you want to give us. Amen.