Unspeakable Joy

It’s the kid who was abandoned by one or both of his parents. It’s the young men who are so terrified of high school and all the good things and the bad things that happen in that transition. It’s the guys who think the key to life and happiness is sex, weed or alcohol, and all the time. It’s the kid that’s going off to do ministry full time. It’s the young guy who’s preparing for the military. It’s the guy that grieved that he didn’t think he was doing enough for God, to the guy that just didn’t care if there is a God at all. It’s the kid that brought a Bible, and the kid that doesn’t care. It’s the kid with 1,000 friends, and the kid that doesn’t have a single one.

I love our youth group because every category you could come up with is represented here. And especially at camp. You probably couldn’t ask for a more diverse group of kids.

And what did we do? We sat down under the shade of a tree, and I threw out a challenge that freaked me out. I thought they would say no, and I thought at least some of them wouldn’t do it. I asked all of them to join me in praying for the person to their right. We were going to do this out-loud, in front of the entire group, one-at-a-time.

And I asked them to pray over each other not once, but repeatedly. And I gave them some direction with their prayers. At one time I asked them to thank God for the person to their right. Another time I asked that they pray for their partner’s upcoming school year. And one of my favorite prayer prompts was asking them to pray for their partner’s relationship with God.

And the results were staggering. I have never had more (by any measure) conversations with more students about more serious of issues. I have never felt more equipped and ready to tackle what God had for me than when we got to the end of the circle and the last student prayed for me. (nor have I ever felt more undeserving and humble to hear the way these guys pray for each other and for me)

I don’t think I have ever – ever – felt closer to God or to God’s purpose for my life. Everything was dialed up to 11.

I love that every high school kid for just 4 short days had the chance to pray for someone, and have someone pray for them.

I have long thought the world would be a better place if every kid had someone – anyone – who prayed for them every day. And now having experienced it for 4 short days, I remain all the more convinced. Summer camp is always a special time, but this time it was just that much more special. We really felt, I thought, a lot more like one body. None of us were delusional enough to think we were perfect, but we loved each other anyway.

We were made to Love God, and Love Others. And praying for one another, thanking God for one another, and pouring our burdens out to one another as we pray is the best way I have ever seen this love demonstrated.