A Pastoral Prayer for Our St. John’s Youth

by Dennis W. Foust, Senior Minister

This coming Sunday, we will observe a long-standing tradition in the life of St. John’s. Our youth group, guided by Rev. Haley Blackwell, has planned our expression of worship. We will gather in Broach Hall for our 10:30 worship hour and they will lead us in creative approaches. I am proud of our youth and their willingness to work with Haley in planning.

In her insightful book, Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation, Carol Howard Merritt offers hope for churches like St. John’s as we seek to welcome and nurture young people. She identifies essential ways to cultivate connections with young people. These include,

  • Intergenerational relationships – young people desire the wisdom of elders,
  • Unambiguous inclusion – young people focus more on compassion than doctrine,
  • Shared leadership – young people desire to learn leadership by leading, and
  • Spiritual community – young people desire a healthy connection with God & others.

As you gather this Sunday, you will encourage our young people. They appreciate your affirmations. You bless them by equipping them to express compassion in service, lead in worship and ministries, and build spiritual connections with God and one another. Let us continue to pray for our youth and their families and Haley and others as they minister with them. Here is a pastoral prayer for our St. John’s youth.

Creator God, you bring us into this world needing one another and this need never ends. We need our youth and our young people need us. Help us invest in them the gifts you have entrusted to us: experiential knowledge, insight, discernment, understanding, wisdom, and common sense. Guide us to develop these gifts in our youth so they mature to help others.

We ask you to develop in these young people open hearts, open minds, and open spirits. May they welcome you as The Divine Mystery in every aspect of their becoming. Give them the blessing of understanding the historical times in which they are living and protect them from the curse of being limited by these times. Reveal to them your divine vision for a world of peace and justice for all and how your church embodies it.

Guide them so their increased understanding of the arts and sciences increases their sense of wonder and awe. Give them aha moments that spiritually transform their character. Guide them to explore the global and eternal nature of your Church, for they have been born in a different time from their elders. Enlighten them so they can differentiate between your light and partial reflections of your light.

Thank You for gracing our youth with families that are committed to loving them by looking out ahead of them; envisioning what they will need ahead of time. Give them clarity as they learn to trust others who are trustworthy in their expanding world. Protect them from the absurdities of selfishness and the self-destruction of hubris. Remind them often of the humble Jesus who heals all their souls’ diseases, knows all about their struggles and will guide them until their days are done.

Show them how to grow spiritually, relationally, cognitively, psychologically, emotionally, vocationally, morally, ethically, economically, socially, and volitionally so they become people of integrity and active faith. Give them many successes and restore them after their failures. Give them courage to ask you to show them your highest ambitions for them. Help them seek their meaning in You so they receive the deepest desires of their hearts that they will better understand with the years.

We bring these petitions to you as followers of Jesus who is Lord of our faith. AMEN.