Friday, December 7, 2007

Saying what's on your heart

For the past couple of months, I have been co-leading a small group for 6th and 7th grade young women from our church. As a former middle school teacher who has spent the past several years in college ministry, I've really enjoyed working with this age group again. I truly have a heart for girls encountering this pivotal and transitional time in their lives.

Our group has been studying A Young Woman After God's Own Heart, and this past week our focus was on developing a commitment to (and understanding of) prayer. I admit I did not have the best attitude heading into the evening. It had been an unusually chaotic Sunday--hardly a Sabbath--and though I had read the chapter once, I had not reviewed my notes or written down any questions in advance.

As so often happens, God took me in my weakness and brought something beautiful out of it. We began summarizing the chapter as we usually do, but I sensed the need to dig deeper. A small group, by our definition, should be a place for honest questions and admissions. So I told the girls that I thought it would be really cool if any of them would be willing to share something about their own experience with prayer--whether positive or not.

What happened next made my heart leap. One of the young women mentioned that she felt like her prayers were boring and she just didn't know what to say. She said her prayers usually consist of "Help me have a good day tomorrow" as she falls into bed each night. When I asked her what she wanted her prayers to be like, she said she felt they should be more meaningful. (That was her word--love that--from a 13 year-old!) So then I asked, What makes a prayer meaningful? The response, from a different young lady: "I think it means saying what's on your heart." Bingo! I got so excited--that is exactly what prayer is. What a beautiful definition--and a reminder to us all, especially when we try to make things more complicated than they actually are.

7 comments:

thehomespunheart said...

Very neat story, Carrie!

Anonymous said...

Wow -- I'm sure it was very special to see the direction this discussion took. It sounds like these young ladies are serious about pursuing meaningful prayer and spiritual growth. Thanks for sharing this! :) Love you, Mom

Katie said...

Carrie,

I used to lead the teen group at our church - only there are no teens at the moment! Since we only had girls for quite a while, I used the book you mentioned and a couple along with it on a Biblical Womanhood series... I too have a passion for helping girls at this age - trying to help them with what I wish I would've known at that age about God and His plan for us! (I didn't become saved until after those all important teen years!) I will pray for you and this ministry - it's so important and rewarding!!

~Katie

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

How wonderful! I am starting a class with our high school girls next month. I will have to take a look at that book!

A, B & C said...

Their responses are really amazing and probably the reason that I loved the years I taught middle school as well. They are so smart and so thoughtful, but not so much that they don't think they need you anymore. They still believe deep down that they need guidance and it's refreshing.
Daily prayers are something that I'm struggling to integrate into our family schedule, so that we take time to pray together as well as individually. This is great guidance for me too, to have all of us say what's in our hearts to make our prayers more meaningful. It will make our family closer too hopefully, with true honesty.

Niki RuralWritings said...

Hi Carrie Have you ever read A Woman After God's Own Heart? It is probably done of my favourites.

Our daughter enjoy a young woman after God's own heart

Ewokgirl said...

My husband and I teach the middle schoolers at our church. Their bursts of insight really can be astonishing and refreshing, can't they?