Many people today are yearning for quiet time, or time to be still, or time for themselves without interruptions. Life today is full. Full of study, work, friends, family, play, technology, etc. We have cars and bikes that get us places more quickly, we have technology that helps us get things done more quickly, we have fast food, and instant gratification. It is all more than we can truly take.
Youth today are digital natives, which means that there has not been a time when they did not know about and use computers. They have grown up in this fast world. My husband jokes with our son routinely about how things used to be. “Back in my day…” he says, and then fills it in with some anecdote of how life used to be…no cell phones, computers were huge, no internet, not as many electronic gadgets (and definitely not ones that are as powerful as today), cars were slower, and life was slower. No, I’m not going on a nostalgic kick, more am merely pointing to the fact that life has changes so rapidly over the last 30 years that we are all yearning to catch our breath and find time to pause. The youth today, even though they grew up in technology and a much more fast-paced world, also need and want to pause. They welcome occasions where they can reflect, think, be still, and pray alone and with friends. Equipping them with tools and resources will allow them the permission and awareness to begin these practices now – practices that will enhance their lives from here forward
Here is a short list of things you can begin at youth group or on a Sunday and then encourage them to continue the practice throughout the week:
- Daily Prayer – invite them to take three minutes each day in prayer. This could be the first thing in the morning, late a night, or at a specific time during each day.
- Quiet – help them experience quiet in a new way. This is not the quiet where they get to lay down and fall asleep (even though they could probably use the sleep), but rather intentional quiet where they listen to nothing except what is around them. Quiet practices like meditation and focusing exercises may help them, but simply encourage them to be quiet and pay attention to what comes up.
- Meditation – create a time of meditation for them to focus on one thing. This could be guided meditation, it could be meditation on a theme, or meditation about God’s presence.
- Reading Scripture – invite them to read a passage of scripture and then sit with it for a period of time, noticing what words, phrases, or ideas come to them.
- Prayer – open them up to new prayer practices so they can find one that works for them. They may like to try out one of the following online prayer sites to guide them.
As the world around us continues to be faster, louder, and more driven, how do we encourage young people and ourselves to “go up the mountain,” as Jesus did to pray, to be quiet, and to simply be in the presence of God? Begin today, and see where you are lead.
The Rev. Shannon Kelly
Originally posted at the Faith Formation Learning Exchange