by John Park, UYWI
In today’s culture of TXTs, DMs, Snaps and Messenger apps, it’s pretty normal to expect immediate answers. In fact, many people when asked about this told me, ‘if I don’t get a response immediately (typically within 5 minutes), I just drop the convo and move on.’ So when it comes to the prayer in an instant culture, it can be a very different understanding to what youth workers and the urban youth we serve are living in and used to.
In 1 Samuel 1, there is a woman named Hannah who longed to have children, it was the greatest desire in her heart but she couldn’t have kids. This brought her great trouble, pain and even ridicule from people. She didn’t know what else to do so she started praying. The Bible says she prayed to the Lord with great weeping and Eli, the High Priest, even thought she was drunk. But Hannah replies to the priest, “I was pouring out my soul to the Lord…I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Hannah was willing to pray for as long as it took to bring her prayer concerns before God.
In the world of urban youth ministry, there are so many things we find ourselves praying for, students, volunteers, the local high school, our own ministries…but let me ask you, what is the prayer request you’ve prayed the longest for?
One of the greatest examples of faith I see in urban youth ministry is the prayers moms and grandmothers. Some have prayed well over 20 or 30 years without fail to see their sons and daughters come to know Jesus. In Hannah’s case, she poured out her soul to the Lord even through her anguish and grief. She would have been an amazing urban youth worker.
So urban youth workers, I encourage you to keep praying for the students you are reaching with the Gospel of Jesus. You may not see the difference in them today or tomorrow but don’t stop praying for them. Some students might be instant ‘answers’ but others will years in the making. The one thing to know is you will never regret praying for a young person. It’s not a waste. Its very possible God is writing a great story in that kid’s life and you get to be part of it. Pour out your soul to God on behalf of those young people and I pray you see God answer those prayer requests sooner and later.