As referenced in a post by Marty we try to have a Youth Service on the fourth Sunday of every month at RVCC. Sometimes this ends up being just a time of worship, sometimes simple devotions, and sometimes we are so busy with all the craziness in our lives that we don't get anything planned and end up just sitting around and talking.
Recently I received the book Imaginative Prayer for Youth Ministry as a gift from an amazing friend and cohort in ministry. Last night at our fourth Sunday Youth Service I had the opportunity to try one of the prayer experiences out on our youth, and I must say it was amazing!
Marty started out with this awesome contemplative worship, and then I shared the "Who do You say that I am (us)" prayer experience with the Youth... The experience revolves around Matthew 16:13-20, where Jesus asks the disciples "Who do YOU say that I am", and then responds to Peter with "who He says that WE are"... As part of the experience I repeated a long list of names and phrases about how God sees us, His children, and invited the Youth to dwell on the names and phrases, those they were OK with, and the ones they didn't see in themselves or couldn't get a personal grip on...
We ended the time of reflection by allowing the youth to serve communion to one another, which was also extremely powerful. ( I know that all of the Youth have taken communion before, but I suspect that last night was the first time many of them had to SHARE communion with another person ).
After communion, we invited the Youth to stay as long as they wanted in silence and prayer just to bask in the knowledge that they are wonderfully and fearfully made unique creations of our Father in heaven... I was amazed by the response! For almost 30 minutes, a dozen teenagers sat in silent prayer! When people started to get up and leave, I had several youth comment on how "awesome" the experience was, and it was so encouraging to see them go with huge smiles and the knowledge (at least in that moment) that God KNEW them, and still loved them without exception.
What an awesome God we serve... that though He doesn't need us (Acts 17:25) He has made us His friends and desires a personal relationship with us.