In their busy lives, Christian youth workers are often more responsive rather than reflective, and don’t always have the opportunities to stop, share, plan and pray.
One of the aims of Doorsteps, Viva’s partner network based in Oxford, is to provide this space.
We are identifying a greater collaboration between youth projects, and currently have partnership projects with ten churches and organisations that are actively working together. This is building on, and hooking into, the base already established by the SoulNet youth community in Oxford.
Earlier this month, 12 youth workers from across the city joined Hannah Woods, Viva’s Lead Youth Worker for Doorsteps, for a morning of prayer held at Viva’s office in east Oxford. The group adapted resources from this year’s World Weekend of Prayer – praying for both international and local needs.
Topics covered included struggling families, inadequate housing, education and Child Drug Exploitation (CDE). Hannah says, “CDE is being increasingly recognised as an issue and we prayed for protection for Oxfordshire and for more people on the ground helping young people to see alternatives.”
Having not quite finished the prayers with the youth workers, Hannah took the last two prayer points – praying for our nation and praying for youth workers – into her weekly session at Christian Union at Spires School, where the students there enthusiastically got involved in prayer as well.
Hannah created her own booklet to help guide the prayers, and asked a number of different youth workers, school staff and young people for their stories to help give insight into the prayers for Oxford. “The prayers for ‘community’ ended up being very powerful and passionate as we cried out to see God’s justice and God’s kingdom come in communities that desperately need His light.
“Praying for ‘home’ was a bit lighter – we started by sharing all those things, big and small, profound and seemingly light-hearted, that people needed to be present for them to feel at home.”
Hannah shared with the group a book called ‘A Year of Living Prayerfully’ by Jared Brock, in which he references three types of prayer:
- Crisis Prayer, where we pray for a parking space or a broken washing machine or sprained ankle
- Calling Prayer, like when Paul is in prison but is still praying that he’d have boldness to live out his calling and preach the gospel
- Kingdom Prayer, which comes from God.
Hannah says, “I read this bit out of the book to share with the youth workers, and I think several of us were really struck by the invitation into Kingdom prayers – I felt like we were starting to reach into this level of prayer.”
She adds, “The youth workers told me that they really enjoyed the opportunity to dig a bit deeper into prayer. The team from one organisation, Thrive, commented on how much they appreciated being able to share the stories from their work and have people stand with them in it.
“Andrew, who co-ordinates the SoulNet community, said he would be reflecting on ways in which we might start praying at this deeper level more often.”
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Prayer is vital. It underpins our frontline work with vulnerable children around the world. It brings hope, strength, peace and breakthrough.
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